THE BLOG

How Wearable Technology Will Change Social Media

03/17/2015 01:59 pm ET | Updated May 13, 2015

Wearable technology is starting to emerge as the next inevitable game-changer in the tech world. Already, more than 20 percent of American adults own a wearable device, which puts the technology roughly in line with tablets back in 2012. As the Apple Watch debuts later this year, the popularity of the communications technology will likely explode as the majority of the population begins to adopt the new type of device.

For many users, this dynamic shift isn't that meaningful. The typical smart watch, as it stands right now, doesn't offer much more than a smartphone--it's just attached to your wrist and slightly smaller. But the ways we use a smart watch (or other wearable device) will gradually begin to evolve to better suit the device, and those changes will have a significant effect on the scope of social media and how businesses use it to interact with their consumers. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it's important to start planning now for the changes you'll need to make to your social media campaign.

Voice-Based Updates

The shift from PDAs with pullout keyboards to smartphones with on-screen touch-based keyboards was significant, but the shift that will come with wearable tech will be even greater. Because screen sizes will shrink down even further, users will no longer be able to type as conveniently as they used to. Instead, it's likely that they will rely on voice recognition to create and submit messages. Voice-based functions are already available, most notably from Google search and Apple's Siri, but they aren't widely used because users still rely on keyboards to do most of their communicating.

Once people begin to use voice commands to do most of their interacting, the patterns of communication on social media will change. They will grow to be more informal, more conversational, and less prone to typing or wording errors. As a result, you'll have to change your communicative style to cater to those more conversational inquiries.

Images and Concise Text

Also because of the small screen size, users will have diminishing patience for long pieces of text. They won't be able to see these types of updates at a glance, and the text will be too small to comfortably read or navigate. As a result, users are going to crave image-based pieces of information even more than they already do--and shorter, more concise text-based updates will grow in popularity over their longer counterparts.

You can start working on this change right away, since users are already demanding more concise updates and more images and videos. Optimizing your posts to be legible and interactive on a small screen will put you ahead of the competition, and more wearable users will flock to your social profiles as a result.

Proximity-Based Features

Wearable devices will offer even more mobile functionality than smartphones. Because they're attached to a person like a piece of apparel and offer more voice-based control, they can be used easily while on the go to find information on local businesses. With GPS functionality, they'll also have the capacity to recognize physical locations upon entry, giving you a perfect opportunity to market to new customers walking in your front door.

Through the help of an app or an awareness campaign, you can lend special offers to wearable technology users as they enter your physical location, giving an incentive to your potential new customers and making you more wearable-friendly compared to your competitors.

The Early Adopting Platforms Win Out

Not all social media platforms will easily adapt to wearable technology right away. Immediately, Twitter and Instagram better poised than Facebook for the medium since users tend to post shorter, more image-based messages. However, Facebook could take measures to offer a "wearable" version of their application which could cater to those early adopters.

Pay attention to which social media platforms take the greatest amount of effort to appeal to wearable users. Those platforms will grow in popularity as a result as more users figure out which platforms best serve their needs. Explore the new types of functionality available to you, figure out what's important for your users, and get your business in line with whatever new apps seem to be most popular.

It's impossible to predict exactly how any technology will develop over time, but it does appear that wearable tech will be here to stay. If you want to keep your business modern and please your customers in new ways, you'll have to adapt your strategies to be in line with those new developments. Pay close attention to what your customers are doing, and how they react to your new tactics. The more knowledge you have on your audience, the better you'll be able to communicate with them, even as communications technology continues to become more advanced.