Social media is a constantly evolving media with new trends and changes in how people use it. For some, their social media channels will remain the eternal time wasters while others will capitalize on the relationship building nature of it to bring in new business. Although no one can predict the future, here are some expected trends based on what has been happening in the social media world.
New networks will keep popping up… and dropping out
It is no surprise that new networks will continue to pop up as we saw some new ones in 2014, like Ello which promises to not sell user data and and Yik Yak which allows users to share anonymous posts. Most people are pretty concerned about their privacy so a channel that claims to not collect data can be appealing to people who are pretty uncomfortable with the information they provide to certain channels (Facebook) every time they connect. With the shared challenges of gaining and keeping users though, we will likely see even more new channels proliferate in 2015 and drop out of the game in 2015. And some of the newer guys will find their 15 minutes of fame coming to an end.
Money will be involved
A hidden Facebook feature discovered in October indicates Facebook may be moving in to the payment game which is not a surprise since they do seem to have their hands in everything. Twitter testing of a “Buy” button demonstrates they too want to be part of how you spend your money. It makes sense for these known channels to foray into this market because they already have a large captive audience of existing users. Those who promote through these channels may find that short-term money saving offers do exceptionally well. Yet, this could also annoy users who feel they are constantly receiving messages to buy something.
Everything is social
Fitness trackers are great tools for self-motivation. If you have a goal of 10,000 steps and are only at 8,500 steps at the end of the day, it pushes you to take a quick walk to get the rest of those steps in. But these tools are not intended just for ourselves. By syncing with other users, or sharing progress on public channels, there is a level of accountability that comes from making our goals public. If I spend too much time in front of the computer and my number of steps for the day is in the pitiful 3,000 steps range, I know Iwill hear it from my connections with other people using the same device.
Facebook ad costs will increase
There were a lot of frustrated marketers this year who found their posts did not have the reach in Facebook news feeds as they had hoped. An article on AdAge suggests organic reach could one day reach a number very close to 0%. As the number of organic posts seen decreased, more people will need to invest in ads and promoted posts to get their message in front of the right users. It seems the days of “free” advertising on social media may be behind us.
LinkedIn. The “other” network
Not for long. LinkedIn continues to grow and may no longer be seen as that “other” network. They have a strong user base and the users on there already know how valuable it is for establishing themselves professionally.
Google Plus will die… maybe
I confess. This is one I personally have fought for so long. Although I have a current client who seems to be doing quite well in the rankings because of the number of positive reviews he has on Google Plus. So I suppose there is something to be said for that but will the conversational part of it every really take off? TechCrunch referred to Google Plus as the Walking Dead and Huffington Post says it is “in a coma.” There are a lot of conflicting opinions on this one so it will be interesting to see what happens with this channel in the upcoming year.
Content is King… but measurement is Queen
Regardless of which channels you use this upcoming year and however you choose to use them, make sure you measure what you do so your content is not simply disappearing into a black hole. You may have some pleasant surprises with new channels and disappointments with the old ones. Manage your expectations. Define specific goals in how you use social media. The bottom line is to drive revenue and if your channels do not get potential customers in the conversion funnel, it is time to reevaluate your use. Quite simply – do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.