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There’s no doubt about it that social media marketing for your business has been a key strategy over the past few years. Very few successful businesses operate without at least a Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn account, and it’s become an integral part of cementing brand status and recognition. There were lots of changes and breakthroughs for marketers and social media experts to contend with in 2015, but what will next year bring? With over 1.8 billion people in the world owning an active social media account, it’s never been easier to connect and engage.
We looked ahead to 2016 and put together our social media predictions for the coming year…
Shop and scroll
With so many people using and engaging with content via social networks, it was only a matter of time before the e-commerce sector got involved. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have already installed ‘Buy’ buttons onto ads and sponsored posts in their news feeds, so it’s inevitable that others will do the same. Visual social giant Instagram will surely be the next big player to allow users to buy products directly through their site – clothing brands, in particular, have really benefited from the photo sharing site and would be mad not to utilise this feature.
There’s no questioning that social media posts containing images and videos are more engaging, shareable and easier to digest. More than 50% of users prefer to see these posts on their feeds and the success of live streaming apps like Periscope have proved this. Real-time, visual updates give an immediate and intimate feel to social media users and, whether you’re at an event, trade show or just working in the office, will help your company seem more relatable. We predict a huge rise in the use of live streaming next year, as businesses battle to beat their competitors.
Data will be more secure
The internet hasn’t seemed like such a safe place in 2015. Scores of celebrities have had their accounts hacked while the recent TalkTalk cyber attack and data theft of Ashley Madison users have left everyone very wary about what to share with social media. For social media sites, this means following strict guidelines to protect their customers’ data and having to prove continually that the proper procedures are in place. This is set to grow in importance in 2016 as platforms with a high degree of privacy and security will become more trusted and more appealing.
LinkedIn will become even more intelligent
While the online recruitment network doesn’t tend to make many changes when it comes to user experience, they make up for it in the way data is handled. At LinkedIn’s recent Talent Connect 2015 event, they talked of an update to their ‘Recruiter’ platform. The new system will allow recruiters to use the huge LinkedIn database to find better, more individual matches to their positions, using information based on career history, education and other data points. As the social media site holding more career insights than any other, 2016 is the year that LinkedIn will provide even more accurate and intelligent career matches.
Social media will slow down
Over the last few years, we’ve seen many new and exciting sites cropping up and causing a big buzz in the industry. Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp have been real standouts in a highly competitive market, but it’s not likely that we’ll see too many emerging independent sites next year. As the market becomes more saturated, it’s inevitable that promising social media channels will either be bought and developed by the big players, or simply won’t take off at all. Social media has become big business in the past decade and no doubt many developers will be working away to create the next big thing.
You won’t ever have to leave
If you’re one of the few people who feels like they DON’T spend enough time on social media, then you’ll be pleased to hear that Facebook is looking for ways to keep users on the site for even longer. The introduction of their online publishing tool ‘Instant Articles’ will allow publishers to post content without users having to leave the website to read it. This looks set to launch in early 2016, with Twitter’s similar ‘Lightning project’ following soon after. Why would you ever want to leave, anyway?
Advertising could dominate news feeds
Social media users often complain about the increasing use of adverts in their news feeds, as they genuinely just want to see what their friends are up to. But for businesses, this is great news. As more and more companies use social media advertising to promote their products, it’s something that ad-blockers won’t be able to cope with. With businesses spending more money on promotion through social media, the big platforms will have no choice but to allow more advertising functions such as automated ads, pop-ups and sponsored posts.
Social media has given so many opportunities and possibilities for business owners that it seems crazy to think any successful company ever functioned without it. Utilising the key functions of the main players in social networking can help you reach new customers, consolidate existing ones and give your brand the platform and recognition it deserves. Here’s to the New Year!