Social media: What we can learn from 2014 and what is up for 2015
Last week, I was lucky to attend the OMG Social Media conference in Vancouver, the aim of which was to simplify social media for businesses, by giving them tools and tips to be more competitive in the social marketing world. For an overview of the key takeaways from the conference, read this article by Rebecca Maynes.
There were many great sessions presented that day, including a panel on social media trends in 2015. The panel featured Bosco Anthony (@boscoanthony), Sunny Lenarduzzi(@SunnyLenarduzzi) and Conner Galway (@Conner_G), and was moderated by the great Damon Holochak (@DamonD). So, according to these social media experts, what worked, and what didn’t work, in 2014, and what should we pay attention to in 2015?
What we can learn from 2014
- Adaptive and Responsive Content is Popular
This year, brands got more creative with customized content, adapting to the different platforms on which the content is shared. Creating and sharing great, visually appealing content, and building a unique strategy for each of your social channel remains critical to be successful on social media. Be creative in how you present content and innovate!
- The Rise of Online Video
Ad spends are shifting from TV to online video. Online video is “the big thing” and it will continue to be so going into 2015 with the success of channels such as Vine and Instagram. With those channels, we have seen the rise of micro video, which encourages brands to simplify their message and cut through the noise. Every brand and cause has embraced social media (and if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for??) and the social media space is more cluttered than ever. With the amount of content available, brands must find a way to break through with their messages, and short, easily digestible videos can be a good way to do it.
- Be Careful with Real Time Marketing
Since Oreo’s successful tweet taking advantage of the blackout during the Superbowl in 2013, we have seen an emerging trend of real time marketing with brands trying to tap into nearly every live event. Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been done right, e.g. when DiGiorno Pizza used a trending topic without knowing its context, and created serious backlash. As a result, people have got tired of seeing brands jumping into conversations that don’t necessarily relate to their message and see it as interruption rather than value. When tapping into events and jumping into conversations, make sure you know the context and that you add value to the conversation.
- Lower Reach, More Advertising
With Facebook changing their algorithm this year and the huge number of brand posts competing for the same audience, reach went down and brands need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. This goes back to creating great content that people will love and share but we can also observe a trend where social platforms try to encourage brands to use paid advertising. As demand increases, we will likely see an increase in ad prices too, but with the amount of brands embracing the trend and the increasing competition, running advertising campaigns on social media is not enough to create and increase engagement. Make sure your ads are creative and innovative.
Now that we are approaching the end of this year and entering a new one, what should brands and companies pay attention to in the coming year?
Social media trends for 2015
- The Rise of Ad-free, More Private and Niche Networks
As major players in the social media world are turning towards a paid model and privacy issues are rising, new networks such as Ello (ad free) and Yik Yak (which allows users to share fully anonymous posts) are expected to rise in 2015. New networks that map onto strong existing interest-based communities have a good chance of being successful too (examples: Foodie for food lovers and Fitocracy for fitness junkies).
- Twitter Launches SEO Friendly Hashtags
Twitter recently made its content-based search results crawlable, i.e. tweets and hashtags have become SEO friendly. With this move, Twitter is expected to be game changing in the coming year as this should bring it more search engine traffic.
- Google+ Will Begin to Fade Away
Earlier this year, Techcrunch declared Google+ “The Walking Dead”. Since Google removed authorship, Google+ has no more unique value compared to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Unless Google finds another unique way to make its social network valuable, people will keep abandoning Google+.
- Social Media Will be Used More and More for Shopping
With the recent implementation of “Buy” buttons by Facebook and Twitter, social shopping is something to keep an eye on in 2015. As recommendations and reviews have a big impact on purchase decisions, people already use social media in their buying process. Giving the option to buy directly from social media, where there is already a receptive audience, and simplifying the customer buying process, could really benefit brands that embrace it.
- Social Continues to Move Towards 1:1 Relationships
With platforms like Whatsapp, Snap Chat and Facebook Messenger, brands have more opportunities to have 1:1 relationships with people. I am repeating myself, but, build a unique strategy for each of your social channels! Identify segments and what drives their behavior, and share content that appeals to each segment. Know who you are talking to and organize your communities accordingly.
- Facebook is Trying to Become the Primary Video Platform
With the introduction of instant video play on Facebook (which makes video play automatically as you scroll through your newsfeed) the social network is slowly becoming “the” video platform, taking a big chunk out of Youtube. With this feature, making it easier to capture people’s attention by cutting the extra step of having to click on a video to watch it, brands are uploading more of their marketing videos to Facebook. To really make the most out of this feature, be sure to front load your videos with important information and ensure that they are engaging from the very start.
Those are some of the things we are likely to see on social media in 2015, but, as social media is constantly evolving, I am pretty sure we will see the rise of new game changing tools and trends as we venture into 2015 and beyond. So keep an eye on those trends, and stay tuned for further updates!