What are the top social media trends for 2015 that businesses should be looking at?
According to the search results on Buzzsumo, there are more than a dozen of write-ups on 2015 digital marketing trends and predictions, made by market thought leaders.
Prediction of trends is always fun, and by following up closely with what the industry experts are forecasting, you can better equip yourself and take advantage of new opportunities in 2015. Most social media trends are driven by a combination of evermore sophisticated technology advancement and ever-evolving consumer needs and wants.
With that in mind, let's start by revisiting the year gone by. In 2014, we predicted 5 social media trends. They were
#1 Sponsored Posts Become Mainstream
#2 Focus More on Conversion by Social Network
#3 Google+ Is Going to Dominate
#4 Social Becomes More Visual, Especially for Millennial
#5 Mobile Is Changing The Game of Social Media
Looking back, we saw most of these social media trends come to pass in 2014.
Looking ahead, where is social media marketing going in 2015?
One of the social media's most noticeable characteristics is its constant rate of change. To stay ahead of the game, here are 5 key social media trends for 2015 that businesses should be looking at:
#1 Social Advertising and Paid Visibility
The golden age of organic reach is over; social media is no longer free.
By and large, almost all of the top social network is venturing into advertising business - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube. As more and more networks turn into paid platforms, reaching the billions of people active on social media will be next to impossible without paid social.
Like the other aspects of social media, paid social is growing, maturing and changing rapidly in 2015.
There is another group of a relative newcomer to the social media advertising party - Pinterest, Instagram, WeChat and Snapchat, which could be an interesting avenue for advertisers this year; as these platform matured with improvement for brands to target, engage, and delight audiences, and measure performance.
There are other rising trends in social sponsoring via influencer marketing. From YouTube celebrities to Instagram users with thousands upon thousands of followers, content creators with influential personal brands are being tapped by companies to co-create valuable content.
#2 Visual Content Matters - Image + Video Sharing
Instagram will continue to grow and become the #1 in a visual-based social network for delivering engagement. Based on the analysis on Forrester, Instagram delivers 58 times more brand engagement than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.
And who's on Instagram? Almost 39% are Millennials: the next generation of spenders.
#3 Social Data Analytics and Automation
In 2014, social media marketing got more sophisticated. In 2015, social analytics, social data, business intelligence, and social automation will become a new area of focus as brands continue to scale their social marketing investments. More brands will begin to understand how social media marketing is tied to business success, and the enduring questions about Social ROI will begin to fade. Brands are finally waking up to the fact that social media is not a one-way communication.
Social data will be the driving force behind most of the successful creative campaigns, as companies begin to ride on trends by deciphering these data. The company will also be able to gain better insights on social networks by investing more in social analysis.
In 2015, Facebook will remain as the number one global social platform, offering the greatest reach and the most members. But apart from Facebook, people are visiting different social sites - Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Youtube and many others.
Here's a snapshot of the leading social networks worldwide as of December 2014 (Statista), ranked by the number of active users (in millions). The fastest growing social media platforms are Pinterest and Instagram.
One of the biggest reason for this trend towards multi-networking is the growing specialization of social behaviours. With the rising demands of niche social networking, it is not that one platform will "beat" another, it's that digital consumers will be using a range of them - at the same time.
#5 Messaging Apps - The New Face of Social Media
Mobile devices are fast becoming the preferred method of consuming, sharing and engaging content on social media. Social consumption is going mobile.
The future of social networking is clearly mobile. From Snapchat to Line to Viber to WhatsApp, social messaging apps could come to define social media for younger generations. The following diagram from Statista shows the most popular social and messaging apps among the millennials.
As our daily internet consumption moves away from the PC, the social media landscape is seeing a dramatic shift in user behaviours. A little more than two-thirds of the time Facebook users spent on the service happened on a mobile device, according to the comScore data that was analyzed by Statista.
For Twitter, the number was north of 85%. Activity on image-heavy platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr are also mainly happening on mobile.
Social media will continue to transform the ways in which brands interact with their customers.
As social media evolves, adaptation is the only way for brands to survive. This requires revisiting and revising content strategies. Most importantly, it necessitates staying up-to-date on the latest changes in social media.
What do you think? Do you see the same social media marketing trends moving forward? Please share your comments below.