Social Media Trends 2015
Every January a huge number of trend reports are published, many by social media marketing industry leaders, each pegging their reputation on predictions for the next big thing.
These insights, or should I say foresights, are mainly based on digital innovations, such as new features on Facebook and indicators from the groundswell, such as user behaviour stats. Brands and agencies alike will read these same reports, such as this one by Social Media Examiner which features a host of top social media speakers, and these thoughts from my colleague Adam Vincenzini from Australian agency Kamber in his post earlier this month.
In my first blog of the new year, I share my pick of the top 3 trends for 2015 the modern marketer should note and ideally aim to integrate into the digital marketing strategy for the year ahead.
In 2013 Google glasses featured in every discussion about the disappearing line between our online and “real” lives, so this is a continuation of a trend, rather than news. In 2014 the #selfie and its stick (used in an inspired way by our neighbours at Flashpack in this campaign), reached a popularity fever point, just in time for Christmas (#elfie) last year.
The washing machine, central heating system and lights in our homes can be monitored and controlled by apps on our phones and this is widely considered a natural progression rather than remarkable innovation. As our lives become increasingly connected by digital advancements, so do the expectations of the users. I have observed the British attendees of our social media training courses often voice privacy concerns and view these advancements with the risks in mind, but the tech savvy UK audience expect brand posts in their Facebook feed to be served intuitively and search results to be relevant, so despite our innate misgivings about sharing personal information, we conclude the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. There is a host of social apps which now allow users to interact without revealing their location or identity, such as SnapChat and Whisper, although it has been revealed that both failed to deliver online anonymity, something Ryan Holmes refers to as “an illusion” in his 2015 trends article.
What this means for brands wishing to compete in the increasingly noisy online space, is an integrated digital marketing strategy is now a must, as users do not see the world in separate channels as marketers do – they just see your brand. That is not to say brands should homogenise all content and campaigns – customising and targeting are key to success for social media marketing. The modern marketer should look to quickly embrace the new features such as the Buy Now buttons due to be rolled out by Twitter and Facebook this year. Social media platforms are developing themselves to further serve our lives and the commercial opportunities are unfolding alongside for brands in the UK and beyond.
Paid Reach Is A Must
In 2014 there was not a brand on Facebook who did not suffer the cull of organic reach. The algorithm previously known as EdgeRank, made changes which paved the way to what is widely considered to be the biggest hoodwink in social media space, compelling all brands of any size, to spend on Facebook advertising. Alongside changeable stock prices and a notable shift in user demographics (it is no longer cool with the youngsters), Facebook’s downfall was predicted, but this has not transpired.
The last available UK stats published in 2013 reported over a third of UK residents visit the site daily and 83% of those access the site via mobile or tablet. Last year saw the release of more useful features for Facebook advertisers, the rebuild of their cross platform / device / publisher ad service Atlas and the successful roll out the first paid posts on Instagram. Who would deny users our free Facebook / Instagram / Twitter profiles, so it is an inevitable consequence that brands must pay to help sustain our favourite social media sites. Facebook’s move to make brands spend has immediately raised the consciousness that paid reach is an inevitable and integral part to any successful social media presence, particularly during campaigns. Now there are paid reach opportunities on Twitter, Linkedin and many other social sites, giving brands of all sizes the chance to grow audience and engagement.
Video content is a trend the digital marketing industry agrees should be a focus for the successful marketing mix of 2015. Who hasn’t seen this video of the cat wearing a shark suit, riding a Roomba around the kitchen? Or this video of the “Will it Blend”iPhone video? Video often makes brands shudder at the thought of the expense, but with brilliant apps like Hyperlape and Flipagram, any brand can produce eye catching, engagement winning content. Vine and Instagram both facilitate video making and carry the additional bonus of a community of users – the most active of all social networks in the case of the former. YouTube marketing brings a huge amount of value to a digital marketing strategy, with an audience of THIS MANY in the UK and we advise location based businesses – such as restaurants, bars, cafes and retailers – to upload a Google Tour to their Google Local listing via Google+. 4 billion Youtube videos are watched every day – we know video is a popular format and brands should aim to include this in their 2015 strategy.
User generated content also deserves a mention in my pick of 2015 trends, but ask for it from your community wisely as quality does vary and hijacks are rife – just ask McDonalds after the #McDStories campaign or Waitrose after they launched #ishopatWaitrosebecause.
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