That “social media is constantly evolving” has become an overworked phrase. No one can dare say they have the ultimate social media formula. Concepts and practices don’t last for long as new social marketing technologies come onto the scene.
In this article, we attempt to make an educated forecast of 7 of the major social media trends to watch this year.
1. Personalization & Humanization will be key for Twitter Success
The most retweeted tweet for 2016 was from a Spanish gamer known as elrubius. He only tweeted one word “limonada” which is Spanish for lemonade and managed to get 1.3 million tweets. However, this was because he promised prizes to those who retweeted him.
The second most retweeted tweet for 2016 was a tweet by One Direction member Harry Styles. On his birthday, on 1st February 2016, he tweeted a lyric from song sang by, Taylor Swift, his ex-girlfriend.
The year’s third most popular tweet was by Hillary Clinton. A simple tweet encouraging young girls to recognize their potential following her election defeat managed to garner close to 700,000 retweets.
Have you noticed a common thread in all these retweets? They have no hashtags and are packed with emotional appeal. The point is that people aren’t on social media just to read marketing messages, they want to have conversations, make emotional connections and find out what other people are up to.
2. Twitter Will Continue To Grow And Be Relevant
There has been much talk lately about how Twitter has become stale and irrelevant. Well, that was before the 2016 US Presidential elections. If the elections proved one thing, it’s that Twitter has a large and dedicated following, and, news still breaks fastest on Twitter. Twitter has also demonstrated that it can be used effectively to create an alternative narrative; just ask one Donald Trump.
3. AR/MR on Snap Spectacles
Snap Inc recently launched Spectacles, video-grabbing sunglasses which allow you to upload the video to Snap. Spectacles 2.0 will feature some elements of mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality(AR). The idea is that people will move away from shopping on mobile phones and instead do so more on devices like Spectacles.
4. Social Media will Become the Primary Customer Service Channel
For some years now, businesses have used social media for customer service. However, it has been more of an alternative channel as opposed to being the main channel. The next 12 months will see more companies use social media as the main customer service channel. Partly informing this forecast is the rise of chatbots that have significantly cut down customer service times. Facebook is currently the trailblazer in this area.
5. Twitter Will Be More about Creating Connections Than Driving Traffic
The recent changes to Twitter, including the algorithm, means that it won’t be possible to use Twitter to automate driving traffic as much as before. However, Twitter will become a more effective connection tool. Marketers will have to focus more on quality content in order to create a connection and engage with their audiences.
6. Twitter No Longer a Means To An End
Still on Twitter, we are likely to see a rebound as Twitter morphs into more of a content destination. Twitter continues to focus on improving its algorithm to ensure quality trumps quantity.
Recently, Twitter struck a deal with the NFL to live stream 10 games. They have also made it possible to stream live video directly from the app without having to download periscope.
7. Focus on Live Video Across the Board
All social media networks are going to pour money and manpower into further developing live video. Live video has proven to be extremely popular. Further developments are expected to be seen in the areas of 360 degree video, augmented reality and virtual reality. All social media networks are going to aggressively invest in these areas. There is speculation that Snap will acquire or build a live stream arm into its platform. Word going around suggests that Snap will acquire GoPro or Hype. Once this happens, Snap will be more attractive to stores that will look to use Snap to drive more foot traffic.
These are just some of the major forecasts for the next 12 months but as mentioned at the outset, social media in a constant state of flux so there may something we have missed. You must tailor your social media marketing strategy and adjust to these changes when they arrive for the best chance of success.