The nuances and subtleties of the ever-changing social media world can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, users and marketers are constantly having to adapt to changes. On the other hand, we are living in one of the most exciting, turnkey configurations of communication the world has ever seen. With new technologies, apps, and networks launching left and right, the question begs, "Where will people flock to next?"
With the landscape changing so fast, being a brand that lives in the now on social has never been so important. A recent study by Global Web Index found that people spend 28% of their total online time on social networking sites. Looking ahead, brands that have invested the most in understanding the science behind social media are also those that will be able to artfully story-tell and entertain their fans through any new platforms as they come along.
So what changes and trends should be on your radar this year? Here are our top five social media game changers to watch in 2016:
One of the hottest topics in marketing right now is personalization. By determining a user’s intent and online traits, you are able to deliver relevant content customized to what you already know about them, and gain the highest quality leads and results.
Why does personalization on social media matter so much? When brands send out billboard-like social ads that contain spammy text or push out auto-tweets, people react in a similar way—they ignore you. With Facebook’s custom audiences and Twitter’s tailored audiences, for example, we’re now able to engage with users using personalized messaging focused on real people, not profiles. Marketers need to adjust their strategies to incorporate personalized content and capitalize on the ability to better target users.
2. Facebook Live
Live video streaming has become increasingly popular this year and social media is booming with video engagements. Facebook Live allows brands to connect with their fans by sharing real-time, compressed video of what they’re doing or where they are. Whether it’s a product demo or a glimpse behind the scenes, Facebook Live is valuable in that it can be repurposed on almost all other social media channels.
Social media consumers are visual learners, so it’s no surprise that shoppers who view video on social are almost twice as likely to make a purchase than non-viewers. While Facebook has not rolled out engagement tracking and targeting functionality for its live streaming, if history repeats itself, it won’t be long until they do.
3. Virtual Reality
Speaking of video, social platforms such as Splash, Vrse, and Vrideo are making their mark on the 360-degree video sharing scene and further changing the game for social media marketers. Recent predictions say that live streaming 360-degree video is coming to social, including YouTube and Facebook, within the next year. What could virtual reality mean for social media interactions? Less fractured, more humanized, and more real conversations.
Virtual reality technologies will give users the ability to see body language, distinct mannerisms, and personalities. For many years, it has been said that social media has been a way for people to “hide” behind a screen, but when virtual reality becomes mainstream, our online interactions will theoretically be more humanized and reflect how people behave offline. Even Facebook is investing in plans to make virtual reality more social. In a recent interview, Mark Zuckerberg said, "We are betting on two trends… the one trend is going toward increasing richness. The other trend is the development of more and more immersive and powerful computing platforms.”
Brands and platforms that use gamification techniques have come to realize just how much they create natural customer loyalty, encouraging certain social behaviors in a non-intrusive way. The options for marketers to use gamification on social media are abundant—whether it’s a sweepstakes, poll, giveaway, competitive contest, or referral program, brands have seen amazing results using this technique on social.
A simple M&M’s marketing campaign recently reaped the benefits of gamification on Facebook. Based on an “eye-spy” objective, Facebook users were given a photo of tiny M&M’s and told to find one teeny-tiny pretzel inside. This resulted in over 26,000 likes, 6,200 shares, and 11,000 comments.
5. Increase in Mobile
The growth of social media on mobile devices cannot be overstated. There are currently 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts around the world, and the younger the user, the more likely they’re using social on mobile frequently throughout the day. The “somo” (social-mobile) platform Snapchat is now the third most popular social network among millennials, says MW Partners, and the platform continues to win over people of all ages with its ever-changing filters and face swaps. Similarly, visual platform Instagram has turned into a social networking powerhouse, with more than 300 million daily users and a forecasted ad revenue at $2.81 billion by 2017.
If you want to learn more about upcoming social trends and how to adapt to this evolving industry, don’t hesitate to reach out to the social team at Rise.