We all know that social media is constantly evolving, so what is in store for us next? IoT, VR and pretty much anything that has to do with Facebook is all obvious answers, but if we look past these cliches and into the future of social technology, it’s difficult to choose what will really matter and why. What usually draws the attention of social media marketers are new apps and networks as well as the latest features on the biggest platforms.
What drives social technology development is a dynamic of consumer behaviours and new technologies significantly affect this consumer behaviour. Therefore, when looking ahead at what’s next in social media, you must understand this dynamic amongst your own customers and broader community.
With this dynamic cycle of people and technology in mind, here are some directions for social media evolution you should keep your eyes on.
1. The Facebook Internet
Facebook is dominating all social media, video and advertising and this is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. If you factor in the prediction that soon Instagram will become the second biggest social network site and WhatsApp messaging, there really is no need for people to leave. Think about what this means for customer expectation when developing your Facebook marketing strategy and what you can accomplish with customer engagement before they even think about visiting your corporate website.
2. Converged Social Media
The combination of Microsoft and LinkedIn will open up a whole new world of possibilities to marketers especially if professional social profiles become accessible and integrated into Microsoft 365 apps. There is more convergence still to come and there is plenty of speculation as to whether Facebook, Google and Apple will by Twitter or if Twitter will become outdated like Friendster and MySpace.
Think about all the possibilities for your content creation and influencer marketing efforts. If you need an expert quote for a blog post all you will have to do is the right click.
3. Hot Video
Real-time video is generating all the buzz right now with Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope leading the way in social media engagement with customers in ways that have not been explored. Let’s look at the live TV as an example. The live video presents opportunities for things to go differently than planned such as Mark Zuckerberg’s funny Q&A with Jerry Seinfeld on Facebook Live that reached more than 9 million viewers. On the other hand, who wouldn’t trade a little bit of awkward for the mass exposure (159 million views) of a Chewbacca Mom event?
4. Paying to Be on Social Networks
Social media advertising will continue to grow with even more options for advertisers. Social media advertising is predicted to rake in a whopping $11 billion in total revenue up from $6.1 billion in 2013. More social media networks will offer greater advertising options, for example, Snapchat is now inserting advertising in between users’ stories.
Facebook keeps pushing to place individuals over brands when it comes to advertising which means that companies need to think about the combined social wisdom of their employees and community for distribution as opposed to publishing on the brand home social base.
5. Social Chat Bots
We keep talking a lot about Facebook, but that’s because they keep developing new ways to engage with customers Nowadays, customers expect real-time engagement and bots may be able to fulfil some basic customer service functions and information needs for brands.
At the very least, brands will need to invest in more interactive social experiences for their customers and the best way to do that is through a neural network and AI.