Social media had a good year in 2014 and next year is expected to be even better. With growth in social media usage projected to reach about 2.44 billion people by 2018, major platforms will be gearing up to make themselves more accessible to businesses big and small, and businesses, in turn, will start using social media more strategically. Here are my top 5 predictions for social media marketing in 2015:
1) Social media advertising will be adopted by more businesses of all sizes. Social media is reinventing the concept of advertising in a way that online advertising has not done before. Today, rather than picking a publication to share your information and hoping the right market demographic will see your ad, you can pick a social media platform that is used by your target demographic and then narrow the scope so that you can BE SURE that the right people are seeing and interacting with your ad. Right now businesses on Facebook are being forced to discover this because of Facebook’s new algorithm is showing their posts to less people and businesses are advertising more to get their posts seen. Soon using social media ads as a necessary part of marketing will be the norm on all the social media sites.
2) Short videos will grow in popularity and spread through social media platforms. One of the most effective marketing strategies is storytelling, and nothing conveys a story like video. As we all know, social media moves pretty fast, creating a whirlwind of data. As adoption and usage increases, it will be increasingly important to use short, memorable videos for storytelling in social media. Already, videos can be shared not just on YouTube and Vimeo, but also on Pinterest, Vine and Facebook, and will soon be the norm on Twitter. And, p.s., this trend will combine with the trend mentioned above and video ads on social media will take off as well.
3) Social media platforms will improve technology to shorten the sales funnel. Right now, the most popular technique for selling to customers through social media requires capturing their attention on a social media platform, enticing them to sign up for your email list, and then using email marketing to build credibility and make the sale. That’s a lot of clicks to lead your customers through and right now the ROI from point A to B is fairly iffy. But think of how much more valuable social media would be if half of those steps were eliminated? Before the holidays both Twitter and Facebook began testing out “buy” buttons that allow businesses to sell directly from their platforms with just a click. Expect more of this.
4) Visual marketing will continue to grow in importance. Until recently, social media platforms that focused on visuals only, like Instagram and Pinterest, were seen as supplemental channels for most brands and businesses. But more businesses are starting to recognize the value of these platforms. Last spring, Forrester Research found that Instagram had a 4.2% engagement rate compared to Facebook’s 0.07% and Twitter’s 0.03%. Those are statistics that businesses can’t ignore. Consider it a way to bring back more brand building marketing, like print ads in magazine.
5) Business-to-business social media will evolve. Just as specialty networking platforms like Foodie and Fitocracy are making a splash, more b2b social media solutions will appear on the landscape. LinkedIn has made the move to offer a publishing platform for users. While this initial platform has had some problems, LinkedIn has the b2b market cornered with 300+ million users and is likely to spend 2015 building up its advertising, functionality and other online tools for businesses to connect.
So hold on tight for another wild ride of social media in 2015. It’s going to be lots of fun. And if you need some a little help along the way, be sure to drop me an email at Christina@marketingstaircase.com. My favorite part of social media marketing is seeing how my clients can grow and prosper by using it.