Not sure if it was the recent ‘Back to the Future Day‘ or that 2015 is quickly coming to an end, but we have been very interested in the future lately. Specifically, the future of social media marketing. After several failed attempts to construct a time machine, we decided to do the next best thing: reach out to the smartest minds in the digital marketing industry.
We asked them one simple question:
What is your boldest prediction for the future of social media marketing?
The predictions we received were so good that for just a second we actually felt like we were in the future. So, if you are ready, go ahead and step into the future of social media marketing as predicted by the experts.
“Social media marketing is slowly going to drive less and less traffic to websites. With platforms like Snapchat increasing in popularity and with Facebook continually updating their algorithm, you will see less traffic from social networks, as some don’t make it easy to promote your website unless you advertise.”
“Social media marketing is going to be less about content curation and more about content creation. We’re seeing hints of this with the reintroduction of Facebook notes, and the recent rumors that Twitter is building a new product that allows users to share messages longer than 140 characters.
For too long businesses have gone on autopilot with social media. Consumers are sick of seeing the same link-baity garbage sprinkled throughout their newsfeeds. They want more heart. They want more originality. These updates are going to give businesses and brands the opportunity to invest in the human side of social media again.
The businesses that embrace this change will continue to find value in participating in these online communities—the ones who don’t will soon find it a lot more challenging to connect with people.”
“My ‘boldest prediction for the future of social media marketing’ is that companies will become more dependent on seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum: Becoming more dependable on social media tools like eClincher in order to automate and scale and get the job done effectively and efficiently while at the same time becoming more human, authentic and transparent with their engagement with other users in social media communities.”
“My prediction for the future of social media is all about transparency. Customers want direct communication with companies now, and they want transparency in the process. This is why videos, live streaming, and live chats are so important. Whether it’s keeping people up to date on delays, availability, mistakes, upcoming products, company changes, employee insights, and more, customers want this information in real time.
The more you can put the “face” of your company out there, the more your audience will interact, engage, and purchase from you. If you haven’t figured out ways to incorporate this into your social media strategy yet, now is the time to investigate the new tools in community development (podcasting, live streaming, live chats, etc.) to share this with your audience.”
“Marketers will embrace the power of live streaming to build trust with the community like never before, which will shift the content marketing strategy as a whole from creating marketing and sales content to creating employee led content that is shaped and molded by the community conversations and live streaming comments.”
“Social media marketing has grown up a lot, but we’re only just now starting to cross over into it becoming serious and necessary element for all businesses. While you may have been able to get away with not having a branded social media presence for some time, consumer habits are changing and those that fail to change with them will quickly fall behind, in all sectors. How this evolution will manifest in 2016 will be through a wide scale shift in marketing and communications mindset. Programmatic targeting will become more important, data and analytics more mainstream.
The greatest benefit of social media is data, we’re slowly starting to realize that, but no one really knows what it all means, what the possibilities are with all this insight. Because we’ve never had it before. We’ll see the rise of social analytics, the evolution of data translation, and the wider shift towards using the resources we have available to us in a more intelligent way. In this process, we’ll also shift further away from traditional outreach methods like print and television, as more spend shifts to focussed, refined digital campaigns. This may not seem like such a bold prediction – really, it’s pretty much a no brainer – but the impact it will have will be significant, particularly as younger generations of digital natives, those who’ve never known a world without social media or online ad targeting, shift into more lucrative demographic brackets and force a change in mindset in order to meet their ever-increasing expectations of marketing.”
“Looking forward, social media entities will continue to mature into full-fledged media entities.
Don’t agree? Check Facebook’s ever-growing advertising revenue stream based on increase number and price of ads.
This will result in 2 key trends:
- Increased social media marketing spend. Marketers will need to support their social media presence with tailored content, better distribution using paid tools and technology and social media advertising. Translation: Increased marketing spend.
- Increased focus on blogs as owned social media. Blogs are an underrated content marketing and social media tool to achieve key business objectives. They support customer information needs at every step of the buying cycle.”
“I predict that, very soon, we will begin to see real retraction in the social media industry. We’re in a period right now where we’re still seeing multiple new platforms birthed, with plenty of room for growth. Even the largest social network, Facebook, is still growing, adding millions of new users each month. That won’t last.
Soon, consumers will not just say they’re weary of trying new networks, they’ll express it through an utter disdain of anything new. New platforms will see so much struggle to gain traction that they’ll quickly fold, and that will lead to extreme caution on the part of investors. Without investors to back them, ideators will find it hard to build solutions for perceived problems. Instead, the remaining networks will continue to evolve and expand their offerings.
We’re already seeing this today, with Facebook in particular. They’ve added video and are quickly becoming a rival to YouTube for video consumption. As that capability matures, and it becomes easier to use the Facebook platform in manners similar to YouTube, smaller video solutions will die off or be purchased. So those who hate it every time there’s a new social network announced, and who only want to use their favorite few platforms, rejoice! Your day is coming.”
“In-the-moment updates will dominate. Social media is already “in-the-moment” by nature, but there are some posts that are more “in-the-moment” than others. For example, take Periscope, which was recently acquired by Twitter—it allows users to give a live video broadcast of some stretch of their lives. Compare that to simply taking a video and posting it later—Periscope users collectively watch 40 years of live video each and every day. Instagram and Snapchat also support on-the-go, in-the-moment updates as opposed to late-game retrospectives, and could collectively herald in a new era of immediacy in social media. If it catches on, you can forget about scheduling all your company’s social media posts in advance.”
“For marketers thinking about approaching social media from a networking and community building aspect rather than a marketing and sales aspect can be very difficult. Brands need to attract customers, but breaking through the clutter is challenging. Every day brands and marketers are spending millions trying to get you to use, keep using, and share that you love their brands. But why aren’t they doing everything they can, and using some of those millions to do it (probably way less that they are spending on those marketing campaigns), making experiences with their brand remarkable?
Opportunities to do this are given to brands each and every day and they simply, turn their heads, rave about their latest and great “campaign’ as if it were a military conquest, and pass up ways to really create customers for life. We are not there yet, but my boldest prediction is that brands will start to realize that they will Standout by “Liking” them before they “Like” you.”
“We’re going to see more on social selling in 2016 because people are getting a handle on how to manage their social media, now they want to monetize it. My newest online course is called “Tweeting for Profits” because my community wants to make money from their efforts on social. Most people are not beginners anymore. Social media has been around for awhile. They are becoming advanced and they want to go to the next level.”
“Facebook will turn into AOL. That doesn’t mean that they’ll go old-school, or offer Internet service, but rather that Facebook will continue to encapsulate the entire web experience all on its platform, just like AOL was when it started. Have you noticed that videos played within Facebook don’t count toward YouTube views? Links and other external content is preloaded and opens within Facebook too. In a way, they’ll be like AOL 20 years ago, offering content and experiences through their platform. Marketers will have to work even harder to get people to their websites, and will probably have to resort to paid ads to see a difference.”
“Facebook will create more millionaires than YouTube with their video platform. Video will dominate on every level- live interactive video as well as pre-recorded videos. Today’s social media user is interactive, and we’ll see more people using live streaming on their personal Facebook profile pages, like “Mentions For Profiles”. Bottom line: Video + Facebook = more wealth for brands and more fun for people! “
“Facebook Search function usage grows so rapidly that Twitter becomes less relevant in terms of surfacing trends and Google ad revenue begins to suffer as users turn to FB search for more refined context for local search.”
“Automating certain tasks on social media isn’t anything new, but I think we will be debating the ethics of some forms of automation much more readily in 2016. I love some forms of automation, but I’ve never been a huge fan of automating engagement, however we’re now entering an age of robots and artificial intelligence and the landscape is about to change.
There are new artificial intelligence tools that are starting to do a very good job at intelligently engaging with users on social media- so much so that the individuals aren’t even realizing they are speaking with a robot!
Whether we like this or not, we are going to see more and more tools using artificial intelligence to help businesses find new leads and engage with existing customers on their social networks – particularly in answering common questions. There will be a lot of backlash against this kind of automation, and mistakes will be made, but like it or not, artificial intelligence is here to stay. We need to learn how to use this new power ethically and productively.”
“In 2016 content will still rule for businesses to get in front of the right people. But context will be more important than ever. It’s going to be about real-time geographics. Where you are at the moment, who is near by, and what content relates to that.”
“Social platforms will institute conversion tracking that will definitively provide attribution metrics that profoundly impacts marketers’ attitudes toward the power of social media. Additionally, conversion options will be plentiful to push the conversion closer to the social interaction rather than driving them through a complex funnel.”
“The future of social media marketing is more ads. I’m not happy to predict this, but it’s true. To maximize the visibility of ads, social networks throttle back the organic reach of social posts, especially posts from brands. I expect we’ll see an algorithm within Twitter within the next 12 months. Just as in Facebook, this will reduce the reach of posts and increase the visibility of ads. This in turn increases the value to advertisers and the subsequent ad spend …and eventually the share price of the social network.”
“I think there will be two big trends emerging for social media in the coming years. The most impactful social media trend I see moving forward will be social media buying power. It has already begun on channels like Pinterest, but there will be a huge rise in e-commerce on social media networks that makes products instantly available and easily accessible. The hunt for seeing something online and trying to find out where to buy it will be over.
The second will be driven by deep data and analytics more than ever before. Brands will use these insights to hyper target their audience through content, conversations, posting times and created extremely effective and targeted strategies to connect with their audience that will yield incredible results.”
“In 2016, cyber security – or rather the lack thereof – will make headlines. Despite some prominent social account hacks in the past, many brands and individuals have not been taking the cyber threat seriously. Major hacks that will lead to huge data losses and privacy breaches as well as social media phishing attacks will shake up social media marketing as we know it. I hope I am wrong, but I am afraid, I don’t think I am.”
“The ability for businesses to achieve free reach on Social Media will become even more of a challenge in 2016. Businesses will be forced to approach Social Media sites as “advertising” platforms and willl use their ad dollars on the platforms where they can easily target their ideal customers. This will serve small businesses in particular very well by a reduction in the confusion and overwhelm they have been experiencing around Social. They’ll be able to set goals, plan and measure much more efficiently. Less time and energy will be spent doing what I call Social Media “busy work” (publishing content that goes nowhere). Some Social platforms that have been hanging on by a thread will be forced to shut down or completely re-engineer their models. We’ll see few (or no) launches of “one size fits all” Social sites, but some interesting niche audience platforms might emerge.”
“I boldly predict that in 2016, organizations will give marketing robots the boot and fully embrace a more thoroughly human approach to marketing. We’ll see more partnering with influencers, advocates taking active roles in brand messaging, and the creation of genuine relationships with audiences. Both B2B and B2C marketing will sport a much more human face.”
After analyzing all the of predictions we received, we were able to notice a few common trends that were predicted over and over:
1. Live Streaming Will Continue to Grow
2. Real-Time Engagement Will Become Key
3. Greater Dependance On Analytics
4. Increase In Paid Advertising
5. Social Selling
For more on these key trends, click here.
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