Until we had only Facebook and SEO to deal with, marketers had it rather easy. With the rise of social internet, the emergence of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the inevitability of Google+, marketers have plenty on their plate. Probably, more than what they can handle. The target audience now is not a funneled demographic but a scattered demographic over a host of platforms. Hence, it is important to sort out your priorities before marking out your annual (or even semi-annual) activity calender.
Here are my predictions on what turn social media marketing could take over the course of the next 12 months!
1. Facebook’s Organic Bankruptcy
As is known, Facebook has starting pulling plugs on organic content (never mind how good it is) slowly but gradually. Its emphasis on paying for visibility has seen an increased number of brands and businesses noticing a sharp drop in their content reach. Additionally, as compared to say 2011 or 2012, the potential number of brands vying for your attention on Facebook has increased, which has greatly reduced visibility per post anyway. This has prompted brands to adopt Facebook’s paid ads on a large scale.
Most marketers and/or brands, by now have realized that a promoted posts benefits better than a paid ad to get people to like a page. fans coming through promoted posts are also a much more genuine lot comparatively.
2. Analyzing Twitter
Twitter started rolling out its analytic tools page in July this year. While hashtags was always a great way to determine your Twitter clout, analytic tools make it a tad more believable and realistic. Twitter’s analytic tools aren’t yet as fully developed and evolved as that of say Facebook or Google+, but its a great start, and brands can look forward to more of it in coming months.
3. Social Stature
Anchoring SEO may or may not work for blogs anymore. Google has already starting cracking a silent whip on guest blogs as link-building exercises, and it is expected to intensify in 2015. Good content will still be as important as ever, but selling it will largely depend on the writer/blogger’s social stature (how many followers, how many influenced readers, etc.) and his/her (non-SEO) content marketing abilities. For eg. A popular blogger with a strong readership and following on Twitter will generate better traction for his own blog even if he’s having an off-day with the words.
4. Monetizing News
The overall global newspaper circulation (excluding India and China, since both being emerging economies with rising populations clock in ever-increasing subscription and readership rates) has fallen by roughly 27-29%. In the United States alone, there’s been a drop in newspaper subscribers by 0.7% per year for the last decade or so. So where are all these readers going? Have they stopped reading? Are people not interested in news anymore?
The answer to those questions is – Digital News. The number of readers consuming digital news (along side print news or exclusively) has steadily risen post the launch if iPhone in 2008. This has created wildly popular and heavily followed media profiles (viz. Guardian’s Twitter account, The New Yorker’s Facebook page, Huffington Post, Washington Post, etc.) that are distributing every bit of news in real time, along side live and exclusive visuals, in most cases.
2015 can be expected to be the coming of age year of digital news services as their social media profiles, apps and websites see a jump in not just readership, but also revenue – through native advertising, sponsored content, special tie-ups, mergers, take-overs, etc. Brands will be quick to jump onto this bandwagon and leverage maximum traction from these news accounts and their popularity.
5. Integrated E-Commerce
Social Media platforms are already wonderful playgrounds for e-commerce platforms to gain business. By allowing social logins, most e-commerce companies are already practicing targetted-marketing on a large scale. And it seems to be working too. But what one will have to watch out for in 2015 in is the ‘integrated buy button’. Facebook and Twitter are already playing around with the buy button that allows users to directly buy a product from their home feeds. Facebook implements a similar Download App/Install App suggestion button for suggested apps on mobile feeds.
While these features have largely been limited to testing with a select few big businesses and individuals so far, expected them to be on a universal roll-out train given the increasing popularity of online shopping – especially in India, already one of Facebook and Twitter’s largest user base. What this also allows for e-commerce retailers is the ability to reach out to targetted demographics without having to create content (well, mostly) – Their products shall speak for themselves!
It is still early but fact for a fact, most of these predictions do seem likely to turn green by the time we hit June/July. By January 2016, we might have moved onto a newer set of predictions that will change the game even further.
Till then, Happy Socializing and Happy Marketing fellow folks!