It is just a little more than a decade that social networking as we know it today came into existence and it is just a few years that social networking became social media. Now it has become the face of mass communication and the battlefield of opinions, marketing campaigns, contestant ideas for millions of people and organizations representing all social strata. Naturally, any new trend in this new media landscape is viewed with extreme curiosity. When social media changed our life and communication so much, we are very likely to take an interest in new trends that are going to spearhead social media actions in 2016. Here are our 7 picks from some of the important trends that are going to rule social media in the coming year.
1. Live broadcasts and real time posts will rule
As far as real time sharing is concerned social media is already far ahead than all other digital platforms and media. Social posts by their characteristics are already ‘real time’ but even then some social posts have more ‘real time’ attributes than others. By allowing users to broadcast live video posts Periscope created a new landmark and it turned on a new trend. On the go and in-the-moment updates supported by Snapchat and Instagram also makes the trend clear. This focus on immediacy and real time content is continuing to be the hot thing for increasing number of users. In the coming year social media will see waves of live streaming and live real time posts popularized by more users and social platforms.
2. Social search will give search engines tough competition
Most studies reveal that around 80% of online buyers point towards online reviews and social comments posted by other customers is their main source of influence. This shows majority of buying decisions are reached by searching social media posts rather than search engine ranked contents. Most people now for reaching a buying decision and to seek opinions and reviews just prefer to scout social media rather than searching on Google. Moreover, discounts, takeaways, special deals and gift coupons offered by the marketers on social media give them more reason to search social media rather than web.
3. Social media will shape political opinions and other major trends
Increasing number of people now turn to Facebook and Twitter to get news update and recent political fads and comments. Naturally, from political figures to rock stars to footballers to film personalities, all now prefer quick social posts to make their voice heard by millions of people at the blinking of an eye. From American presidential election to creating fad over a forthcoming rock concert to updating team news in a sports tournament, all comments, updates, reviews and conversations are now happening on social platforms. A wave of comment on an issue just can put pressure on a government now and we have seen this number of times. In the time to come this mobilizing and mass opinion shaping power of social media will only increase by leaps and bounds.
4. Culture will be the driving factor in social marketing
Human beings are cultural entities and they never embraced anything without any cultural value wholeheartedly. The mere purpose or so called effectiveness or excellence of material quality of a product just cannot make a person strongly associate with a brand, even though he purchases it couple of times. So, to create the bond brands need to connect emotions by telling a story or by proposing values that are dear to the target audience. Thus culture continues to play a too important role in building social relationship with users. In conformity with this new focus on cultural connect between brands and social media audience, internet marketers are heavily banking on Big Data analytics to gain insights in the emotion, behavioral attribute, preferences, interests, spending habits and such granular level factors to influence users.
For marketers this new focus on cultural connect comes loaded with a lot of significance and opportunities. With just a story of shared cause a brand just can make a connection with minds of people. In this respect marketers can dig the moods shown by the users, their leanings, the values upheld by most users, etc. on social media pages and accordingly can make a marketing plan. As Big Data analytics with high speed data processing tools and databases is already mining insights from all facets of data, social media will be the richest goldmine to deliver wide variety of insights on customers.
5. Social publishing will be more innovative
Just within a year we have seen Facebook, Twitter and a few other social platforms coming up with new ideas to publish contents that were hitherto unthinkable. Instant Articles from Facebook is just one step ahead towards this new role. Thanks to this new publishing service now one can publish full length articles to the users without needing to provide an external web link. As social media is rising as a better alternative to search engine for many users, social publishing will continue to rise.
6. More features and functionalities
Within a little more than a year Facebook added a number of value added functionalities and features. From their introduction of Instant Articles to an in-post search engine to video watching ability at the time of scrolling, in number of ways it added value to the user experience. This increasing range of new features and functionalities for social platforms will continue to make the life of users easier in 2016 as well.
7. Concerns over privacy will continue to grow
As we are increasing becoming dominated by social sharing privacy is continuing to be a matter of concern. Some recent incidences of security breaches fuel this concern even more. To address this rising concern Facebook has come with new privacy tools. For many, Snapchat gave them an ideal way to have a private conversation. While privacy concern will continue to be bigger social media brands will also unfold new tools and new ways to make conversation private and secure in 2016.
Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing iPhone app development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.