Social Media has cemented its hold on businesses as more and more marketers indicate that they are placing a high value on it and are wanting to master social tactics that effectively engage their audience. The past year has seen an increase in Social Media Marketing through countless studies, practices, industry trends and even some major acquisitions in the space. However, the exciting possibilities are yet to come as Facebook and Twitter announce potential “buy” buttons that help drive an even more personalized experience to consumers. Trends such as paid amplification, content directed to new wearable tech, native advertising are just some of the examples of what’s to come in 2015.
With the wide variety of trends ready to launch in 2015, we decided to reach out to experts and get their predictions for Social Media in the upcoming year.
1. Xavier Major, CEO of Popular Media Consulting, LLC – @xavier_major
Social media will change how we do business, marketing and sales with the continued improvement of socials ads and open graph searches like search.twitter.com. Facebook will learn more about their users for ad targeting. Social selling via native ads and open searches on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin will be the new trend as these platforms grow in 2015. Community management and customer service will move to social as it’s a cost effective way to handle questions, support issues and delight customers with high transparency.
2. Ty Swartz, CEO of Chief’s Touch Consulting – @ChiefsTouch
Companies failing on social media will realize that social communication is a valid form of inbound marketing when they create content designed specifically to their customer personas. This along with targeted Facebook advertising will have previously unsuccessful small business social media communications seen and heard by qualified customers looking for companies offering personalized solutions.
3. Drew Larison, Social Media Marketing Director at Web Success Agency – @MrDrewLarison
Focus on mobile more than ever before. Every day social media apps are dominating the eyeballs of your customers. Make sure that you are on the platforms you need to be on and also make sure you are learning how to communicate well on those apps.
4. Reed Berglund, CEO of FullBottle – @FullBottlegroup
We are seeing early indications that rising social video platforms i.e. Vine are providing effective alternative to adwords and Facebook advertising. There are still attribution issues utilizing these platforms, but all the players involved (Twitter/Vine, Facebook/Instagram, WeChat, Line, KIK, and Snapchat) are working very hard to create infrastructure necessary for tracking attribution.
2015 will be the year of systems alignment across social video. This will enable small businesses to reduce their acquisition costs by leveraging influencer advertising at scale.
5. Jasmine Bina, CEO of J.B. Communications – @jbcomms
I think companies that are smart enough to find and reach their target audiences in niche social media sites will have big wins. It can feel like a risk to invest resources in a small, unproven social platform – but if your people are gathering there instead of Facebook or Twitter, then that’s where you need to be.
6. Andrew Herrault, Lead Strategist at Connective Insights – @ConnectiveSEO
Social media will become a larger focus for advertising investment, especially with the news that Facebook will now block free adverts. This will force businesses to focus energy on maintaining the ROI of social media, as opposed to merely observing the vanity metrics (reach, likes, etc). Vanity metrics are good, but ROI determines the viability of a sustainable marketing channel.
7. Kevin Deegan, CTO of ON.com – @ONisfun
As mobile continues to grow, it’s clear it is the future of social media. Young users crave social media that is more specific to their needs, and offers basic functions that are mobile-friendly, a need which niche apps readily meet. With need-specific apps growing in popularity over the last year, it’s obvious that 2015 will bring even more apps to quell even the quirkiest user desires.
8. Andrew Stephen, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business – @AndrewTStephen
In 2015 I expect to see marketers become more serious about measuring ROI from their social media activities. Facebook is introducing changes that will reduce post reach for brands unless marketers pay for higher reach. This will change how marketers assess the performance of their Facebook content, and that mentality will spill over into the other channels they use.
9. Andrew Schneider, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Online Amiga – @myonlineamiga
In 2015, social media is going to quickly become two connected, yet distinct, strategies. First, as platforms like Facebook adjust how overly promotional content is filtered, businesses will have to become more social on social media, engaging with fans instead of just speaking to them.
Secondly, the advertising platforms will become more competitive, with big and small businesses investing in at least test runs using the highly advanced targeting options. As usual, new platforms will emerge, but it will take a miracle for anything, new or old, to take over Facebook’s dominance.
10. Ashley Small, President and Founder of Medley, Inc – @AshleyRSmall
Social media continues to expand and change as the New Year approaches. One of the biggest changes to come is with Facebook. Facebook has confirmed that in January 2015, they will carefully view images and content coming from business pages, and if they feel they are not telling a story or engaging their audience and just posting “promotional” posts, than they will not be showing their posts as much as they have in the past. This means businesses have to have budgets for Facebook ads, this will help boost their post to receive a higher number of impressions.
In 2015, it’s all about paying to advertise on social media. With analytics to show you how your money is being spent, is up to the business to determine if paying for Facebook advertising will be worth it in the long run for their business plan.
11. Laurie Menekou, President of Conceptual Communications – @Lmenekou
BIGGER on the SEO scale. As Google + continues to be a major player in the social media world, I predict it will start to take over and be more important than Facebook. Our clients care about results driven social media strategies and increasing their SEO platform is key to that – we predict Google + becomes the new front runner.
12. Jacqueline Woerner, Social Media Manager at Emarsys – @Emarsys
2015 is the year that selling goes social – big time: with more sophisticated approaches to Scommerce and integrated social advertising that draws on multiple data sources, marketers step up their game in social selling and bringing social media ROI to the business. We’ve also seen a major push into anonymous apps and private messaging, a trend that will stick around and force brands to communicate with consumers on their terms.
13. Dave Vronay, CEO and Founder of Heard – @HeardTeam
There will be widespread consumer push-back on human data trafficking sites such that smart brands will demand that sites demonstrate “fair trade data” practices. In addition, consumers will move on from so-called anonymous sites to applications that offer real solutions for online privacy where the audience as a whole can be verified but none of the individual members can be identified. Marketers will have to incorporate this sort of thinking into their ad strategy.
14. Ali Din, Marketing consultant & CMO at dinCloud – @dinCloud
Interest in social media is undeniable. However, businesses are now going to struggle with the time, effort, and costs of participating and figuring out how to link it to leads or revenue. As these questions come up, tools that help measure the sales cycle will continue to grow in demand. Social media experts need to expand into lead generation experts that understand a broader scope of the sales funnel.
15. Ashley Paris, Research Analyst at SiriusDecisions – @ashesVv
Organizations will invest in social network software/content management enhancements to host social communities/forums aligned to unique customer and prospect challenges extending further than marketing, sales or service. Insights from active social forums are too important to entrust to changing algorithms of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Time and energy will shift away from spend discussions around “paid social” and “social advertising” and toward how to incubate a thriving proprietary social property, fostering interaction among communities of potential customers and advocates.
16. Andrew Caravella, VP of Marketing at Sprout Social – @andrewcaravella
Businesses will find ways to bring their brand’s social experience to all employees and better engage them as ambassadors, whether it’s a company of 200 or 20,000 team members. Beyond marketing teams with daily responsibilities, we will start to see activation efforts for smarter, stronger and more organized social engagement at the individual employee level.
17. John Ohara, SVP of Strategy at Giant Spoon – @johnmcklain
Brands will find richer territory in the next evolution of social content, fueled not only by mobile, but by a wider spectrum of connected devices and new media, triggered from even deeper consumer experiences. Think real-time wearable tech to track and work out with Lebron, virtually; a Snapchat aerial joyride transmitted from globally connected drones-all ways of broadcasting as a new content source. We need to expand our thinking and extend the canvas.
18. Lisa Parkin, President of Social Climber – @LisaMParkin
For some businesses, having social media accounts isn’t enough anymore. Many businesses are branching out and creating their own mobile app and increasing their mobile social media marketing. This is important, as 34 percent of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device like a desktop or laptop computer. (Pew Research)
In 2015, social media will increase its steadily growing hold on mobile marketing, expanding businesses reach in that very active space.
19. Alfredo Ramos, General Manager of Pagemodo – @alfredoramosv
Social media will continue to be more closely integrated with day-to-day business practices. Many businesses will think social first when crafting a marketing plan or developing sales outreach strategies. In addition, businesses will continue to invest more of their marketing and strategy budgets toward existing and new social platforms, as well as social analytics. Specifically, as the organic reach of promotional content faces more challenges, paid placements will become essential in reaching potential customers via social media.
20. Seshu Madabushi, Founder & CEO of mKonnekt – @mKonnekt
In 2015 we predict action oriented improvements in the social media being a big factor – the likes of “Buy Now” in Twitter etc. Till date people are looking at the reach numbers in Facebook or retweets/favs in twitter – going forward whether there reach can be translated to sales figures. Last year we predicted the reach of videos and this year we will see the trend growing and that too Facebook videos
21. Kelsey Goeres, Social Media Associate at MyCorporation – @MyCorporation
With things like paid Facebook advertising becoming more prominent, social media will become more about earning revenue in 2015, as opposed to years passed when the main role of social outlets was to build brand awareness.
22. Erin Mulrooney, Digital Media Supervisor at ab+c Creative Intelligence – @erinmully
One of the biggest things to watch out for in social in 2015 is the rollout of Facebook’s advertising triforce. Start with Atlas, the Microsoft online ad measurement suite that Facebook purchased last year, combine it with LiveRail, a mobile video network purchased earlier this year, and add both to the massive audience platform Facebook maintains. With over 1 billion users, Facebook is setting themselves up to dominate with data, measurement and engaged ad delivery.
23. Hugo Pereira, Product & Digital Strategist at Talentsquare – @hugosbpereira
Social media will play a bigger influencing role in driving leads and customers. It’s becoming easier to analyze the ROI of sales that different social channels bring to both B2B and B2C businesses, therefore it’s highly predictable that businesses will invest more on broadcasting their influence and expertise in the field to drive more sales.
24. Rachel Miller, Chief Listener at Pipeliner CRM – rachelloumiller
2015 = Year of Transparency
No longer will companies be able to say one thing and do another. Engagement becomes crucial: right-time, not necessarily real-time; Aided by social media automation tools that identify new prospects then distribute curated content. Prioritizing engagement spurs changes in content creation. Businesses will no longer strive to push content out daily. Instead, they will focus on longer form content (stats show effectiveness here) that provides context, hard data and analysis.
25. Satya Krishnaswamy, Founder & CEO of NextPrinciples – @satyakri
With the introduction of the ‘buy’ button both on Twitter & Facebook, social commerce will truly get its wings. To ensure the most targeted offer on social for customers based on demographic & behavioral attributes, vendors will build cross channel consumer profiles. Customers will benefit with more relevant offers and companies will benefit with a more comprehensive customer profile across social and traditional channels.