In the world of technology, new trends and new technology can come about in the blink of an eye. A technology that was introduced 6 months ago may be old news just a few months later. It may be superseded by another new or better technology, either hardware or software.
Trends come and go. Some trends become the mainstream while some just vanish and are never heard of again. Whatever the case may be, technological advancements that help the general public, businesses and other sectors, should not be ignored.
This is also true for social media. No one can deny how social media has changed the social and business landscape around the world. Ever since the internet boom, people want to be connected to other like-minded people. It used to be chat rooms and Yahoo groups and now we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. As the years go by, these social media platforms have become effective tools for communication and spreading information.
If you’re a freelance blogger, a digital marketing professional or a small business owner, you cannot deny the importance of social media today for you and your business. Every year there are countless predictions and trends in social media and below are the one that you need to keep an eye on and possibly integrate to your social media channels to be ahead of the pack.
#1 Augmented Reality or AR
AR is described as superimposing computer-generated images on top of a person’s view of reality and creating a composite view that augments the real world around the person. In reality, this technology has been around for years. One fine example application of augmented reality is “Pokemon Go” that was developed in 2016 for Android and iOS users. This technology will be more available in many social media apps, specifically game apps since Pokemon Go has proven to be very popular and effective. AR could also have uses in the retail industry in the future.
#2 The Popularity Of Live Video Content Will Continue
When Facebook introduced live video streaming, the video content received 6x the engagement as compared to non-live videos. It became popular because the video streamer and the audience can interact in real time. They can comment, send emojis, likes and hearts all at the same time and the video streamer can acknowledge these people. These live videos create a sense of connection, belonging and engagement never seen before in other video platforms. It’s also estimated that 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be video by the year 2019. It’s also a fact that viewers retain 95% of the message when watching a video as compared to just reading text at 10%.
#3 Social Media Influencers Will Still Be Relevant
Even though controversies have hounded some social media influencers like the Logan Paul suicide forest scandal, influencers buying fake followers and the banning of social media influencers in the White Moose Café in Dublin (just to name a few examples), social media influencers will still be relevant. 74% of social media users go to social media influencers for advice when deciding whether to purchase a product or not. 40% of social media users bought a product or service because it was being promoted by a social media influencer on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Just one useful tip, learn from social media influencers that truly offer value and knowledgeable opinions and not micro celebrities that have nothing to offer.
#4 Messaging Apps Will Retain Importance As A Tool Of Communication
Facebook Messenger, Viber, Skype, Slack, Zoom, WeChat, WhatsApp are some of the popular messaging apps used today by individuals or businesses. Messaging apps are the preferred mode of communication as compared to traditional text because you as a social media channel owner, a business or a brand can have a one-one-one talk with your followers or customers. These messaging apps are faster and have a more direct link to you if they want quick answers to their questions, or want to provide feedback regarding a blog post, or a certain product or service that they are using. This in turn provides a better customer service experience and they will feel that the brand they are following really cares for them.
#5 Fake News And Censorship
According to Paul Chadwick of The Guardian – “False news is more novel than true news and that may be why we share the false much faster and more widely.” Admit it, you may have shared some fake news just by reading the headline alone and not reading the whole article to check if it’s truthful or not. And you have seen many Facebook accounts being suspended and Facebook posts being deleted because it didn’t follow Facebook’s criteria. Is it hardcore censorship or is it just making social media channels safe again? It’s a fact that social media channels have been used as weapons in influencing the 2016 U.S elections or extremist groups sharing their propaganda. Social media channels will have more pressure to make their platforms safe to use.
Social will continue to change and while these trends will come and go, you should always be prepared for changes. Once you understand the playing field you might decide your strategy needs to change.