Social Media Predictions for 2015

General

It’s that time of year when everyone puts together their predictions for 2015, so we thought it was time to find out what our experts think will happen in the world of social media/digital marketing over the next twelve months and we have to say, there has been some very interesting responses.

Daniel Nolan – Managing Director – the Eword

‘One of the greatest benefits to marketers of social media is the ability to deliver personalised, tailored messaging to different groups of people. Personalisation and automation are areas where social networks have been at the cutting edge in recent times, which is natural given how innately linked the channels are to people’s identities and personal information. People might not always realise it, but a Facebook profile is basically a Clubcard scheme for the 21st century – just an innovative way for advertisers to find out more about you.

I think in 2015 and beyond we will see an increase both in the amount of data collected from people and, by extension, greater personalisation of the messaging aimed at them. While advertisers already target people based on their interests, it is possible that semantic technology could allow specific messaging to be triggered based on moods or sentiments expressed in social posts. Might we see people exhibiting a low mood being presented ads full of e-commerce offers? Nothing beats a bit of retail therapy.

Another digital trend with which personalisation seems bound on a collision course is wearable technology. Few could not have noticed the rise of the Fitbit and other activity trackers this year – you may have seen colleagues wearing them, or even got one yourself. These wrist-based gadgets measure everything from the number of steps you walk every day, to the calories you burn and even the quality of your sleep.

So how long is it before advertisers express an interest in this information? Before users whose devices regularly register poor quality sleep are targeted with sponsored tweets linking to sleep advice or even products such as duvets and mattresses? Of course, any move in the direction of using someone’s mood or physical well-being to target adverts at them would inevitably raise questions of ethics – and whether the benefits of technology are worth the loss of privacy.’

Pamela Bustard – Social Media Manager – The Media Octopus

‘2014 has been an eventful, vibrant year for digital technologies and marketing, never stopping still or slowing down. As we’re now in December and looking ahead to what 2015 has to offer, for me it’s all about the smartphone continuing to be the platform to reach consumers through social media channels. When planning future campaigns for 2015, ensure your website and apps are optimised and start with mobile – ‘scale up’ on desktop and laptop rather than the other way round.

Integration isn’t enough any more for savvy customers – immersion across multiple platforms to provide a consistent brand experience, both online and offline, is crucial to ensure your brand is at the forefront of the mobilised consumer’s mind.

This is also why I think social video is here to stay; people want content they can consume quickly but effectively, and video can satisfy this. With platforms like Vine, Instagram video and Snapchat, there is increasing usage of video outside of YouTube which marketers should consider for 2015. Focusing on paid social media advertising and changes to rules and regulations, brands are finding different and more creative avenues to explore, with video being a highly viable and inventive option.’

Ian Anderson Gray – Co-Founder – Select Performers Internet Solutions

‘As with past couple of years, the amount of content produced on the web will continue to increase rapidly. Business owners will need to concentrate far more on quality, engaging and niche content in order to make their voices heard.

More niche social networks will probably come and go and some in the social media arena. Some social media “gurus” will announce that these new networks will be the social platform to invest in. The truth is, the big 4 social networks- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ aren’t going anywhere and will continue to grow in 2015. The same will be the case for the content platforms YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. I’m particularly excited about Pinterest and Instagram. They are platforms that will continue to grow rapidly and be very powerful networks to market your business in.

Twitter will most likely radically change the way tweets are ordered and presented in users’ streams. Twitter will likely evoke their own version of a kind of “EdgeRank” algorithm where the most relevant Tweets appear at the top of the stream. If this does happen, this will radically change the way Twitter works. Facebook will continue to tweak their EdgeRank algorithm to try and serve the most relevant content to its users. This will no doubt continue to frustrate marketers by making it harder to reach their audience without paying for ads. Hopefully this will mean an increase in quality of Facebook page posts and less a reliance on quantity.’

Sam Flynn – Owner – Sam Flynn Social Media

‘I think social media will continue to rise in use by businesses over the next year. I’m sure we’ll see some big changes to LinkedIn. Groups are being used less and less, so I think they will have a rethink on that offering, and also increase how you can use you company page.

Video and imagery is also going to play a huge part in social media. 2014 has been the year of Instagram, which has now reached 300 million users. Instagram’s success lies in the use of imagery over words, and businesses will have to get more creative in how they use imagery to promote their brand and engage customers.

I also think vlogging (blogging via video) will become far more important for business. Instead of polished business video productions, customers and clients will be keen to see 90 second expert pieces recorded simply on webcam, smartphone or tablet.

Will there be more platforms emerging? Definitely! And I’m sure much of their activity will focus on the use of video and imagery!’

Katie King – Managing Director – Zoodikers

‘My prediction for social media in 2015 is a deepening shift towards mobile and with 93% of the UK population owning a mobile – you can see why. While mobile devices and tablets used to be predominantly considered as a ‘second screen’, I believe 2015 will see social networks focus on users’ mobile experiences first. Mobile social apps – particularly image based ones, will thrive and grow in popularity. Marketers and brands will want to utilise image-based apps such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat to connect with the younger and mobile-fixated market. As these social mobile apps grow in popularity, I foresee a larger concentration on messaging, video and imagery. Interactions with online social communities will become the main motivator for brands, rather than leading followers to their website or other one-sided marketing collateral. With statistics showing there are 11 new mobile users every second globally, I feel 2015 will be the year of the social mobile.’

Sian Ediss – Digital Marketing Executive – Pixel8 Ltd

‘Without a doubt, 2015 will see a boom in visual content marketing. Brands are starting to realise the importance of well-crafted visual stories and how when executed successfully they can engage and stir high emotion among users. We are visual creatures, after all, according to Zabisco, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Social media channels, especially Facebook, will continue to challenge YouTube as an online destination for uploading and sharing videos. Currently, there are 1 billion daily views of video on Facebook, with 65% of them being viewed on mobile devices. And don’t forget Twitter’s Vine, I believe there will be an increased interaction with this channel for short form videos and will become a go-to platform instead of an afterthought as it is for many.

Evidence of the importance of images and videos is seen in new apps and platforms such as Hyperlapse from Instagram and the popularity of Canva and MavSocial of late. These allow for faster curation and creation of visual content, making it easy than ever before. Remember, visual content is social media ready and friendly, easy to share, easy to digest and instantly memorable. But none of this means the death of the written word; this content will compliment your brand’s message and ensure you stand out from the rest of the digital noise.

With the influx of visual content from slideshows to videos, photos to infographics, marketers need to be in the mind-set that they have just seconds to catch the audience’s attention and to get their idea across. It’s as simple as this: if you can’t win their attention and stop the user from scrolling, you’ve lost a customer.

Be sharp, be different and keep it simple – that’s my advice.’

Rene Power – B2B Marketing Professional

‘I’m banging the drum for Marketing as a Service (MaaS) in 2015. It will be the year when leading (and challenger) brands realise that targeted quality and real time “super service” will replace quantity and office hours when it comes to all things social media.

MaaS will demand a much stricter fixation than ever before on return on time, resource and investment for one big reason. Up to this point, social media has been very often low cost but high maintenance. Now pay to play is becoming the only way to achieve cut through on key social platforms. With real spend on the line, brands that take social media seriously by setting objectives that go beyond the vain, seeking to manage step change improvements in their social footprint beyond how many followers or retweets they enjoy, will be the ones that are highly valued.

Look out too for a proliferation of social monitoring and listening tools. In B2B especially, getting a greater handle on the discussion in your sector and around your brand will be a route to competitive advantage.’

Ehsan Khoderahmi – Co-Founder – SMXChat

Marketing via social media will continue to be treated as a numbers game in 2015. As a result, the wrong metrics and KPIs will be monitored and measured. However, more brands will realise there’s more to social media than the number of likes and followers. In 2015, we will see increase in social media advertising spend; in particular on:

LinkedIn – B2B
Twitter – B2B
Instagram – B2C
Facebook – B2C
YouTube – B2C

Despite the increase in social media content creation and ad spend, brands will struggle using social media data for strategic and operational brand positioning on social media channels.

2015 will be a year of education for few brands to realise social media is combination of two sciences, psychology and sociology; whilst technology can only help to scale communications. It is possible to see more businesses include social media in the mix.

As a result, towards the end of Q3 or begging of Q4 in 2015, we will hear more about attribution model and audience segmentation. Establishing relationships to gain trust and building communities to earn loyalty is going to be two of the most talked about topics in 2015. This will encourage some brands to start planning on creating relevant content based on their audience behaviour and psychology; and this will start taking place from Q2 in 2016. This will open up conversations amongst C-Suites and will call for more strategic planning based on Meta Data; this is combination of data and science. We will see this being adopted from 2017.’

Stephen Dyson – Marketing Manager – HMG Paints Ltd

‘Advertising on Twitter has previously been dominated by the major companies, but in 2015 we’ll start to see SME’s popping up as the advertising options increase. Over the last few years Twitter has rolled out lots of new advertising options beyond “Promoted Tweets”, which along with the opening of the Analytics to everyone, means brands and companies can now plan better and see immediately how effective their ads are working and adapt them real time.

What’s great is that Twitter have made setting up the campaigns extremely easy and straightforward. The options are really clear and simple, with a great step by step walk through to guide the process. Utilising the newly available analytics data you can see what type of content performs well so no more trial and error, and you can also use a previous tweet that’s performed well as part of the campaign. This is all backed up with a fantastic targeting option so companies can be sure the right people are seeing the ad, you can even go as far as targeting people who’ve previously visited your website.

To give marketers from SME’s a chance to be so specific and targeted with their ads means they can maximise their value for money, no more hit and hope; specific, targeted campaigns that can be set up in real time is great for businesses to exploit trends. The flexibility and speed they can be set up with will give SME’s a serious advantage over major brands who have to get everything signed off by numerous departments and managers.’

Steve Kuncewicz – Head of IP and Media – Bermans Solicitors

‘I think 2015 could well finally be the year when two major tipping points finally come about. Firstly users of social media will finally become fully aware of and very militant about the sheer amount of personal data which they leave in the hands of platforms and the tide may well turn against behavioural advertising delivered without active consent. Regulators like the ICO are already looking for campaigns which misuse personal data to make examples of them, and we’re only going to see more high-profile penalties for spam merchants.

Secondly, I’d like to see (and I think we will see) the social web become a little more human, with an emphasis on marketing which tells truly great stories through engaging and innovative content. This may finally be the year when social media and the marketers who use it to sell to us well and truly come of age. Again, regulators like the ASA will be watching the blurred boundaries between paid and earned content very closely (such as in the Mondelez/Oreo Adjudication) and ignorance of the rules, as well as what an audience actually wants from its brands will be no excuse.’

Ric Brookes – Creative Director – Tunafish Media

‘When predicting a trend for the next year, a good place to start is to look at previous statistics. The third quarter of 2014 had 234 million twitter users compared to 49 million users in 2010. Businesses around the world are reacting to this haven of customers available to them, who they can interact with 24 hours a day with relatively small investment.

Customers are using social media and technology several hours a day and becoming very tech savvy. With so much easy to access entertainment available to them, businesses will need to continue to adapt and look for different ways of engaging with their audience. People need to be stimulated in order for them to interact with the content being shared.

My social media prediction for 2015 is that Vine will be implemented more and more through social media. There is a small number of examples currently where Vine has been used very effectively and this will continue to increase. We’re a generation of trigger happy clickers, jumping from one video to the next, often taking in very small pieces of information at lightning pace. ‘Professionally made’ Vine videos will allow companies to take advantage of this change in audience behaviour and produce regular, forward thinking and valuable content.’

Amy-Jay Handley – Head of Digital – Pixel8 Ltd

‘I think there will be a further move towards brands identifying and showcasing content from their communities- this of course happens now, but I see this becoming a bigger part of the content strategy, particularly for SMEs. It’s about generating more content with less (or cleverer) output.

Looking at various reports, it seems there will be an increase in buy in at Senior Management level, as organisations become even more comfortable with the platforms. I’d really like to see MDs, VPs, FDs etc becoming more vocal on social to engage existing employees, tell the brand story and show their personality.

Visual content is likely to continue to climb in popularity as users continue to get more time poor and attention spans reduce. Easily consumable, snackable content will be key to engagement and shareability.’

Laura Thomas – Head of Social – Return on Digital

‘I predict that in 2015 social is going to become an instrumental part of content distribution. I always tell my clients not to create content and then go looking for an audience, but instead to write content for an audience – and to use social media to identify and profile these audiences. Once you’ve created content, use paid social media to make sure that you reach the people you wrote your content for. The internet is awash with bad content – how are people supposed to find your amazing work? Pay to reach them, and the next time they’ll make sure they find you organically. It’s the best way of building an audience, pay to find them once – you may not have to pay for their eyes again, but keep pushing your content and your audience will keep growing. People are already dabbling in this, but this is going to become a planned, strategic part of content marketing – and you’ll need a specialist to do it.

To clarify, I’m not talking about posting something on your page and boosting the post, I’m talking about strategic combinations of conversion and traffic driving adverts focused on very specific, relevant audiences. I’m talking about building audience groups from your email subscribers, lists of Twitter users that you *know* will be interested in your content – people with specific job roles that are going to landing pages with dynamic keyword insertion. These are not just boosted posts.’

To read more about Laura’s predictions for 2015 click here.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. The top social media predictions for 2015 from the experts themselves. What do you think will happen to social media marketing in 2015? Let us know in the comments!

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