Distinctive Publishing

4 major social media trends that businesses should watch

Brands are using social media more and more every day to grow consumer engagement and brand awareness.

This trend will only grow as content-marketing channels and capabilities change daily.

We’re only two months into 2015 and we are already seeing major changes. Here are four that are likely to gain momentum in the months ahead:

1. Video content will dominate

Video was a game-changer in 2014 for Facebook, which surpassed YouTube in desktop video views last fall. YouTube still holds the advantage in views across all devices, but Facebook’s numbers will continue to rise, especially with how easy it is for users to share videos on the platform. Look for marketers and brands to produce more auto-play videos through Facebook in 2015.

Not to be left behind, Twitter recently launched their new video capability, allowing users to create and edit short videos directly through the Twitter app. Instagram introduced video ads in late 2014 on a limited basis (appearing in the newsfeed, not just brand pages), but will expand the program to additional countries and brands.

2. Pay to stay relevant

It will come as no shock to Facebook marketers that sustained organic reach for pages is mostly a thing of the past. Now, Facebook is changing the newsfeed algorithm to decrease visibility of posts and materials it deems “overly promotional.” Look for brands to budget more for Facebook campaigns in 2015 to reach users.

Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are all tweaking and expanding advertising and targeting capabilities as well, and paid reach will no doubt increase in importance on each platform.

3. New social networks focus on interests, privacy

Rather than competing with the big guns like Facebook and Twitter, many emerging social networks are more niche and interest-based. Examples include Foodie (dining/chefs), Kaboodle (shopping) and Ravelry (for knitting and crocheting enthusiasts).

If the popularity of apps like Snapchat and Whisper are any indication, the demand for social media that provides anonymity and privacy (especially in regards to data collection) will increase. Apps like Unseen and Secret and sites such as Ello (ad-free) attempt to deliver greater protection to users.

4. Social listening

Companies are dedicating more resources and utilizing more tools than ever to monitor social in real time. Brands will look to respond quickly to customer service inquiries or simply interact with people talking about their product/company. Check out tools like Hootsuite and Buffer.