With the year sprinting towards its second half, make informed predictions of what lies ahead. Based on recent algorithm changes, security breaches and privacy scandals, it is a time when social media networks have to work extra hard to regain the trust of their users.
The media environment also presents excellent opportunities for unique brand positioning campaigns. More advertisers on social media platforms will translate into higher advertising costs, and we should expect to see more investment in paid campaigns and significant growth in influencer marketing sectors.
Let us take a quick look at some trends and tips for the year ahead
· Transparency and Trust
The now infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, there has led to increased and sustained pressure from users and regulators to improve security, transparency, and accuracy. A trend that will, without a doubt, influence all social media activity is rebuilding audience trust.
Brands will be expected to undergo rigorous vetting and obtain explicit permission for the collection of consumer data. Consumer privacy will be, and breaches will negatively affect relationships with users.
Authenticity will be just as important. According to Forbes, one of the best ways to add authenticity to a social media site is to add User Generated Content (UGC). AirBnB is a prime example of the use of User Generated Content, with them only publishing user-generated posts.
· Social Media Influencing
Partnering with influencers in social media continues to be one of the most effective social media marketing practices. There is set to be an even bigger appetite for authentic social media influencers going forward.
With access to substantial target audiences, influencers are very useful in product endorsement and reviews. Companies will continue to seek influencers who align with their brands as one of their key marketing strategies.
· Live Video
While visual is not exactly a new phenomenon in social media, it is enormous. Live video is set to be behind about 80% of consumer traffic in the next few months. Due to its absorbing nature, innovation in video marketing will experience a significant rise within the social media industry.
Live videos are a brilliant way to generate engagement online. Live Q&A’s, live event coverage, how-to videos along with live-streaming create interactions in real time and build audience relationships.
· The Rise of Groups
There is a developing trend of people spending more time in group chats and less time posting publicly. Some influencer accounts have even turned to create private accounts to avoid network algorithms. Brands have followed suit by creating individual alternative accounts as engagement tools to drive up interest.
According to Entrepreneur post, social media platforms have evolved into full-blown communication channels. Brands will continue to seek ways of becoming part of the conversation by creating and growing groups synonymous with their brand.
Groups provide a unique platform where brands can share and connect with target audiences on a more personal level.
· Augmented Reality (AR)
Growth in augmented reality (AR) development in recent years is attributable to the fact that it allows consumers to get a feel of products by visualizing before actually purchasing them. AR developments will offer new and exciting experiences to customers, such as virtual showrooms.
The future holds great promise and renewed excitement for social media. Data and privacy breaches notwithstanding, the past year was still a great one in terms of development and tech. The year ahead is bound to witness the development of disruptive innovation that will drive the conversation around social media and marketing.
The relationship between brands and consumers will see increased rebuilding through vigorous PR, private groups, transparency reports and the use of employees as influencers.