One social media week has come and gone, one social media week of insights has come and is now here for your viewing pleasure!
We’ve done some extra special research for you, dear reader, today as we delve into four trends we’ve noticed, complete with plenty of evidence, that are currently shaping the future of social media.
You may be surprised to learn that….
1. Video is taking over
In our recent posts about Facebook brands doing it right, we mentioned the great work Samsung Mobile is doing by crafting social media posts that are fun, interactive and engaging to the user.
With nearly 41 million likes, Samsung Mobile has the ninth-most Facebook page likes among brands, trailing only the likes of McDonalds, Disney and Red Bull, but ahead of other giant corporations such as Oreo, KFC, and Starbucks.
What Samsung is doing that has vaulted them to the peak of social media is their content, namely the short videos they somehow churn out almost every day. These videos last between 15 and 30 seconds, but are usually intense, thought-provoking, and highlight features of their phones, without making the video too sales-y.
Check out their Facebook page if you want to see these videos for yourself. They all receive at least 1,000 likes, around 100 shares, and hundreds of comments, as well.
Samsung isn’t the only brand on social media to employ this content strategy. In fact, there are plenty of other brands doing the same thing, such as McDonalds and General Electric.
They’re doing this because video on Facebook and its newfound popularity. How popular? This popular:
“In September 2014, Facebook announced that its platform was generating more a billion views per day. Just months prior in June, the social giant revealed that for the first time ever, it had served more views than YouTube.”
That’s right. Facebook is beating out YouTube, the website whose content is dependent solely on videos, in video views.
And brands have taken notice, even incorporating sponsorships and partnerships (Samsung with the Tour de France and McDonalds with Minions). They’re able to pump out these well-produced, creative videos on a near daily basis because more attention is being invested by those company’s marketing departments.
Which leads me to my next point…
2. Facebook has become a legitimate advertising platform
Organic reach is dead, and brands killed it.
Prior to this recent flurry that has featured brands flocking to social media and mingling with their online audience, it was possible to make a stable social media living off of organic reach alone. Without spending a dime, you could create content that would get out to your audience and possibly more, simply because there wasn’t a lot of competition that existed at the time.
In fact, it’s causing a shift:
“The drop in organic reach has been apocalyptic for many businesses. This will force some businesses to reconsider Facebook as a viable channel and enable a migration to less noisy venues.”
Now that you have innovative, bigger companies with even bigger pockets, social media has become pay-to-play.
According to Shoutlet.com:
“There’s going to be a big shift in social media in filtering content from users and brands. Brands organic reach has declined significantly, while content is estimated to grow by 600% by 2020. Social media is no longer free and to see any results you’ll have to ‘pay-to-play’. “
Further to the point, the marketing budget towards social media is rising every day:
“28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing.”
“Social network ad spending is expected to hit $23.68 billion worldwide in 2015–an increase of 33.5% from 2014. Another forecast from the Social Times points out that Facebook’s CPC rose roughly 8% between 2013 and 2014. The right time to venture into social media is now because, over time, this channel is only going to get more competitive.”
Here’s some advice: Don’t even bother venturing into social media, especially on Facebook, and promoting your brand unless you’re willing to spend. Now that there are corporations willing to invest their marketing budget into social media, smaller brands and pages can’t compete with minuscule budgets or none at all.
But not all hope is lost….
3. Pinterest is becoming a lot more masculine and, therefore, more popular
For those who don’t know, Pinterest is another social media network, but it differs in that it allows users to create their own Pin-boards, which feature all of the products, places, or people a user enjoys looking at. People can create all sorts of different Pin-boards that divert into varying categories, from DIY to a Christmas list.
That ringing you just heard in your ears is the bell telling you, “Wake up! This is an untapped source of advertising!”
Sure enough, Pinterest has made a name for itself as a network that makes people want to shop. Check out this revealing find:
“Pinterest users were bouncing from Pinterest to company websites at a rate almost seven times higher than they were in 2001. In fact, the Shareaholic study reports that 5% of all traffic to the 300,000 websites came from Pinterest.”
and this one:
“Pinterest is second only to Facebook in the amount on traffic it drives to websites.”
Really? What else?
“Pinterest has recently become the fastest-growing channel, surpassing Instagram.”
“eMarketer predicts steady growth for years to come, reaching a total audience of 60 million in 2019; Pinterest’s 24% growth will outshine Facebook’s 9.2%.”
Can you be any more enticing?
“The number of Pinterest users more than doubled in the second half of 2014….in the last six months of 2014, active users increased by 111%, and members increased by 57%.”
THERE’S GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS. GRAB YOUR PICKAXE, WHATEVER THEY NAMED PEOPLE IN THE 1870S, BECAUSE WE’RE GOING AFTER SWEET, SWEET PINTEREST ADVERTISING MONEY.”
Of course, there is a catch, and it involves Pinterest’s demographic. There’s a reason why Pinterest is so successful at bouncing users from their page to a shopping website:
“Pinterest’s audience, on the other hand, is dominated by women in their 30s with young families–a group that does the majority of the shopping. Pinterest draws this demographic because it conveniently delivers information on a range of products and services women need for their families.”
And that’s where the problem lies: Pinterest, at the moment, is too much of a niche community that serves only one demographic, which are young moms. This works out well for certain companies that pander to that demographic, but most advertisers would rather target an eclectic array of users and a much greater audience.
But not all is lost as far as advertising on Pinterest goes:
“In a November 2014 Business Insider interview, Pinterest head of engineering Michael Lopp claims the platform has doubled the number of men signing up in the past year, and that its male audience is experiencing faster growth than its female audience. Further, the gender split in emerging markets like China and India is closer to 50/50.”
Get in while you can. Seriously.
And speaking of buying things off the internet…
4. The world is mobile
Are you somewhere in public? Look around you right now. What percentage of the people are looking down at their smartphones? Now look in a nearby window and use it as a mirror. What are you doing reading this in public? Jesus, dude, socialize!
OK, fine, you can keep listening since you, like so many people, are perfectly content not being sociable and contributing to the incredible lack of empathy that has stained society today.
That little device that has consumed us and turned us into emotionless husks asking the closest person next to you, “HEY, DID YOU READ THAT ARTICLE ABOUT THE CAT THAT JUMPED OFF A 10-STORY BUILDING” is also becoming utilized as one of the most important tools in the social media battleground.
Mainly, it’s being looked at as a tool you can use to buy with:
“Mobile payments are early today, but will soon skyrocket. In late 2013, just 6% of US adults said they had made a payment in a store by scanning or tapping their smartphone at a payment terminal. It will go up to 8% this year. Nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already pay with their phones. And, 60% of consumers use their smartphones to pay because of loyalty benefits.”
Brands are getting innovative with mobile. Smartly, they’re taking advantage of people already using their mobile as an extension of their arm. Without having to put their phone away to rifle through their wallet, brands, mainly Starbucks, allow their customers to never have to put their phone down!
Sad? Yes. Savvy? Oh yeah.
Dependence on mobile is especially huge on social media:
“31% of all traffic to the top 10 digital properties was mobile-only visitation….More than half of all social networks will occur on smartphones and tablets.”
How do you make your content reflect better on mobile devices? When it comes to advertising, the shorter the copy, the better, especially on a website like LinkedIn. While you’re allowed a maximum of 500 words in some cases for copy, mobile devices will only show the first 150 words before it cuts out.
Therefore, you’re better off creating a 150-word piece of copy, rather than utilizing the full 500 words because of the great utilization of mobile devices to browse social networks.
With all of this information, remember to always stay updated with trends, otherwise you could be investing your time and money into a channel or practice thats popularity has already come and gone.