Bold Social Media Predictions for 2015

Bold Social Media Predictions for 2015

It’s the first official full week of 2015 and in this industry that means you’re about to be inundated with piles upon piles of prediction lists for the state of online marketing. While lacking in originality, some of these lists do indeed serve to prepare brands and businesses for the year ahead. The problem for you (business owner/manager), however, is that far too often these predictions are nothing more than projections on the “status quo”. A quick skim through them leaves you no wiser than before. The thing is, 2014 did not maintain the status quo with respect to online marketing, especially in the world of social media. Businesses were ill-prepared for the big changes in the social networks that they depend upon to grow their online consumer base. Perhaps bolder predictions from our industry would have served these businesses better?

With 2015 looking to be just as dramatic for social media change and growth I thought I’d put a few predictions out there that will address the potential for an industry shake-up. More importantly, by adjusting your online marketing strategy to account for the following predictions you’ll earn a leg up on the competition, even if the predictions don’t quite play out as climactically as expected.

5 Big Social Media Predictions That Will Help Shape Your Business’ Online Marketing Strategy in 2015

1. The Facebook Buy-Button Will Go Global to Big Success for Early Adopting Brands

When Facebook announced testing of the buy-button feature back in July retailers all over the U.S. salivated at the opportunity to truly prove ROI from Facebook in time for the holiday shopping season. However, the buy-button only rolled out to very select number of brand pages and very few Facebook users ever experienced it in action by the end of 2014. While some say Facebook missed out on a big opportunity by holding back on the ecommerce feature, especially in light of their short fourth quarter earnings, the implications of the buy-button are huge and thus it’s sweeping release should be handled with care. Expect Facebook to come out of the gates strong in 2015 with the buy-button being released to the the first half, and then to Canada and the UK in the latter half of the year. This will be welcomed with open arms as Facebook business pages look to recover after Facebook’s 2014 update to News Feed which dramatically reduced page abilities to push promotions on users and their banning of the practice that allowed pages to incentivize page and post “likes”. If your business offering is appropriate to this impending online sales tool you can prepare for the widespread arrival of the buy-button by trying your hand as a Facebook advertiser here, just to get a feel for the platform.

2.  Instagram Will Absolutely Rule for Brands in 2015

From a user-perspective Instagram already ruled 2014, surpassing Twitter by reaching over 300 million monthly active users. They will at least add another 50 to 100 million by the end of the annum. Even better (for brands), is that Instagram has oh-so carefully integrated advertising into their platform, without being too obtrusive to the user experience. They started by opening up sponsored posts in the U.S. on a larger scale at the start of 2014 and then allowed the same in Canada at the end of the year. In addition, their late 2014 release of video ads thus far allows only carefully controlled snippets from brands that the Instagramming public is actually interested in hearing (viewing) from. Advertising has not waned Instagram user interest at all, no matter how many hipsters cry. As of this year, when you walk into a coffee shop, board transit, or wait in any lobby the chances are good that all heads pointed down and facing smartphone screens are scrolling through Instragram feeds. Make sure that your business is represented (through organic and promoted posts) on there accordingly if you hope to get the attention of your social consumers in 2015.

3. Twitter Will Descend into Runner-Up Status

Twitter is dead may have been a more eye-catching title but it’s not true, at all. However, things are slowing down in Twitter-ville and you can expect 2015 to continue along the path from a daily/monthly active user perspective. While they too are likely to make their buy-button mainstream in 2015, their minimalist platform which once made them so popular may now work against them as highly visual social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and even Tumblr are enjoying a definite hey-day. In hindsight, Twitter never should have cut Instagram out of its platform, and their purchase of Vine has resulted in only a quiet success, very quiet. If Twitter expects to have a strong 2015 they need to make a wise acquisition and add more user-focused improvements. They have made some strong moves to improve promotional opportunities for brands, but without continued growth of a highly engaged audience these promotional opportunities may go wasted. Should your business scale back on Twitter efforts? If you already have a large and highly engaged following (followers are actually ReTweeting your content) then no, maintain a strong focus on Twitter. However, if you’re using 2015 to truly build-up your social media presence for the first time, and online marketing resources are limited, then you should focus on Facebook advertising, Instagram, Pinterest (for retailers), LinkedIn (for B2Bs), and Google+ (because it impacts search) before Twitter.

4. Tumblr Will be Embraced by on a Grand Scale by Mainstream Businesses

While 2014 was Instagram’s year in the limelight, Tumblr silently claimed victory as the world’s fastest growing social network logging in 420 million users by the end of the year! That’s huge. Factor in the fact that Tumblr has some very loose policies regarding content and advertising, businesses will take everything they’ve heard about this massively growing user-base and beginning dedicating resources (hours and marketing spend) to promoting themselves on Tumblr. They (and you) will be wise to join the creative likes of Denny’s, and do so.

5. There Will Be No “New Facebook” this Year, So Ignore Anyone that Tells You Otherwise

Remember a few months ago when either someone on your staff, a business partner, friend, or your mom told you about the “new Facebook” named Ello? Many Facebook-haters swore up and down that this great new channel would take down Facebook and open up the way for advertising-free social networking. Well, Ello was a dud before it was even announced. So was a few years before it. So will be any other social network to be announced as the answer to Facebook in 2015. There’s no room for entry at the moment so say goodbye to Ello and ignore the advice of anyone suggesting that your business jump ship to some brand new and trending social network in the year ahead.

Contact me at your leisure to discuss the above further and to inquire about managing your business’ social media presence for 2015.

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