If you’re a blogger or business owner (or just someone with a particular interest in social media) this is one for you. A while ago now ~taken me foreverrr to get round to writing this~ I went along to a conference called ‘Social Media Week’. It’s essentially a week where industry professionals prepare talks for you to attend, telling you all about their insights into social media and what they think you should be doing going forward. It’s easy to become very negative about the online world (I spoke about how I overcome this in a recent post here) and it is so good to take a break as it can become addictive. But equally, social media is a huge part of the future, in so many more ways than most people even think about and being a part of it can also be positive, interesting and it can be the best marketing tool – if you come at it from the right angle! Working in social media and having heard from some of the best brains in the biz I thought I’d do a quick summary on some of the key things coming up in the world of social media.
1.Video, video, video – It’s already all over Facebook but expect it to be used a lot more on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest too. And even more so, live video. I’m not saying I think live video on Facebook is going to suddenly take off – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use it! But keep in mind that Facebook own Instagram now which means anything can happen! People have short attention spans so creating short snappy video is key (can you even remember a time before Instagram Stories?! And that was only launched a year ago..) Adapting is key to success so keep up to date with popular content. For example all we use Facebook for now is tagging our friends in funny memes, Gifs and watching short videos. If you’re using the platform ensure you fit into this. If you’re a blogger who doesn’t use video much (me) this is where it’s heading so get on Youtube, start creating short video content and think about how you can incorporate popular content into your own.
2. Facebook will continue to piss off the whole of the Instagram (mainly blogging) community with the Instagram algorithm. Sorry I don’t have any big reveal or secret insight into this one. Despite Facebook doing a talk at the conference they tend to push for paid content and keep everything else under wraps. If you have a business account on Instagram keep an eye on the ‘Insights’ as you never know when they will decide they aren’t going to show your posts to anyone until you promote them. (If you’re a business owner sponsoring posts really does work, just do some AB tests with small amounts first.) All I can say I’ve learnt about tackling the algorithm is; engage before and after posting, mix up your hashtags and post no more than twice a day to avoid engagement being split too much.
3. Social Commerce – Brands are beginning to incorporate purchasing on their social platforms – this will probably start to pop up more next year. However currently, all purchasing is always done on the final e-commerce site rather than on social channels so essentially this is just bridging the gap between the two. Easier for consumers, something for brands to think about and no doubt something influencers will be promoting soon.
4. Augmented reality– I’m talking those Snapchat filters. They’re developing as we speak and will continue to progress. Who doesn’t love a filter? I couldn’t tell you where this is going but it is going somewhere! More tech savvy and responsive than ever these will get better and better next year. Personalisation is key going forward so if I had to hazard a guess I would say they will become more and more personalisable.
5. Chatbots – For those unsure these are robots used to answer consumers questions in order to be more efficient than training real people. They are programmed to have personalities similar to Siri and able to answer (almost) any question you throw at them. Already in use over on Facebook Messenger by businesses they will continue to develop – don’t worry Artificial Intelligence isn’t taking over any time soon (but it’s getting a bit freaky what they can do!) Something to consider looking into if you own a business.
6. Snapchat or should I say ‘Snap’ as it’s now rebranded, is making a comeback. If anyone else has completely dropped Snapchat like me since Instagram stories, it’s time to re-download. With new features to directly compete with Instastories, make sure you’re on there when it all kicks off.
7. More options than just ‘liking’ something. People want more emotion. Already a feature on Facebook, expect it to come to an Instagram near you soon.
8. Attention spans are forever getting shorter. Capturing attention is harder than ever. Expect (or create) new innovative content. With more and more businesses and bloggers around, standard of content is getting higher and higher; a quick snap of a product or OOTD isn’t enough anymore!
9. Instagram are currently testing 4 columns instead of 3. You may see your feed switching back and forth until they decide on an outcome. Not much of a game changer (and personally think the images will be too small on the feed) but if you have a profile with a theme based on 3 columns- you might want to rethink!
10. ‘Influencers’ aren’t going anywhere. For anyone who seems to think that influencer market is dead, it isn’t. They are key for businesses, they’re a fundamental part of building awareness and growing brands. However as it stands ROI isn’t measurable so thinking outside the box is more necessary than ever. Careful evaluation and selection processes will help reap the best rewards of influencer marketing.