“Increasingly businesses, even small businesses are discovering the power and impact provided by Social Media, explained Chris Cathers, owner of Evolution Business Media Group (EBMG), a Nanaimo-based advertising agency. “It essentially costs business owners nothing but their time, but it can pay real dividends in that they get to tell their own story, in their own words, to an audience that potentially can reach around the world.
A recent survey of Internet usage has shown that as much one quarter of the world’s population currently uses social media in some form or other. In other words nearly 1.8 billion people are online updating their status and posting pictures of their puppies. This same survey indicated that each minute 4.7 million posts are uploaded to Tumblr; 277,000 snaps are shared on Snapchat; and more than five million videos are viewed on YouTube. For business this is a potential audience unparalleled in the history of marketing and communication. Due to its dynamic nature social media marketing itself is changing as rapidly as it has changed the way people and business communicates. Thanks to this rapid evolution here are some trends experts say online users can expect to see and/or experience in 2015.
“One of the keys to successful Social Media Marketing is persistence, meaning you don’t post a couple of items on Facebook today and then ignore it for a month. It’s very important to maintain your social media presence on an ongoing basis,” Cathers said. “It can sometimes be useful to have one designated person in the company serve the role of social media editor, but the way company’s handle this task is as varied as the companies themselves.”
Newer Platforms: While the big four social media websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, continue to dominate the virtual landscape their grip is slowly starting to loosen. More and more Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are attracting larger and larger audiences. Up and comers, websites devoted to niche users including Vine for micro video clips and Snapchat for photo uploads for example are also carving out their own swelling share of the audience attention. Doomsayers are also predicting that plodding late comers such as Google + is on the way out and may expire for good during the coming year.
Video Is King: The online audience of 2015 is going to more impressed with photos than they are text. Taking that thought to the next level, those same viewers are going to be more enthused about full motion streaming video than they are still photos. The writing is on the Internet wall, video is king and YouTube is not the only place to showcase those epic (and not so epic) video segments. In 2015 it is expected that there will be greater emphasis on video created specifically for social media sites such as Facebook, rather than clips linked back to YouTube. Online Gurus also expect to see Instagram and its video component become increasingly important in the coming months. By some estimates Instagram has more than 200 million users per month, quickly making it the image-based website of choice.
Online Diversity: If you and your company have a message to share don’t restrict it to one or two websites. Research produced by GlobalWebIndex indicated that as of last year 92 per cent of internet users aged 16-64 said that they had an account on at least one of the 40 distinct social networks. People don’t just limit themselves to one platform, though; on average, online adults now have accounts on 5.07 networks (rising to 5.9 among 16-24s). A central part of the success of any upcoming social media marketing campaign is to not put all of your energies or efforts into one or two virtual baskets. Explore the social media world, discover the sites that best support your message and join them. You don’t have to reach all 1.8 billion users, just the ones interested in what you have to say.
“Most of the businesses we deal with want to demonstrate their expertise, to prove that they are an expert, and the way to do that is by producing content,” explained Chris Burge, social media expert and organizer of the annual Social Media Camp. “Whether that content is in written form in a blog post, photography or a lot of content gets created now in a video format. It’s really the process of telling the story of your business.”
Quality Content: Even the most diverse portfolio of online venues serves no real purpose if you have nothing to say. Today’s users are savvier and more in tune than ever. Quality, timely, information-rich content is the key to attracting attention, and ultimately sales. Quality content can be viewed typically as well written copy or well produced videos that serve as showcases for professionalism, knowledge of subject and audience relevance. Content that is effective has to be material that enhances the experience of the user in some way. Content also has to be fresh and changing to continue to attract attention and an expanding audience. A neglected social media presence probably does more harm than good. If committed to social media marketing, establish your pages and provide updated content on a regular basis.
The list of social media trends is as endless and diverse as the Internet itself. Users are encouraged to do research, find the venues that interest them (and which are appropriate for marketing their business) and then dive in. You are the expert on what you do, and on what you know, so don’t be afraid to tell the world about it. Don’t let fear make you miss out on one of the most important marketing tools ever developed.