4 social media marketing trends to watch out for in 2015

in the world of digital, and more specifically, social media marketing. We can’t predict the future, but we can give you a good idea of the changes that are likely to happen this year.
1. Social networks make it easier to sell your stuff
Earlier in the year Facebook and Twitter did some experimentation with “buy” buttons on certain posts and tweets, which means you could have customers buying products without even having to leave their feed. This means less clicks before someone is in a position where they can buy your product. It also opens the door for time-sensitive deals that play off a piece of breaking news, or other trends happening in real-time.
For a lot of businesses this is good news, but it could also changes the way people perceive social media. What was once a way to interact with brands and get to know them, could soon become a minefield of special offers and other unwanted products. How the general public will react is still unclear, but it’s almost inevitable that social media will soon be another sales channel for businesses.
2. Niche networks could take a bite out of Facebook’s business
The big names of the social media world won’t be going anywhere in the near future, but is there still room for new contenders?
If they’re trying to be the next Facebook – probably not. If they want to go after a smaller segment of the population who are interested in sandboarding, hiking at the weekend, and other niche pursuits – the outlook is significantly better.
Most businesses know that they can’t appeal to everyone, which is what makes market research so useful. The trouble with social networks like Facebook is that they really do appeal to everyone. Targeted advertising is one solution, but it isn’t always accurate and it can cost a lot of money. Niche networks might mean you have to manage more social media accounts, but it could also means it’s easier to reach your specific target market – who are much more likely to interact with the community and buy products that solve their problems.
3. More aggressive advertising
2014 was the year of Snapchat’s first ad, video ads on Instagram, auto-play video ads on Facebook and a greater variety of Twitter cards, as pointed out by emarsys. Just like any other business, social networks need to make money to keep going, which means we are probably going to see more aggressive advertising integrated across various social networks.
Up until this point, there have been attempts to monetize content in other ways – like paid tweets and posts – but advertising has always been the lifeblood of social networks. This might not be the best news for users, but it opens up a lot of new ways to reach customers. Instead of trying to grab their attention with sponsored content and “sneaky” approaches, you can reach them through content they actually want.
4. One phone to rule them all
Mobile was huge in 2014, and it seems there is nothing to stop that trend from continuing in 2015. According to PewResearch, as of January 2014, fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone, and 28% do so on a typical day.
Because phones tend to go wherever their owners do, it means there are plenty of opportunities for businesses willing to embrace the right technology – namely geofencing and geotargeting. Offering customers a special coupon as they come in the door of your store is likely to have a much bigger impact than sending it to them a week in advance using email.
That’s what makes mobile so powerful – context. You can send an email that moans about the morning commute and know there will be people reading it who can relate. Or you can offer people a discount on coffee for one hour only in the afternoon – a time when many people are reaching for a little pick-me-up.
Social media marketing is always evolving, but when you know the general direction of the trends you’re in a better position to take advantage of them.
Lead image via Flickr