The evolution of Social Media has continued its fast growth spirts and constant change. In 2016, expect more growth, change, and large channels lasting.
1. In-the-moment updates
The Instagram platform made it so easy for pictures to be seen on a social platform moments after they were taken. The platform Periscope allows you to broadcast live video. Users will not have to take the time to upload their content later and then view it on social media.
Snapchat also supports on-the-go, in-the-moment updates as opposed to late-game retrospectives, and could collectively herald in a new era of immediacy in social media.
What could this mean for you? If you schedule your Twitter posts to go out, that could be a thing of the past.
2. Buy buttons
Twitter’s buy button went live recently. Pinterest has a buy button. Facebook is talking about developing one.
Instagram isn’t far behind on the trend, and I imagine more social platforms will follow. By the end of 2016, most major social media brands will feature some kind of buy button naturally as an element of their advertising campaigns.
3. Apps that do everything
Facebook has been the leader in adding new functionality. Over the past year, they’ve introduced Instant Articles (a new form of publishing), an in-post search engine (to find articles you’re referencing), and videos that play instantly when scrolling. Now, they’re developing their own digital assistant (though it’s technically a digital/human hybrid assistant).
The other platforms are doing similar work so that users will never have to leave their app.
What could this mean for you? You might have to create content to address new functionalities on each of the big platforms where your audience spends time. You’ll also really need to know which social platform to put your energy into.
4. New publication options
You can publish articles on Facebook now without linking to an external source. You’ve been able to do the same thing on LinkedIn for a while now.
As social platforms become more competitive and more aggressive about keeping users in-app for as long as possible, I imagine they’ll dream up even more sophisticated forms of publishing for businesses and organizations. Twitter’s upcoming Project Lightning puts publication in the hands of its users, but it still represents a dynamic way to present material to the public.
What does this mean for you? You might start publishing your articles on a lot of different social media platforms to reach different customers.
5. User privacy concerns will skyrocket
There have been some pretty high profile security breaches this year. Ashley Madison, anyone? Snapchat’s popularity is partly attributed to people’s desire to have their messages be private and short-lived.
Facebook is introducing more privacy awareness tools for its users, and it’s smart to do so, because as competition becomes tenser, only platforms which offer a degree of privacy and security will continue to thrive.
What does this mean for you? For advertisers, that might mean backing off of sometimes-intrusive forms of advertising.”
6. Less organic reach
We’ve already seen Facebook decrease organic reach a lot. This necessitates that brands buy ads. No free lunch, anymore. This trend is only going to intensify both on Facebook and other social media platforms.
The cost of advertising, too, is set to rise over the course of the next year.
What does this mean for you? Maybe you’ll need to put more money into your social media efforts.
7. Fewer small platforms
Over the last several years, we’ve seen at least a few dozen new social media platforms rise up and either disappear out of existence just as quickly or settle in as a middle-of-the-road platform that never gets more attention but never really becomes extinct.
Expect in the next year, that because the big platforms are so well established, there is less room in the marketplace for new platforms. The big players will buy up the small platforms very quickly.
What does this mean for you? You’ll have to worry about fewer up-and-coming opportunities. This also means that there won’t be as many chances to get in on the ground floor of a platform, which means that you’ll instead need to hope you have a solid foundation on the big platforms.