2014 was a prolific and interesting year for digital marketers, with social media hits reached unprecedented heights. From selfies (and group selfies) going viral to campaigns like the #IceBucketChallenge and #BringBackOurGirls, and of course the #Bendgate hullabaloo – there were a lot of examples which marketers can learn from.
Looking back and analyzing the big events in social media last year, we can see some trends that will be big this year.
If you’re looking to make a splash in 2015, here are some essential social media trends for brands.
More emphasis on customer service
The use of social media as a customer service channel was one of the trends in 2014, but it will be even bigger this year, given that people have turned to voicing out their concerns on Twitter and Facebook (mainly) a lot.
Brands will need to have a clearer and more efficient structure to deal with customer complaints on social media. It is thus important to monitor your brand on social media, know what is being said about your brand, and identify customer complaints, as well as expressions of satisfaction. Else, your responses won’t be fast enough to give you that edge over your competitors.
Agile marketing is based on the concept of agile development, which follows the basic tenet of responding to change quickly in the course of following an overall plan.
When applied to marketing, this idea translates to being able to quickly respond to mentions of your brand as well as events which you may be able to capitalize on. Take Kitkat’s quick tweet about #Bendgate, which earned them tens of thousands of retweets and favorites.
— KITKAT (@KITKAT) September 24, 2014
The rise of niche social media platforms
While social networking is the main online activity for a large number of Internet users, social media fatigue is affecting more people. One reason is that there is just too much information coming in via general platforms; hence the increasing popularity of niche social platforms.
In order to keep up, brands need to find the niche social platform where they fit it and invest in that platform on top of the usual suspects.
Mobile-first mentality, as opposed to mobile-aware mentality
The mobile-friendly mentality has been emphasized in the past couple of years, but this year, it will not be enough. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that as of 2013, 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online and 34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones. Imagine how much higher those numbers are today, with smartphones and tablets more accessible.
As such, brands will have to think of mobile first, as opposed to merely being mobile-friendly. Websites and blogs have to be designed so that social media sharing will be easy. Additionally, creating highly shareable content – in terms of visuals, especially – will be of paramount importance.
“Pay to play” environment
This year, it’s time to veer away from the free mentality. Facebook’s ads system has already affected organic reach drastically, and unless you pay for ads, your social media marketing efforts (at least via this platform) will sorely suffer. Other networks are on a similar path.
With the plethora of content being posted on social media, how can you elbow your way into being noticed and being simply part of the noise? Be ready to pay.
Back to you
These are some of the essential social media trends for brands this year, but there more to look out for. You may also have your own observations. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.