Looking Into the Crystal Ball for 2015
I have seen the future, and there are changes coming. Okay, I haven’t really seen the future, but that doesn’t mean that changes aren’t coming anyway. After all, companies do make announcements about things, and there are more than a few people out there who live and breathe social media enough that they keep their finger pretty solidly on its pulse. The biggest change will likely be your need to increase your budget for social media marketing, but I’m saving that for a separate post, coming soon. Because I like to tease.
Like, Share, Buy
Possibly one of the biggest shakeups in the social media space will come in the form of purchasing products directly through Facebook, Twitter, and possibly more networks. Both of these have been testing a “buy” button for months now, and the expectation is that we will begin to see them rolled out to everyone very soon.
This is huge for businesses, because in addition to being fed advertising while they’re on their feeds, users will be able to purchase a product or service through those adverts without ever having to leave the network. No more being redirected to a landing page or website in order to make a purchase. This will put social networks in direct competition with mass retailers like Amazon, but may also appear to negatively affect the traffic driven to your site. But a sale is a sale, right?
If the experiment goes well, it’s also expected that at least Facebook will try to move into the digital wallet and payment space, competing with current powerhouses such as Paypal and Apple Pay. No guarantees on any of this happening or going over well, but it’s definitely something to be aware of as you plan your marketing for the year.
Finally, I haven’t seen this anywhere, but I’d be shocked if the “buy” feature goes well and Pinterest doesn’t get in on the game. Pinterest is already set up to be essentially an online mall like Amazon, so a move such as this could mean huge things for the network.
With the rise of wearable tech and the dominance of smartphones, the push into mobile will be unstoppable in the coming year. There’s nothing new here really, except that the pace should pick up quite a bit and before we know it desktops and laptops will be dinosaurs that only businesses and “old folks” use much.
Consider how far smartphones have come in the past few years, and add to that people regularly wearing Glass, Galaxy Gear, or whichever brand floats your boat on a daily basis. Constant connection is the goal. This will allow marketers to send targeted ads to consumers throughout the day with pinpoint precision. Pass a restaurant, suddenly get a coupon or ad for it on your phone (or in your vision if you’re wearing Glass).
Not only that, but the details about where sales come from will become crystal clear once that is an everyday thing. Right now, Google (or some search engine) gets most of the credit, as people will search, click through, and then buy on a site. When someone buys directly through a targeted ad, you’ll be able to refine your marketing strategy like never before.
LinkedIn will either take off or move backwards this year. With Facebook launching their Facebook for Business platform (couldn’t come up with a better name?), they’ll be competing directly for LinkedIn’s user base, even though there are differences in the two. LinkedIn is aware of this and is already making moves to grow its active base significantly in the coming year. I personally think that the Facebook business experiment will fall flat. Either way, you should get active on LinkedIn if you aren’t already.
On the other side of the coin, it looks as if Google+ is gasping its last breath as a social network. After Vic Gundotra left early last year, all enthusiasm for the platform as it is left with him. Google Authorship is dead, Hangouts are separate, Photos are now separate, and it appears that G+ is being dismantled slowly but surely. You don’t even have to attach a Gmail account to it anymore. Knowing Google, there are probably plans to still utilize the platform, however, so I wouldn’t abandon it. It’s still getting you better search results and more if you’re using it. Just don’t put all of your effort into it.
Finally, I would be surprised if there isn’t a real push for privacy and anonymity, unlike the perceived privacy of the past. The public outcry is pretty loud, and I think the networks are listening hard. Ello, anyone?
All the best for 2015 let it be a wonderful and profitable year!