Are you prepared for what social media has in store for the future?

Social media is constantly evolving and it’s exciting to think about what it will look like in just a few years time. Of course, this means that the world of Social Media Monitoring has to keep up with the demands of social media users as brands continue to modify their strategies once new trends emerge. So what will the future of social media look like from a user, brand, and Social Media Monitoring perspective? Let’s take a look at the many possible trends we could be seeing as soon as next year…

What will social media look like?

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1. More privacy and security:

In the current climate of social media, it’s more important than ever for brands to find and implement methods of building consumer trust. This begins with how they connect with audiences. Privacy concerns are on the rise as social media users are becoming much more aware of how their data is being used. Because of this, the future of social media will see an increase in users opting for what’s known as “Dark Social”. This involves any online social interaction that happens privately, for example, messaging apps, email, and other outlets for private sharing. In fact, 84% of consumers’ outbound sharing from websites now occurs via private, Dark Social channels such as these, and we will expect to see this increase in the next few years.

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2. More video:

It’s no secret that video consumption via social media is on the rise. It’s estimated that people look at videos 5 times longer than static content, such as text and images, on both Facebook and Instagram. Because of this, it’s almost guaranteed that we will see even more videos all over social media in the future, including live videos, which have gained a great deal of popularity in recent years.

3. Less personal content, but more memes:

Facebook claims that they recorded a 21% drop in original, personal updates in 2016 as users are now communicating in shared articles and memes alone. Social media users, in general, are sharing less personal information on major networks and prefer to showcase external content such as an interesting video or a funny meme they came across to their friends.

4. Premium services and fewer ads:

Ads have been the plague of social media for a long time now and social media users are starting to get fed up. However, many people have been willing to sacrifice adless experiences for free, ad-saturated ones. Premium services could be on the rise as social media users tend to prefer high-quality images, videos, and audio as that is what they have become accustomed to in recent years. But only time will tell if they are willing to spend money on it.

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5. Mobile-focused experiences:

The future of social media is mobile. An estimated 3 billion people will have access to mobile phones by 2020. Additionally, more and more people are using their smartphones as their main source for accessing social platforms. That’s why future platforms will be designed with smartphones in mind from the start.

6. Less typing:

According to Andrew Ng, the Chief Scientist at Baidu, at least 50% of online searches will be carried out through image and voice by 2020. With the ever-increasing popularity of voice and image search as well as audio snippet messages, social media could see the act of typing become obsolete in the future.

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7. More visuals:

With the popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, we are already starting to see a massive increase in visual-based content. Because camera access is so much easier now than it was a few years ago, as virtually every phone has a built-in camera, photos and videos will continue to saturate social media. Jay Singh, CEO of PHL Venture Company notes the importance of the camera:

“We continue to see a shift toward live content that is composed through a camera. The camera keeps growing in importance and the ability to see through other people’s lenses in real time is becoming a powerful force in social media.”

7. A.R. and V.R.’s influence has only just begun:

In the next couple of years, the world of marketing will introduce more practical applications of Virtual Reality (V.R.) and Augmented Reality (A.R.). The same will apply to social media platforms. According to Hootsuite, social messaging apps Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Bitmoji, WeChat, and QQ will use A.R. to boost advertising revenue in the near future. Technology is one of the fastest growing industries around today, and A.R. and V.R. are no exception.

How will brands adapt to the future of social media?

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1. Knowing their audience:

Rather than bombarding them with ads, which continues to frustrate many social media users, brands must connect with their audiences on a more meaningful level by treating them like individuals rather than a mass source of revenue. Consumers are consequently more likely to trust that brand once that method of communication is established. And the more brands know about their audience, the easier it is for them to target their messaging to each segment.

2. Making shareable content:

Since social media users are starting to shy away from sharing personal updates publicly online and opting to share content they find online with their friends instead, brands need to provide that content for them. Whether that’s a heartwarming story or a funny video, brands need to move their audience in some way so that they engage with their brand as well as encourage them to share that content with their friends.

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3. Embracing visual and technology:

It’s clear that the future of social media will predominantly be made up of images and videos, so brands really need to hop on that bandwagon if they are going to keep up. A.R. and V.R. are fast becoming a vital part of many marketing campaigns, so brands also need to look at ways to incorporate these technologies into their marketing campaigns.

How will Social Media Monitoring be affected?

Due to the fact that privacy and security among social media users are holding a lot more weight in the current climate, Social Media Monitoring and Social Listening will, of course, be affected as users modify their privacy settings. It’s so important for brands and Social Media Monitoring companies to take users’ concerns seriously and do everything they can to ensure that they feel protected and that their trust won’t be violated or exploited.

Social Media Monitoring will also need to take visual mentions very seriously. When it comes to brand logos within shared images and videos, brands need a way to monitor and measure that data, as well as the textual mentions of that brand. That is why a logo detection tool is vital for Social Media Monitoring companies to provide to their customers. To find out more about logo detection technology, for Social Media Monitoring, click here.

So, there you have it. These are just some of the social media trends we will expect to see within the next few years. It’s clear that social media will be undergoing some changes, but for the most part, many of these trends have been predicted as we’ve been seeing them unfold in real time. So, what do you think the future of social media will have in store? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. We’d love to hear your thoughts!