It’s hard to believe that Facebook was only founded a decade ago. As marketers, it is sometimes hard to remember what our jobs were like before we consulted this pervasive social network on our computers and smart phones frequently. It’s almost like imagining a time before smart phones, and mobile devices haven’t been common for that long either.
Still, social marketing is still evolving. New networks pop up and established ones change. I’d like to make some predictions for the upcoming year, and you can revisit this post in January of 2016 to see how well I did.
1. Facebook Gets More Expensive
No matter how much money and work you put into building your own fan base on Facebook, you have probably noticed that your posts are getting shown to fewer and fewer fans. This is likely to increase the demand for promoted posts and ads, and in turn, this will drive up pricing. Forbes Magazine reported that Facebook advertising prices increased 10 percent between the first quarter of 2014 and 2013, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see another increase.
2. Hello, Ello!
This new social marketing site still only accepts members on an invite-only basis, but they have attracted plenty of attention because they promise to be the anti-Facebook social network. Ello claims that the site will always be free and without advertisements. When asked how the company plans to make money without ads, a spokesperson said that they will eventually offer premium account options at a modest cost. In any case, protection of privacy has been a major complaint about Facebook, so Ello’s concept seems worth watching.
3. Videos and Pictures Will Help Even More
YouTube, the second most popular search engine online, has already proven that Internet users like to watch videos. Also, Instagram, the mini-video and photo-sharing site continues to enjoy tremendous growth. Vine is another contender, but Instagram seems to outpace it. Book publishers might begin concentrating on having trailers made for their products and producing even more video content.
Also, graphics on book covers and websites are likely to matter even more in the future because they can get shared on image-based social sites. Even users of conventional sites find that graphics and videos help draw clicks.
4. Google Authorship Won’t Die
When Google announced that they stopped displaying author photos in their search results, many marketers worried that their investment in Google Plus had become worthless. However, there is still plenty of evidence that Google watches niche contributors and rewards established authors with higher ranks.
5. Social Networking Goes Mobile
Responsive content and websites look good and function well on laptops, smart phones, tablet computers, e-readers, and other devices. Since social networking has become mobile, with many users consulting Facebook, Twitter, and the other sites on their handheld devices, responsive websites, advertising, and content have become even more important. Marketers who can’t deliver content to a variety of devices risk losing their market share to those who can.
How Many Social Networks Can Marketers Use?
For marketers, every social network takes an investment to develop and maintain. Because they are all different, they also each require different tactics. Some authors may do better by only selecting a couple and really focusing on them. The key to social marketing success in 2015 may be deciding which networks to use and learning to use them very well.