21: Paid Media Becomes the Norm
Paid media isn’t going away. In fact, budgeting for paid media will be more important than ever, as it will be more integrated with earned and owned media.
This year, we saw social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram introduce ads to a number of businesses as they strove towards monetization. Next year, we can definitely expect them to make a worldwide rollout.
The use of social media will only continue to rise as the number of people who join these social media channels climbs. We can expect organic reach to continue to decline as the volume of content on these networks increases.
To make up for the decrease in organic reach and to get content across, businesses will need to pay to play or watch their content wash away. Soon the idea of free attention will vanish and paid media will be the norm.
I believe this is a natural progression, since there are only a number of things we can see at any single time.
The increasing competition to get content across will in turn evolve paid media into another level, as businesses try to satisfy consumers’ thirst for good content. Native advertising and sponsored posts garnered a lot attention from businesses this year. We can expect better integration and coherence with its platforms moving forward.
While most people might find this disturbing, I think if paid media continues to evolve, we might just get good actual content.
22: Visual Marketing Explodes on SlideShare
The recent upgrades to SlideShare put it in place to be the hottest social platform in 2015. LinkedIn owns SlideShare.
LinkedIn started delivering solid traffic to blogs in 2014, as well as on-platform publishing. SlideShare will seal the deal as a viable social platform, proving that LinkedIn is no longer just for finding a job.
SlideShare offers an easy way to create an enhanced version of a blog post or repurpose a presentation. Building your visual brand across the web has proven to be a powerful piece of the branding puzzle. A great SlideShare can help showcase your expertise and build thought leadership.
Solid features of the upgraded SlideShare:
- Upload infographics to SlideShare
- Download leads from views of your SlideShares
- Keynote author status for select accounts, offering special features and wider exposure
- Customizable profile page
- Clickable links at the end of the presentation, which direct traffic to your website
- Integration with Haiku Deck, so you can create a presentation directly in SlideShare
A fun way to showcase a SlideShare is to make a GIF of your presentation using GIF Deck. Embedding a SlideShare into your blog post or post published on LinkedIn is a snap with the provided embed codes. You can also add them into your next email blast. And they look great on mobile!
With its versatility, link-building opportunities and lead gathering, it’s hard to deny SlideShare’s value to your content marketing bottom line. Add SlideShare to your content marketing plan and see how it can boost your visual marketing in 2015!
Peg Fitzpatrick, co-author of the upcoming book, The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users and a social media strategist.
23: Social Marketers Become Selective
Social media is becoming increasingly competitive and complex. If it was possible to be a social media expert three years ago, it’s definitely impossible today. And it becomes even worse as we enter 2015.
Specialization is unavoidable. No one can be a Facebook expert, Twitter expert, Instagram expert and Pinterest expert all at once. On top of that, the advertising options offered by each of these platforms are becoming so complex that mastering them requires an enormous amount of testing, experimenting and learning.
You can’t do it all (let alone do it all well), so you’ll have to make choices.
As a consequence, business owners and marketers will have to change the way they approach social media and be much more focused on the things that work for them, while getting rid of the ones that don’t. Will 2015 be the year you’ll delete your Facebook page, remove your Instagram account or stop your Facebook advertising? Maybe.
In order to do that, measure your results on social media to make sure you invest your time well.
Take a step back. List the social media efforts that paid off back in 2014 and the ones that didn’t. Then make some hard decisions, based on what you can measure.
The only way to handle the growing complexity of the social media marketing world is to be selective. And you need the right data to make the right choices.
24: Direct Buying Becomes Mainstream
In 2015, both Twitter and Facebook will introduce the Buy button and we’ll see significant sales happening through these platforms. I don’t imagine that you’ll be buying products for a few hundred dollars, but you will hand over micro-payments. For example, it makes perfect sense for authors launching a book to offer it for sale directly on Twitter and Facebook.
We know that Twitter and Facebook are already testing this out. I think that they both will partner with Stripe to do all the payment processing.
LinkedIn will follow with a similar payment system, but I don’t see this happening until 2016.
As people get used to handing over smaller amounts of money, Facebook will develop a marketplace for products and services in years to come. Why not go shopping with your friends online?
Ian Cleary, founder of RazorSocial.
25: Social Media Marketers Rebrand
The popularity of the search term “content marketing” is gradually catching up with “social media marketing,” and service providers will react by broadening their services and repositioning their brands.
This trend started with SEO companies a few years ago when content marketing emerged as the most sustainable (and safest) way to improve search rankings. But as demand for content marketing services grows, social media marketers will be next to jump on the bandwagon.
Companies looking for content marketing services will need to look deeper into the history of each service provider to learn the legacy and favorite strategies of each. In other words, the branding of marketing companies will converge, but the “flavors” of the providers won’t.
Content marketers with different backgrounds will continue to focus on different channels.
Social media marketing backgrounds drive results through content, connections and micro-targeting through social ads.
PR and communications backgrounds drive results through strategic messaging and high-level outreach.
- Search engine marketing backgrounds drive results through technical on-site fixes and tactical outreach.
But in the end, the demand for social media as a specific service will continue to exceed the demand for content marketing services in 2015.
Andy Crestodina, principal and strategic director at Orbit Media and the author ofContent Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.
26: Businesses Embrace Owned Digital Assets
In 2015, I believe there’ll be a renewed focus on building and growing owned digital assets such as websites, blogs and communities. Social media has offered tremendous content distribution and engagement opportunities over the past few years, but it’s become much more noisy, expensive and difficult to reach your audience. Additionally we don’t own our space or our connections on social networks, and the rules are changing constantly.
To reduce these risks, businesses will seek out alternative avenues for content distribution, such as creative partnering, influencer marketing and niche content-sharing platforms to achieve more targeted visibility and engagement. Also, content curation as an “owned” content strategy becomes more prominent and acceptable.
This will be the year of social media awakening as more businesses realize that owned digital assets build greater long-term value with less risk.
27: Video Creates Engaging Experiences
As humans, we each define a positive experience differently. When we have experiences that go above and beyond expectation, we want to share them and engage our friends and followers. To benefit from this innate behavior, companies need to think through and create world-class shareable experiences for their audience.
Since videos are likely the easiest ways to share a moment, video marketing will take off in 2015 in ways we’ve never seen before.
Video gives us the most context around people, companies and things over any other online medium. Start thinking about video as experiential. This is where 3D glasses and video start to give us the ability to play with video and experience stories, shopping and interactions in new ways. (Remember that Facebook bought a 3D company in 2014.)
It seems like loyalty and its definition have changed overnight. Customers who want different things will expect and deserve a personal experience in 2015. So give them unique, engaging experiences. And use video and creativity to do it.
28: More Apps Support Anonymity
The web has gone back and forth on anonymity. In the early days, everything you did online was anonymous. But that eventually moved to you having to use your real name because of hate messages, bullying and even crimes. If you weren’t going to say what you had to say using your real name, the web decided you probably shouldn’t be saying it at all.
In 2014, anonymous social media apps such as Whisper, Secret, YikYak andFacebook Rooms emerged and gained popularity fairly quickly. Once again, we can air our grievances with little risk of real-life consequences.
That is why a social media trend in 2015 will be anonymous apps.
We want to go back to the days of yore when we could go to a website, enter anonymously and make friends with like-minded people. We want the serendipity of making new friends around the globe, without necessarily knowing any of their demographic information. We want to be able to say what’s on our minds without having the backlash of the social media mob.
Of course, nothing we post online is really anonymous, but these social networks will continue to gain steam, and more will be introduced because we like the veiled privacy of it all.
Thanks for your time. Stay connected…………….