For the past few years, there has been a great deal of debate over whether social media marketing is of great value to businesses or a complete waste of time. What is clear is that when brands do it the right way, it is never the latter.
Social media has the potential to drive results and put you in front of huge online audiences, and the fact that brands upped their paid media investment by twice the amount in 2014 shows that they certainly understood its potential. In December 2014, Business Insider predicted that US social media ad spend will reach nearly $14 billion in 2018, up from just $6.1 billion in 2013.
What can we expect to see from social media marketing in 2015 then, besides from the obvious increase in spending?
Here are a few likely scenarios:
Video becomes an essential part of businesses social media strategy
Businesses (and smaller businesses in particular) often shy away from video because they see it as an expensive medium with huge scope for embarrassment and failure, especially when Mike from Accounts is asked to break out his acting skills and Doris from HR is given directing duties.
Jokes aside, video marketing doesn’t have to be done in-house, doesn’t have to be expensive, and doesn’t have to be cheesy. You can hand your video marketing over to a creative agency and create something that tells your story in a different way to talking heads and the boring, been-there-done-that style. Video can talk in the voice of your brand, be social and inventive without acting like a sales pitch. The growth in YoutTube and videos appearing in both social media timelines and search results makes the use of video even more appealing as part of a marketing strategy.
Expect more businesses to create short, personal and attractive videos to promote their products, services, and values via YouTube, Facebook and their websites in 2015.
A stripped-back approach to social media
The less-is-more approach to social media is likely to become commonplace in 2015, as 2014 saw an overload of self-promotion, cat pictures, and funny Vines taking place of good old-fashioned interaction and relevance. Expect to see many brands holding back and publishing less in the coming months, concentrating on building customer interaction. A better understanding of social strategy and businesses starting to align social goals more effectively with marketing plans. Businesses are more likely to put more advertising cash behind their goal-orientated posts, ensuring that they have the maximum reach when they publish.
A stronger focus on storytelling
Whether it is achieved via your blog, video, or Instagram pics, expect brands that use social media marketing to focus more on storytelling in 2015. This doesn’t mean the story of the business – people have been doing that for years – but the stories of the people who work there, and the people you are working for.
Customers want to feel an emotional connection to brands, and what better way to achieve that than to focus less on selling and more on selling themselves as real people with strong beliefs, a vision, and, above all, a personality. Whether this is charity and community work or simply a bit of fun, storytelling will play a big part in social media marketing this year.
Mobile marketing keeps businesses open 24/7
Smartphones and mobile technology is improving and increasing all of the time, and more and more businesses are using mobile marketing to further their reach. It has been predicted that as much as 75% of social media marketing will be consumed by mobiles in 2015, so it pays to ensure that your social media content is built for the small screen as much as a desktop. Also, with every man, woman, and toddler having access to a smartphone these days, it means that any business with social media accounts is now open 24/7, so you are going to have to consider manning these platforms to account for the wider audience that can reach your content. This means having Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking apps on your phone, and keeping tabs with all of that activity.
If your website is not already responsive then it should be an important consideration. With mobile search seeing exceptional growth, those with websites that offer a great user experience will be the ones that are the winners in 2015. Users’ expectations for mobile web experience have increased so showing a desktop version of a site to a mobile visitor is no longer acceptable. If your site is not easy to navigate and not mobile-friendly then expect to lose visitors quickly, impacting enquiries and return visits. There are a number of important factors for mobile search visibility including file size, page load time, length of content, and technical set up.
What exciting new developments are you expecting to see from social media marketing in 2015? Let us know your predictions.