Top 3 Upcoming Social Media Trends

Social Media Trends as heard at the Mashable + General Assembly Social Media Day

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We know that the social sphere is ever-changing, and as social media marketers we are constantly endeavouring to stay on top of new technology, launches and upcoming trends. But is every new trend worth engaging with? Are all new social media trends necessarily good ones? It’s important to know the value of something new before jumping on the bandwagon. Whilst I was at the Mashable + General Assembly Social Media Day, Tom Walter from Tumblr, outlined 3 steps to measuring ‘good social media trends’.

 

  • It has Marketing Fundamentals

Marketing fundamentals are all still the same, no matter what technology or platform we are utilising. So you need to ask yourself – is this trend going to deliver the business outcomes I am after?

  • It is backed by consumer insights

Ever really thought about why Snapchat is so popular? It is propelled by the fact that consumers are looking for authenticity and real engagement. So before throwing money into that new trend, think about whether it taps into something universal or an insight from your target demographic.

  • It is accessible

No matter how astonishing the technology or idea is, it needs to be user friendly and easily accessible. The less effort the better. PokemonGo’s overnight success can be attributed partly to this step – a straight-forward downloadable app that you can sync with your daily happenings.

 

So before putting budget behind one of the million, trillion new social trends coming out, it is best to analyse which one is worthwhile for your brand and not going to be just a ‘fad’ with no ROI.

 

Still unsure which trends are going to take-off? These are the top 3 upcoming social trends that we know are here to stay.

 

Virtual Reality

 

Brace yourself, VR is coming. As marketers, we need to get past the spectacle of Virtual Reality and start embracing this social media trend. The barriers to entry are rapidly decreasing and the possibilities are endless so if brands don’t begin to dive in, they will be left behind. The intent behind VR is to drop consumers into a completely new reality so it’s important to step away from comfort zones. Everyday life is mundane – don’t replicate it! VR needs to illustrate a new point of view, a new experience or a far-fetched situation to really work.

 

In 2014 Facebook purchased Oculus, a VR company, and has already implemented some of its technology into its 360 video. We can only expect more as brands begin to utilise the technology opening up new brand experiences to consumers.

 

Check out the collaboration between Lockheed Martin, McCann and Framestore who transformed a school bus ride into a trip to Mars to promote Generation Beyond; a national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math educational program

 

Artificial Intelligence

 

AI or more specifically Bots, have the opportunity for mass distribution and combined with Messenger, who now has 1 billion active users and currently has three times the amount of conversations as SMS, it becomes a very attractive opportunity for brands. At present, AI is not as advanced as it could be – it currently uses a retrieval based system so it is not forward thinking or overly intelligent. ASOS recently experience a Bot Fail with robotic responses being mocked by customers.

 

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Although we are not there yet, Future AI technology promises machine learning based on exposure to conversation and experience. And with the reach that Messenger offers, bots offer brands an inexpensive, scalable option to time-saving community management and audience engagement.

 

Video Content (Snapchat)

 

It comes as no surprise that Snapchat is currently hitting 10 billion views a day with growth of 74%. Consumers have eagerly adopted the app, whilst many brands are still struggling to develop a strategy. Fundamentally, for a brand to engage with its consumers on Snapchat, it needs to be adding some value or added insight. This can be in the form of useful native content, entertainment, authentic behind the scenes, exclusive deals or even an inside joke that allows your community to feel like they belong to your brand. Whatever it is, Snapchat can no longer be an afterthought but an integral part of your social media strategy. It needs to be seen as a stand-alone platform, different to any other because unlike Instagram you don’t necessarily need to put your best foot forward. Instead brands need to be raw, authentic and communicate real insight into their world.

 

And the Snapchat possibilities for brands are only going to escalate! They recently filed a patent for a system of advertising that uses object identification in photos to automatically deliver appropriate or sponsored filters. This will allow brands to connect with an audience who are already engaging with similar products or situations. Video content is becoming engrained in the way people interact, so it is important to start engaging with Snapchat now so that once these new opportunities become available, brands are prepared with an already engaged audience.

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