by Pedro Rodriguez Suarez, UFSocial Contributor
What will happen next? That’s the big question any business or industry wants the answer to. Social media is no exception—in fact, it has proved to be a game changer on how brands relate to their current customers and the way they reach their potential ones.
Just looking at a few figures is possible to get the size of the impact social media will have in the future: According to data published by the analysis company Statista, by 2018 social media users will account for at least 2.44 billion people; that’s almost a third of the world’s total population if we follow the projections made by the United Nations.
Additionally, after surveying more 160.000 internet users worldwide, GlobalWebIndex found that, during 2014, those people dedicated at least 1.72 hours per day to social networks, that’s a 6.2% increase if compared to 2013.
So, social media is not only reaching more people but users are also spending more and more time on it. Understanding what will happen in the future with social should help businesses to hone their strategies and keep winning benefits.
Key trends to follow
1. The influence of wearable devices
For Larry Alton, a business consultant and a blogger for the Huffington Post, wearable devices are “the next inevitable game-changer in the tech world”. On one of his posts, he declares this kind of devices “will have a significant effect on the scope of social media and how businesses use it to interact with their consumers.” Proximity-based features should, for example, have the power to drive up interactions by delivering key content to potential customers as soon as they enter a store. “Through the help of an app or an awareness campaign, you can lend special offers to wearable technology users”, he claims.
2. Multiangle and real live coverage
Reputation management will be more more challenging thanks to the influence social media apps like Periscope will gain in the future. Everyday gets easier for one or multiple persons to stream a live video feed directly from their phones. Cory Bergman, co-founder of BreakingNews, said to CNBC that “when news breaks in the future, it will be covered by a multitude of eyewitnesses streaming live video. These streams will knit together into a single immersive video, enabling the viewer to virtually experience the event in real time”.
3. Video will continue to be the preferred format
Ryan Holmes, a journalist for Fast Company, reported recently that “70% of companies now say video is the most effective tool in their online marketing belts, and two out of three businesses expect it to dominate their strategy going forward”. For Holmes the strongest argument to support his claim its based on how services like Facebook doubled its video views less than a year; 8 billion average daily video views registered Facebook by the end of September 2015.
4. Inmersive technologies
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Oculus, a Facebook-owned company, unveiled the price and shipment date for the Rift; a gadget that promises to deliver a new virtual reality experience. Other businesses understand this type of technologies will influence the ways of living and interacting online. Microsoft, for example is already testing the Hololens, “the first fully untethered, holographic computer, enabling high-definition holograms to integrate with your world”, the company claims. Imagine shrinking or enlarging a simulated object placed right on top of your desk. See below a video with more details and think on its possibilities:
5. Businesses will get smarter using social media
According to Simon Kingsnorth, a digital marketing director for the consulting firm Kogan Page, “no longer shouting about their greatness, they will develop strong content strategies and have unique strategies for each social channel, only operating on the channels that are relevant”. This may sound a little obvious at first, but in fact the usage is now so widespread, people will demand more creative and engaging content. Businesses and news outlets will have to keep preparing and innovate on how stories are presented to audiences.
What do you think? Can you think on other trends impacting social media in the future? Leave your comments below.