The 5 Biggest Changes in Social Media

2015 will be a year of major change for marketers—especially those focused on social media. Much of what we knew about the space just five—or even two—years ago has pretty much been altered or is downright void today. So, in an effort to keep up with the pace of the social evolution, I’ve highlighted what I feel are the five biggest changes in social attitudes, behaviors, and platforms. Feel free to comment, and tell me some of the changes you’re seeing.

No. 1 Marketers are paying the price—literally.
In social’s fledgling years, we learned that organic content is king; that is, until Facebook’s forever-changing algorithms made it more difficult to reach audiences organically. Today, brands must pay to play. And the price of those ads will likely continue to rise.

Adding insult to injury, Facebook announced last year that it will curtail posts that seem too promotional. So, in the coming months companies will need to increase their Facebook ads (and budgets) to help offset the shorter reach of their unpaid (organic) posts. That content will need to be less self-serving and more consumer-focused.

No. 2 Yes, most everyone is still on Facebook, but more people are using multiple sites.
Let me be clear: Facebook is not dead, as some bloggers continue to proclaim. In fact, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, with 70% of its users on the site daily. The notable change, however, is that more people are using multiple social media sites. Instagram, for example, increased its users by about 9% from 2013 to 2014, and even surpassed the number of Twitter users in December, reaching more than 300 million. Compare that figure with Twitter’s 285 million users.

No. 3 Content on social media is more visual than ever.
Sight, sound, and motion are the pillars of engagement on social. Photo posts simply perform better than text-based posts. In fact, Web analytics company Kissmetrics reports that photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based Facebook posts. A collection of photos is even better. According to marketing software company Wishpond, photo albums get 180% more engagement than the average post.

No. 4 The Internet of Things is appearing on social.
Everything seems to be smarter these days; smartphones, smart watches, smart fitness bracelets, smart beds—you name it. Cheap sensors have led to an explosion of smart devices. Many of these devices are sending push notifications to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, a trend sure to continue in 2015.

No. 5 Shopping (finally) comes to social media.
Last summer Facebook and Twitter began to test buy buttons. Strategists for both platforms hope that someday the feature will encourage impulse shoppers, on a massive scale, to purchase everything from sneakers to furniture. Also in the not-so-distant future, these social sites could keep a percentage of those retail sales. Could these sites be the next eBay?

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