The latest trends in social media marketing

It’s no secret that social media has dramatically transformed the way businesses market their products and services.

Thanks to social media, businesses not only have a greater understanding of their audiences requirements - they also have an open channel of communication with their audiences to ensure those requirements are fulfilled.

As social media platforms continue to evolve, the number of ways that businesses can market to their audiences continue to expand. Here are some of the leading social media marketing trends of 2015.

Social commerce

Both Twitter and Facebook have already beta tested ‘buy buttons’ for their platforms. This will allow users to make purchases without even having to click through to an external site. Instagram is trialling a similar technology, whereby viewers will be able to purchase items which relate to the pictures that they are looking at in real-time. It has been suggested that high-end luxury brands selling clothing and jewellery could benefit from this technology immensely. However, Instagram are not rushing into anything - they have an user base of over 300 million people that they certainly don’t want to drive away by overtly commercialising their platform!

Visual content continues to dominate

With the increased adoption and usage of mobile internet, businesses are generating and sharing more visual content via social media to accommodate for the users of these devices. Evidence from arecent study demonstrates that 86% of buyers express a desire for accessing interactive/visual content on demand, and 90% of buyers believe that content needs to be more mobile friendly. Whether videos, slideshare presentations, images or infographics - visual content is now essential if you want to cultivate engagement on social media. In the words of Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook EMEA: “We are moving from a text-based world to a visual one”.

Ad-free platforms emerge

A selection of new social media platforms have emerged in recent years. Most prominent of all is Ello, an ad-free social network which is highly optimised for mobile users. While currently free, the platform is exploring different monetisation strategies for the future. As a response to the numerous stories about social media being a threat to privacy, an app called Minds has been created where all messages are encrypted so that advertisers and governmental bodies are unable to read them.

Businesses continue to invest in social media advertising

Despite the previously mentioned ad-free platforms, social advertising is still set to increase tremendously. In a recent survey, Salesforce found that 70% of marketers will increase their social media ad spend in 2015. According to a separate survey byeMarketer, $23.68 billion (approximately 15 billion British pounds) will be spent on paid media to reach consumers on social networks throughout 2015. The report goes on to state that Facebook, who dominate the paid social ad market, will go on to make $15.50 billion in ad revenues in 2015.

PodcastPodcasting continues to surge

While it could be argued that podcasting lies in the realm of content marketing rather than social media, podcasts are still highly interactive, since listeners are often encouraged to get involved by submitting queries, asking questions and connecting with the host(s) via Twitter or Facebook. Most good podcasts feature full social media integration, which makes them easy to share. Research demonstrates that podcasting is on the rise - monthly audio podcast consumption grew from 39 million monthly users in 2014 to approximately 46 million in 2015. Interestingly, a disproportionately large amount of listeners (80%) use Apple iOS devices rather than Android.

(Images by Yoel Ben-Avraham and Ruta N Medellin)