Nov 18 Social Network Predictions to Consider for 2016
It’s that time of year again, folks. Every digital or social media marketer you know is issuing proclamations or social network predictions about what’s in store in 2016. Don’t worry, it’s not the year of mobile again! Jokes aside, it’s true that the social landscape continues to evolve and if you’re not already considering how to adapt next year, then you’re already behind.
Recently, Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh, and Jim Tobin, President of Ignite Social Media, teamed up to deliver an awesome webinar about the 6 Top Social Media Trends of 2016. You can view the full webinar here, but one trend has emerged that will vastly impact social media content in 2016. Remember how I said 2016 isn’t the year of mobile? Yeah, 2016 is now the year of extreme curation and hyper-personalization.
Travel back with me for a second. In the early days of social, branded content was sparse. If you were smart or lucky enough to be present, you had a voice. Then, social expanded and brands had to start vying for room to speak with great content, paid media, or both. Now, the noise is becoming so intense that every major social media network is focusing on ways to declutter and curate the experience. Prepare to have your content make headway in this new, mediated social landscape. Here’s what we know so far for three of the largest social networks:
- The introduction of immersive 360 Video took curation to a new level by allowing users to choose what angle they want to view a video from.
- Facebook recently rolled out Notfiy, a new app that serves up personalized notifications to mobile users about the topics they care about, from brands they love. Additionally, an updated Notifications tab on Facebook’s mobile app is in the works, and will offer hyperlocal, hyper-personalized information for every user.
- Instant Articles now offer users a highly interactive way to consume the news they care about reading. Users can zoom into high-res photos, explore interactive maps, and comment on individuals parts of an article.
- Facebook has been testing Reactions, a new feature that offers users a more pointed way to express their sentiment about the content they’re fed on the platform. For now, Reactions are being treated the same way as a Like, but in time they’ll likely adopt a new algorithm to better curate content based on user feedback.
- In April, Twitter introduced Highlights, in an effort to deliver more carefully selected tweets to users who may feel overwhelmed by filtering through their stream after brief absences from the channel. These highlights are based on the unique accounts that users follow and the conversations that are popular in their immediate network.
- This October, the channel unveiled Moments, a feature intended to serve up content chosen by Twitter’s curation team and partners like BuzzFeed and Mashable. These tweets aren’t based on individual user preference, but they are segmented into editorial categories and carefully curated by people internal to Twitter
- Twitter is opening the door to greater feedback opportunities, like Twitter Polls and opting for the ‘Like’ instead of the ‘Fave.’ As with Facebook’s Reactions, these new features will allow users to have a more pointed say about their preferences. That’s invaluable data for Twitter and brands that opt to target boosted posts in the network.
- The network definitely gave Snapchat a scare when it kicked-off its heavily-curated Halloween video stream. The content stream was curated by Instagram employees and was meant to highlight a major event through the eyes of the Instagram community. According to Re/code, curations of this kind are “just the start.”
- This past summer, Instagram launched a totally reimagined Explore page, featuring heavily curated collections of content from Instagram users. According the platform, “The new Explore now surfaces trends as they emerge in real-time, connecting you to events and conversations both near you and around the globe.”
Social platforms are now evolving to combat the density of content and the user’s unwillingness to dig for entertaining content. Brands can no longer bet on sheer luck or ideal posting times alone to conquer oversaturation. So, what’s the key takeaway here for your brand?
Because these new curated venues mean a drastic change in user experience, brands will have to be smarter about their content strategies. That may mean hopping aboard media buying opportunities that arise (i.e. partnering with Twitter to be served up in their Moments stream), or understanding the curation process across these mediums enough to have your brand included in the lot. Suffice it to say, 2016 will be an exciting and challenging year for social media content!