So far, this has been an eventful year for Facebook, with a new algorithm update to its newsfeed bringing in changes for businesses, issues around Cambridge Analytica and data security as well as reports that many younger users are shifting towards Instagram and Snapchat.

The whole social landscape appears to be changing, with many users becoming fed up. This along with new technology being introduced means that social media marketing could be very different in a couple of years. To find out more, I asked for the opinions of experts in social media marketing and digital marketing. So here are some of their views on the future of social in the next two years:

Clearly the change in the Facebook algorithm was due to users being fed up with the amount of advertising, which has gradually eaten away at the social aspect of the network. Therefore marketers may soon need to change their approach.

“We are seeing a major shift in the social media world that is going to force marketers to completely rethink their game. Facebook’s recent algorithm shift prioritizing posts from friends and family over brand pages is a preview of what’s to come: users are becoming all too familiar with the traditional promotion and sales tactics utilized by many social media brands, and they’re getting tired of it. Organic growth strategies and value-driven content will prove to be invaluable over the next two years as this shift continues.”
Anthony Gucciardi – Social Media Influencer – Entrepreneur & Lifestyle Speaker

One interesting tactic of getting around the most recent algorithm update as well as future changes is the use of employee advocacy, as explained by Allison Walsh.

“Employee advocacy will start to take a more center stage for social media marketing by brands. A global study by Edelman showed that 72% of the general public trust social media content shared by friends or family compared to 32% trusting posts from brands that they don’t use. Companies will start to use tools to push out content to employees, who can then pick and choose what types of posts they want to share to their own pages, adding a personal touch to the messages that companies want to push out. Brands should adapt and prepare by researching the different tools available and by developing the types of content that their employees will feel good about sharing.”
Allison Walsh, Social Media Strategist at Combined Insurance, a Chubb company

As well as the changes to algorithms to fix issues with user engagement, technological advances have and will play a big role in social in the coming years.

“The biggest potential change we’ll see in the next few years is the growth of virtual reality in social media. Currently people are still interacting through typing or sending things to one another. Facetime and the like has begun to make interactions more real-time but the onset of virtual reality will break down barriers even further. Rather than calling your family from overseas, will you soon be able to put on your goggles and be virtually in your own living room with your kids? Rather than using video on Skype for meetings for people in multiple locations, will they all put on a headset and be in the same boardroom? How will companies better use virtual reality to create experiences through Instagram and Snapchat? Could a company offer a limited time experience of their product via virtual reality through their Snapchat profile? The possibilities are almost limitless and, perhaps, a little scary.”
Dylan Malloch – Director of Marketing and Communications at St Paul’s School, Bald Hills, Brisbane

“Over the next two years, the ad spend on Social Medias will keep increasing as well as Influencer Marketing. I think the biggest revolution will be businesses turning into Media Companies to increment the brand visibility, producing content, interacting directly with their customers as well as implementing Guerilla Marketing strategies. My prediction is that videos will keep playing the major role, with live and ephemeral content providing the best engagement rate. I also see an increase of podcasts and voice content. Lastly, I’m paying close attention to the rise of augmented reality, chatbots and social marketplaces, like the brand new feature that allows Instagram brands to tag products.”
Ruben Vergara Meersohn – CEO & Founder, Wall Street International

There are of course those who believe social’s value to marketers will drop, as with many forms of marketing, the channel becomes over-used and arguably abused by businesses.

“Over the next 2 years, social media marketing is going to become a very low ROI marketing channel. With the recent updates to social channel algorithms, organic post reach is at an all time low, therefore requiring budget to reach higher numbers of people. Also, the increase of fake news and security worries are making users think twice about using Social Media for personal use. The average age of users is going to continue to sit at around 16-24, which for most companies, is possibly the worst performing age group for revenue. Investing your marketing efforts and budget towards channels such as SEO and content is going to continue to become more and more beneficial.”
Matt Jones, SEO Executive at Tutorful

What do you think?

So much could happen in the next couple of years. What are your predictions for social media? Will it be better for marketers or worse? How will Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat all perform and will any new players enter the arena? Leave a comment below.



Category:   Social
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