The social landscape is undergoing near-constant change, and with that, so must a brand’s strategy. As 2014 closes, marketers are prepping for the upcoming year by strategizing ways to leverage opportunities and overcome challenges. The way in which audiences are consuming content is rapidly evolving and it’s up to brands to make sure that their Facebook strategy is congruent with those habits, ensuring success and growth for 2015. Here are my predictions for the social media network.
Video trumps photo
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much a video is worth. Brands and users alike are gravitating more toward video content. This year the paradigm has changed as, for the first time, data shows that Pages are posting more native Facebook videos rather than YouTube videos on Facebook. Facebook is carving out their own share of the YouTube audience – a trend that will continue and grow in 2015.
We need only to look to initiatives like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to see how widespread video adoption has become. According to Facebook, more than two million unique videos related to the Ice Bucket Challenge have been uploaded to the social media site – garnering millions of mentions and conversations around the topic. With numbers like that, marketers are now sitting in meetings fielding the question of the year, “Where’s our Ice Bucket Challenge?”
Shareable is the new viral
Content creators have been consistently tasked with making things go viral. However, in 2015 shareable content will be priority one. Increasingly, attention has moved to producing content that is not only shareable, but content that holds meaning – the two working best in tandem. It’s not enough anymore to put a spotlight solely on number of clicks, brands are seeing more engagement when thought is put into the storytelling element of the content.
Additionally, with new Facebook policies announced for next year, marketers will have to pay close attention and evaluate the type of content being posted. Starting in January 2015, Facebook users will begin to see fewer overtly promotional posts in their News Feed. As a result, marketers will need to depend more on ad spend in order to promote posts that are product and sales specific. A benefit from this change in algorithm is that brands now have the opportunity to separate their storytelling strategy from their ad spend strategy. My belief is that this will lend marketers more incentive to develop and execute on higher-quality content strategy, which will in turn produce an uptick in the numbers of shares.
Brands will adopt media company traits
Brands with a really strong content strategy have always thrived in an increasingly competitive and crowded social landscape, and this will become even more apparent in 2015. Brands need to take on the characteristics of media companies in order to do social well. A company like Red Bull has proven that if the content is good and on-message the audience will not only engage, but keep coming back for more.
Red Bull has become a massive global brand publisher, breaking new ground against more traditional models of social strategy and bolstering brand loyalty with their audience of over 45 million. In 2015, not only will brands adopt this strategy, but they will also leverage it for mobile.
Silence won’t be a virtue
Companies have been responding to customer inquiries on Facebook for years, but we’ve found that it still takes the average brand 33 hours to respond to a fan’s question on Facebook. In this competitive landscape, slow responses and non-responses simply won’t cut it.
In the past, social customer care may have been seen as a bonus – now it’s a requirement, and companies are realizing this. In 2015, brands will be taking customer care seriously and improving how they handle inquiries and complaints on Facebook.
Preparing for the trends above is only step one. It’s crucial that brand marketers stay agile when it comes to social media. 2015 will be about staying one step ahead of social media trends and two steps ahead of the competition.
Jan Rezab is the CEO & Co-founder of Socialbakers, a company focused on social media marketing and measurement, with clientele that includes over half of the global Fortune 500. Jan’s role is to actively push Socialbakers’s global strategy and make customers heard.