Social media has been evolving quite drastically over the past decade. In the early days, it was all about MySpace. Facebook, launched in 2004, was limited only to college students and Google+ came and went (RIP, Google+) as Google attempted to take their slice of the pie.
What began as a way to stay in touch with friends and family has evolved into a branch of marketing. As social media continues to mature, and we move into the next decade, here are a few trends I expect to see in the coming years.
More Privacy and Better Security
Privacy has always been a concern for many social media users as has security. With major data breaches happening on a regular basis, users are becoming more cautious about the information they are making available via social media. Though not limited to just social media, data shows that as of the first half of 2018 there were 609 global data breaches pertaining to identity theft. In 2018, there were 1,244 data breaches in the United States alone.
When we sign up for Facebook, we are required to provide basic information about us and as we continue to use the platform, we are prompted to fill out other information as well. The data has been collected by the social media giants and used for advertising dollars among other things.
In response to Facebook’s data breach, additional privacy and security measures are being taken to protect user-information, however, we can’t be sure any of these solutions will be foolproof. As technology continues to grow, we can expect privacy and security to continue to improve. Still, it’s advised not to put anything on social media that you want to keep completely private.
New Social Media Platforms
I’ve already written about TikTok and how it has grown massively. Within the past two years, the platform has become a great hit among teens and now businesses are capitalizing on it. But beyond Tik-Tok, there are a number of new social media platforms popping up. Many of these promise not to sell your data and will not be ad-based because they want to be different from Facebook and Twitter.
The lack of advertising dollars puts a struggle on the ability of the new social media platforms to stay afloat, so it will be interesting to see what happens to them. Recently, the founder of Wikipedia launched WikiTribune – where people are currently on waiting lists for access unless they contribute a monetary donation of $12.99/month or $100/year.
Beyond WikiTribune, other social media platforms that are gaining traction include:
Social Media TV
We consume more online content than ever before, with the Internet going to great lengths to replace TV. With streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and the latest Disney+, along with YouTube, there’s no reason to believe that social media video content doesn’t have the potential to completely replace TV.
YouTube data shows that among 18-34-year-olds, YouTube on mobile alone reaches a wider US audience than any television network. Data shows Netflix has over 158 million subscribers as of Q3 2019, and Disney+ had 10 million subscribers within one day after launch.
Millennials are consuming so much online mobile content that Samsung believes they want vertical TVs – and they may be right!
Engagement Becomes More Important
Engagement is already vital to your success on social media. Without it, you’ll have a hard time convincing the social media algorithms that your content is interesting and people enjoy it. In the past, it was a simple as getting a bunch of likes and followers to make your content appear authoritative and popular on social media.
The algorithms have since shifted away from this strategy since it is clear that these can be fabricated by purchasing likes and followers that are from fake accounts. Because of this, it’s becoming more and more crucial to focus efforts on comments, shares, and live features across Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Take advantage of video features available to you, because the video will rank better in feeds than text or images, even text and images that have a lot of likes but no comments.
To foster more engagement, ask a question in the post and do your best to reply to all the comments. If you can’t reply to them all, at least make sure you’re replying to as many as you can so that your audience knows you’re paying attention and the social media algorithms see that interactivity and engagement.
As time goes on, we can expect to see the way we engage with our social media audiences shift, but no matter what, the actual engagement will always be an indicator of quality and interest.
Social Media Becomes the Primary Source of News Information
As the internet works to replace TV and newspapers, more people turn to consume information, especially news, on the internet. Many users find the breaking news stories on their feed and use that to navigate to the main news site for more information.
With social media, the news spreads fast, with Facebook and Twitter becoming the main sources of news. Forbes conducted a survey that revealed half of the internet users surveyed say they hear about the latest news on social media before they ever hear about it on a news station. The survey also found a 57% increase in traffic to news sites from social media websites.
“Social on Social” Communities
We already see a lot of social on social activity, because of groups within Facebook and Twitter parties on Twitter. As social continues to evolve, it will become even easier to build a small social community around a niche or topic. As more of these communities form, it will be easier to find and filter information on various topics and niches.
At this point, your social media platform won’t just be a platform, but a platform that supports a platform. It presents the chance for these mini social communities to represent their social media presence as their own platform.
What are your thoughts on these trends? Do you have any other ideas about how we can expect to see social media evolve over the next decade? Share them with me in the comment section.