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2015 Social Media Trends

At Object 9, we’re always thinking ahead. What’s next in the world of mobility and wearables? What are we going to do if another “snowstorm” hits Atlanta? And most importantly, when’s that French press going to be ready? If you’re like us and want to know what’s coming, here’s a bit of insight into what we can expect in social media trends in 2015.

1. Social Listening Posts

Social media is growing up. What was the cool kid on the block is now just a regular guy in a decent duplex on that same block. And as the channels mature, so does the strategy. More serious brands are starting to realize that they’re not Old Spice, and that they don’t need a super-referential social media presence. What they do need is a team in place to catch conversations and content coming from their established audience and interact in a compelling, authentic way. This kind of realistic take on successful engagement also makes data more dynamic; a like or favorite from an actual lead is far more valuable than a passing glance from somebody who was never in your target audience in the first place. Our advice? Take a step back, pay attention to what folks are already saying, and then pinpoint what to provide from there. It’ll save you time, energy, and money, and deliver better results.

2. Smarter Followers

Okay, so some social media users will always fall for spam (e.g. my aunt), but on the whole, consumers are wising up. They can now smell digital marketing from a mile away, and even if they can’t, “Sponsored” tags on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are going a long way to compartmentalize ads from personal interactions. This is smart for the channels, bad for any brand still attempting to “pull one over” on their audience. The key here is authenticity. Figure out a way to be of use to your targets. Be who you are. Find the people who love you for you. Wait, that’s just what my aunt says… bad at spam, good at advice. Whodathunk.

3. Playing with the Rules

Don’t you just love when somebody sticks it to The Man? That’s exactly what Taco Bell did with their internet blackout, promoting their new iPhone ordering app by going dark on Twitter, Facebook, and on their website. This isn’t just against best practices, it’s going nuclear. Not many social strategists would recommend anything of the sort, and yet 75% of Taco Bell locations reported that the app had been used to place an order the day of launch, due in no small part to this outlandish move. Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to break some of the rules and play with your audience’s expectations. It stands to reason that your flexibility will be rewarded.

4. Content Backbones

So after implementing the listening post strategy, you might find that there’s something dynamic you could provide to your audience that would be beneficial for both parties beyond conversation. Maybe that’s a video series, maybe it’s thought leadership… In the case of our own client, Kickapoo Joy Juice, we realized that a sampling program would be effective, getting our product in the hands of influencers. We call them Joy Boxes, and they have provided a solid content backbone, a real-world offering that can better support the social structure than posts alone. It’s much easier to keep your channels thriving when they have some root in traditional to hold them up. The obstacle, of course, is making sure that content is truly worthwhile. (Hint: Object9.com)

5. Anonymity & Unplugging

Yik Yak is the undisputed trendsetter in this category. With the amount of information websites and networks collect from you, it’s refreshing to join a network where your name is not attached for once. These types of applications encourage and host some of the most compelling and creative online content. It will be interesting to see how Yik Yak uses this push to innovate in 2015. Maybe something similar to the recent updates we’ve seen in Snapchat “Discover.”

Unplugging altogether is also an interesting concept and trend to follow. A symptom of social oversaturation, unplugging is becoming a real force in the younger set, and we should see a big impact before year’s end. As I said in Agency Sparks 2015 Digital Marketing Predictions:

“Wearables will certainly be increasingly popular and innovative, but what I’ve chosen to speculate on is unplugging. It’s certainly an “other” in terms of [trend] disciplines, but I do believe the practice of unplugging will become a trend in the near future. Humans require the freedom to evaluate, assess, and reflect on daily events, and cannot freely carry these out if we’re constantly ‘plugged-in’ and preoccupied. The fear of missing out will begin to vanish as some of us take a step back, to the basics.”

Thanks to this insightful IABC write-up by Subhamoy Das for prompting us to share our own forecasts (not entirely dissimilar to his, great minds, etc.). If you’d like to be kept up to date on all Object 9 posts, you can follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.


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