trendsWith social media platforms constantly evolving and new ones being created, it’s difficult to know where you should spend your time. While this ultimately depends on your mission, market, resources and and operational objectives, it can helpful to see what experts are predicting. That’s why I compiled a list of experts predicting the top 10 trends they expect to see in the New Year and their thoughts on where they plan to focus their time and energy throughout 2016. 

1. Live-streaming

Matthew Marley – social strategist at PSONA Social

The obsession with live-streaming/video will continue in 2016, especially as popular apps such as Periscope, Meerkat and Blab add new features. Facebook has also announced that it will open up its Facebook Live feature to allow users to live-stream directly from the app to their newsfeed.

2. New social publishing formats

Michelle Goodall – social media consultant & and tutor of Econsultancy’s Social Media & Online PR Training

Snapchat Discover, Twitter Moments and Facebook Instant Articles heralded a focus on the more innovative editorial features of social media platforms in 2015. Social platforms are becoming increasingly competitive about keeping users in-app for as long as possible. This is to ensure ad engagement, healthy revenue splits for publishers and gathering consumer insights and data. We’ve only just seen the start of social platforms shaping what the editorial web will look like.

3. Focus on listening

Davina Rapaport – social media manager at Maersk Line

As marketers we’re so focused on the ‘talking’ side of communication and often ‘listening’ falls by the wayside. The insights gained from social media listening can often be just as valuable as the revenue generated from social media and certainly more valuable than a flippant ‘like’ from a passive follower.

4. Advertising on social platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter, will become more important

Bas van den Beld – search & social expert, trainer & speaker

Social media used to be simple: connect with people on social channels and you are done. Not anymore. Social media is evolving – especially the bigger platforms. With an increasing amount of content being pushed toward those platforms it will be more difficult for brands and businesses to get attention on the platforms. This means there has to be a different approach. One thing is sure: social media the way it was, no longer is.

5. Lots more video innovation

Matthew Marley – social strategist at PSONA Social

With the launch of 360 video on Facebook we expect to see a lot more creative video content in 2016. Brands such as Mountain Dew, AT&T, Nestle, Mondelez, Coca Cola and Samsung, among others have been given early access to the new virtual reality style ads which have allowed the brands to be very creative.

6. Social media searches are becoming more powerful

Molly Buccini – community manager at Brafton

Pinterest announced a visual search feature, where users can actually click within an image to open a new search. For example, if you’re looking at a picture of a living room and want to see more lamps like the one featured in the picture, you can click the lamp, and you’ll be directed to search results for products like that one.

7. Fewer Social Media Platforms will emerge

Travis Bernard – social media & audience development, TechCrunch

Historically over the last few years we have seen new and exciting social media platforms take the industry by storm such as Instagram, Snapchat and many more. However, there is likely to be a shift in 2016 as new and promising social media channels will soon be bought up by the bigger fish in the market. Therefore, there will be less opportunity for independently owned channels to get a foothold.

8. Brands will start capitalizing on people power

Mel Carson – digital marketing consultant & strategist

Many will finally understand that personal branding and employee advocacy needs to be encouraged within their companies to have a positive effect externally on their reputation and amplification efforts. Influencer marketing is all the rage right now, and quite rightly so, but companies who don’t build influencers within their own company are missing a massive trick to help their message be more discoverable, shareable and memorable.

9. The dominance of mobile in social will clearly continue

Andrew Smith – founder and managing director, Escherman

The dominance of mobile in social will clearly continue. The smartphone society is here to stay. Given that the vast majority of social media activity now happens on a phone in an app, getting content into user feeds and “stopping the swipe” becomes a paramount necessity.

10. Social media will be measuredby ROI and not on the number of followers

Nicole Bandklayder – founder, NB Talent Services

We have seen first hand how social media and social commerce work together to grow direct sales for our clients and they prefer to be able to measure social media value based on how Facebook (for example) brought 4,000 views to their website, and 100 of those people made a purchase, equating to $2,000 in 30 days.By creating a strategy to maximize the company’s social media posts and social advertising efforts, we are able to measure sales more accurately and help our clients really grow their brand.

What’s your prediction for social media marketing trends in 2016? Is there a trend you think will dominate 2016 not included here?