Wondering what is going to happen on the social web in 2015? Are you worried what might change on Instagram? Will Twitter continue to be a great place for nonprofits? Is Facebook going to change its algorithm AGAIN? Relax. We are all in the same boat. It’s the beginning of the year and the future has yet to be written. But as we gaze into our crystal ball, some things are already pretty clear.
Here are a few essential trends that can help point any savvy communications professional in the right direction when creating a successful social media plan for 2015.
Facebook’s love affair with video continues.
You can’t just write a social media post. These days, it MUST have a graphic, photo or video that accompanies it. Emphasis on video.
Facebook, especially, is raising the bar in this area. Including strong visuals is not just a rule of thumb for attracting attention anymore. Facebook is now prioritizing video content uploaded directly to its site above other types of content.
Last summer, according to comScore, Facebook actually exceeded YouTube in the number of videos watched. Not to mention that for the first time ever, more content creators on Facebook are uploading their videos directly to the site rather than sharing via YouTube. These changes do matter. So unless you want to see the organic reach of your Facebook posts continue to drop, start thinking about how you can take advantage of the video upload feature asap.
Data will not be going away anytime soon.
There are lots of slick tools out there that automate social media posting and analytics, and this year you can expect to see a lot more coming on the market. But no tool can give you all the answers you need to effectively manage and analyze everything that’s happening across your social media channels. So choose wisely.
But also heed this reminder to keep the human touch in all things social. No doubt about it - automating some of your social media posts can be extremely helpful. However, automating all of your social media posts is just a bad idea. In 2015 we may see a rise in the number of robots, but you won’t want your social media accounts to sound like they have been taken over by one.
Keep your posts genuine and timely and you can’t go wrong.
Money continues to buy things.
Don’t shoot the messenger. But the fact is, in order to have impact, you can no longer rely solely on organic reach. So if you are ready to get past the “like” stage of your Facebook interactions - and if your organization can afford it - it may be worth setting aside a budget for social media.
But be smart about social advertising. If you have the budget and are interested in social media advertising, please take the time needed to dig deep into audience segmentation and targeting on the social platforms that are right for your organization. And know how to tell your lame metrics from your awesome ones.
If social networks like Instagram and Pinterest (i.e. the ones that have not fully cemented their revenue streams through advertising or other means) are the best place for you and your followers, take advantage of these platforms NOW while the organic reach and engagement are high. Once your organization has researched and decided where to spend your social dollars, you can do more to expand your reach, and engage the right supporters.
Mobile devices are sticking around.
Don’t try to ignore it. People are spending more time on mobile. In the U.S., carriers' shelf-space for devices with 4.7-inch or larger screen displays increased from 4 percent to about a third in 2014 alone, according to NPD Group. What does that mean? Put into perspective, Facebook's most recent earnings report showed that the site’s mobile daily active users grew 15 percent, and mobile-only daily active users grew 34 percent. (If you are reading this on your phone, well, I rest my case.)
We are moving away from a “scaling for mobile” to a more “design for mobile” society. Which means, people are increasingly using their mobile devices to take action, whether it is making a donation, signing up for an event or buying a product. In 2015, mobile is going to be where it’s at.
Here’s the bottom line: social media is only becoming a stronger force. While these trends we’ve outlined above may not be terribly earth-shattering, they are vitally important. Nonprofit marketers need to pay attention now in order to stay relevant - and even visible - to their supporters in the very near future.
And for those of you interested in getting into the social media game, watch this short video to see how easy Solis, the newest addition to Salsa’s product line, can make connecting with your supporters. Then, kick 2015 off right by geting started with a free 14-day trial.