I haven’t written too many blogs in 2014. For a while I was still on the agency side of things so writing an opinionated blog about the digital world was part of the gig, so it came more naturally. The last five months or so, I’ve been in a new job back on the client side, with a longer commute, kids getting older, and seemingly less time than ever before. I’m still very much-so up on my game, it just hasn’t been on paper (digital paper). But here I am, back – writing again.
The year ahead should bring about some major social media network changes. Yes, 2015 will be a game-changer. Instead of making a list of 10 or 20 things that may or may not happen, I’m going to hit on three that are in my opinion, the most impactful of things to come for brands. Behold…
Facebook Video will be a big(ger) deal than ever before
The recent news that Facebook will be adding a “featured video” on every brand page as well as organized video playlists tells me a few things right off the bat…
Facebook really does actually want to try to have people go to brand pages to spend time there, as opposed to just saying they want people to go to brand pages like they have the last few years. As they show less and less organic brand content in news-feeds – this is a possible solution to appease brands and give users the choice to go see what they want as opposed to having it in their face all day.
This puts video content front and center on a platform that’s become much more valuable and important for videos in the last year anyway, and it also means that quality will be a major factor in the competitive landscape for brands on Facebook. If your community manager has no experience whatsoever in producing short videos for social, that’ll be tough. This opens up a new challenge of creating consistent, entertaining, quality video content that people will actually want to view and do something with, on the platform where they already spend so much time.
If you initially post a few videos into playlists or featured just to play along and never post again, people won’t come back.
If you post crap, people might never come in the first place, or won’t come back.
If your competitors are up on their game posting great short Vine-like films each week, gaining Facebook page visitors, engagement, reach etc, and you’re trying to figure it all out, you’ll fall way behind in share of engagement, conversation, and brand reach.
This should take a huge bite out of YouTube and essentially turn Facebook brand pages into a YouTube-like environment and experience. And like I said, on the platform where their friends and favorite brands already are – very convenient.
Will it work? We shall see, but this one does actually make sense to me.
Pinterest might piss a lot of people off
The ad platform of Pinterest is rolling out to everyone within the next week, which will enable brands to insert their content into the user experience that may not have existed before, increasing reach, impressions, engagement, click-throughs, and ultimately (ideally) revenue. Makes a ton of sense for brands. If you “fit” on Pinterest and want to reach women and have a defined Pinterest strategy – then yes, this is great.
On the flip-side, regular people spending hours a day surfing Pinterest doing that thing they do, you know, discovering stuff, might get a bit upset. Others could argue that the promotion of content is helping them discover better things quicker and in more abundance. OK. I get that, but what about people that love Pinterest for what it is, for what you stumble upon naturally? There’s another argument there that this, even though it might not be that intrusive or noticeable, is still creating a manufactured Pinterest experience, and ultimately ruining their lives.
But Pinterest is a growing business. From their standpoint I totally get it, too. It’s time to make this happen and take the revenue stream to the next level. Actually surprised it took this long.
Twitter and Facebook will continue to try to crack eCommerce
Whether it’s “Buy” buttons or shop pages, these platforms will keep trying to force this to work, to have their social platforms be large shopping sites that make businesses happy. Regardless of the fact that people aren’t using these networks to outright shop, regardless of the fact that they’ve tried many times and failed. Sales do drive from these channels, yes, I’ve seen it for years. People do click on links, end up on website, and do make purchases. Problem is, it’s the vast minority.
The last time you needed to buy something, or get a gift for someone, where’d you go online? Your Facebook newsfeed? Your Twitter stream? Just consumed content until something popped up that you might want to buy? Or did you go to a shopping site like Amazon?
These social networks lays the foundation, the introduction to the brand, the discovery of products and features and stories, and guide you down a path of interest and planning, but the purchasing comes later, and it doesn’t come from Twitter and Facebook. Again, sometimes it can, but I wish we could all just stop forcing it and stop making these channels out to be what they’re not. When it does happen, great – and you should make note of your targeting, timing, the product, the season, creative, etc, etc and continue testing. But don’t fall off your chair saying you’ve cracked the code of your business through Facebook commerce. Their will be new buy buttons and things and glimpses of hope here and there, but the fact will remain: that’s not what people by and large are using these social networks for…
Happy New Year, onward to 2015.