5 Social Media Trends You Should Be Paying Attention To - Work In My Pajamas

At the start of each year, industry experts offer predictions about which emerging trends will push to the forefront in the months ahead. The world of social media is no different. The social media landscape is constantly evolving, and it is very dependent on user needs.

As a business owner, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what your customer base is likely to expect by getting acquainted with the latest social media trends.

  1. Real Time Social Media Marketing

This trend involves more than monitoring what people say about your business on social media. It includes retooling social media marketing campaigns to align with the feedback received, and capitalizing on trending topics.

Back in 2013, Oreo showed the world how successful real time social media marketing was done with this tweet during the Super Bowl blackout.

Oreo Superbowl TweetSmart Car set another great example when they addressed a snarky Tweet that attacked the safety of a Smart Car. Their witty and well-calculated response addressed the Tweet and a common misconception about the brand.

Smart Car Tweet

Real time social media marketing may not have emerged in 2015, but you can expect to see a whole lot more of it. Show that you hear your customer's needs and respond to them as quickly as possible to capitalize on this trend. Doing so will help you grow your brand and gain ground in a competitive marketplace. Props if you can be as clever as these two brands!

  1. Niche Social Networks

Advertising efforts on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have undoubtedly increased in recent years. Although some businesses appreciate that trend, some users grumble about their privacy being violated and say there are too many ads to sift through within a content feed.

An emerging social media network called Ello promises to be ad-free. The graphics-rich network is worth consideration if you sell products or services with any visual appeal. However, there are other ways to make the niche network showcase your business by engaging the interests of your audience.

Interest based networks are also becoming very popular niche networks. These sites are designed for communities with strong interests and have had a lot of success. From sites like Foodie and Fitocracy to UFO Social, there are thriving niche networks for just about any interest.

  1. Images as User Engagement Tools

Social networks like Instagram proved that photos are great for keeping people interested. The year 2015 will likely see businesses harnessing that reality and using photos to both capture attention and engage users. You can take the same approach with your company regardless of your target audience, or what specific marketing goals you want to achieve.

CJ Pony Parts is a great example of this. They asked people to submit pictures of their Mustangs in hopes of having it featured on the prominent cover photo spot, and greatly increased fan interaction with the brand in doing so.

CJ Pony Parts

  1. The Increasing Popularity of Mobile Payment Solutions

Last year, many companies, including PayPal, offered point-of-sale credit card readers. Many connected to smartphones so business owners could attend tradeshows or other out-of town events and not have to carry bulky credit card readers with them.

Mobile payment solutions have evolved yet again. Now mega networks like Twitter and Facebook are tweaking ways to let users click to buy a product without leaving the social network's site.

Musictoday, a music merchandise company, and Product Red, a charity that aims to eliminate AIDS in Africa, were among the businesses that piloted the concept of buying wares through Twitter in September of last year.

Even more recently, Apple Pay and the Apple Passbook were rolled out to let users pay for things ranging from LivingSocial deals to Starbucks cappuccinos, all through mobile interfaces.

Mobile payments could stimulate impulse purchases, especially if you know your customers don't like to carry a lot of credit cards or cash. Also, leading mobile payment options associated with social networks already let people complete purchases with just a few taps of a finger.

  1. Social Media Will Continue to Provide an Efficient Customer Service Solution

Some companies have embraced social media as a customer service tool. The standout businesses realize efficiency is not the only goal. Personality counts, too, when tweeting or commenting on a Facebook page.

Some leading brands, such as Nike and Starbucks, created Twitter accounts solely for people to use if they need customer support. Nike's Twitter support page even offers support for people in seven languages, proving the company is fully aware of its international brand reach.

Although your business may not be equipped to offer customer support through social media 24/7, consider exploring social media as an option to give help quickly. Even if a problem is not one you can fix right away, customers usually appreciate getting a response that assures them someone is looking into issues and cares about resolving them.

It can be very difficult to predict how the social media landscape will change throughout the coming year. However, if you allow some of your business decisions to be motivated by the list above, there's a good chance you'll be well equipped to thrive on social media and respond well when customer expectations shift.

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