Somehow, it’s now 2015. Time flies, doesn’t it? And in an industry as dynamic as social media, trends don’t wait for users to catch up with them. Miss a beat, and you’re behind on what’s happening in the digital sphere.
It’s fast, it’s dynamic and it’s intense—and that’s precisely why it’s so effective. With that very idea in mind, TIME Magazine recently posted a piece on the five trends that will change how businesses and users utilize social media in 2015. While I don’t necessarily agree with each one, there are some valid points to be made, as well as ones I’d like to add to.
The main argument to be gleaned from this list is that there is a fine line between keeping up with the trends and letting them rule your decision-making. Sure, e-commerce will be combining with social media (because, capitalism. Further questions about this can be directed to Karl Marx), but that doesn’t mean it’s time for you to bust out online retail if it’s not something you are poised for. Take all advice about social media with a grain of salt, because at the end of the day, it’s your business. Not every business is the same, and not all advice applies to everyone. The biggest trend for 2015, in my opinion, should be putting more effort into strategizing your digital effort than ever before.
- Your Social Network Wants to Be Your Wallet: Facebook wants your money, but so does Apple, and PayPal, and Square and Stripe. With tests in the works about how to work out payments through social networks, especially Facebook, 2015 will bring more online merchants pushing harder for you to complete transactions through their network.
Possibilities? Facebook might eventually charge for money transfer services, or even go head to head with traditional credit cards to make that extra margin on fees. If you’re an e-commerce friendly business, this could be a great thing for already strong Facebook followings. However, if you don’t work in e-commerce, this isn’t as relevant for your business or your margins.
- New Networks Proliferate: We’ve focused on some of the newcomers to the social media game because they’re the ones that will push the big dogs to redefine and adapt to what consumers want. Yik Yak, Ello, Tsu—none of these are poised to take over Facebook or Twitter, and they’ve had a hard time drumming up user bases that will compete in anyway to the billion dollar industries that other networks have become. TIME isn’t sure if these popups will continue to proliferate, and neither are we, but we’re not quite finished with them yet. Users are continually disenchanted with the “sell-out” profit agenda that Facebook embodies these days, and a little healthy competition is always useful.
- The Illusion of Social Media Privacy Gives Way to the Real Thing: Popular performers like Snapchat have given rise to new ways of thought about how private social networks really are—they aren’t. So Facebook and other networks are working to adapt to that, hence new chat App Rooms that allow users to chat without sharing their real names. The trouble is, the more the Internet works to provide anonymity, the more hackers work to tear that down. Being careful about what you post on social media, for businesses and individuals, is something that (we hope) will never change, regardless of proclaimed privacy mechanisms.