2014 turned out to be a whirlwind year in social media. New networks were created and introduced to the public, advertising strategies and platforms evolved, and more people were using social media networks than ever before. The numbers are striking: in 2014, around 1.79 billion people were using social media, while experts are predicting that nearly 2.5 billion people will be social media users by 2018. In order to attract customers, businesses go where the people are, so it should come as no surprise that social media marketing efforts took some big steps forward this past year. 2015 is shaping up to be just as exciting for social media marketers, but the changing times require a certain amount of flexibility. Though there are many predictions out there for what to expect in 2015, no single person can be 100 percent certain. Luckily, a number of technological advances and developments will help marketers keep their social media strategies flexible for the foreseeable future.
When it comes to social media marketing, companies want to ensure that they are getting a worthwhile return on their investment. Accurate results from social media efforts have at times been difficult to track, but improving technology is making it easier and more precise. Social media analytics have matured immensely over the past year, becoming an effective tool for social media marketers to wield and it has become more sophisticated. In fact, in some instances, social media analytics is beginning to replace more traditional methods of market research. Through social media analytics, marketers can get better metrics on customer behaviors. This enables them to tailor their marketing toward individuals, giving them added flexibility in reaching more people through more engaging contentThe technology of social media analytics can be expanded even further with advanced customer analytics. For years, marketers have tried to use their customer databases to craft campaigns designed to entice, but better analytics is making this task easier and much more effective. Some companies take advantage of the analytics by uploading whole databases to social media, which in turn can lead to more targeted advertisements. Other analytics advances can be seen in products like customer relationship management software, which has proven to be a valuable tool for creating customized content. With these advantages now being delivered via cloud computing, the barriers that kept smaller companies with limited budgets from using them are smaller than ever before, allowing them a greater degree of flexibility.
Perhaps most promising for social media marketers is the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Of all the new products and innovations being developed, the main line of items that has caught marketers' attention is that of wearable devices. Up until recently, marketers had to rely on social media data solely from website activity from the user's computer or mobile device. Wearable devices, on the other hand, open up a whole new territory for marketers to explore and a whole new collection of data to analyze and use. Many experts predict 2015 will be a huge year for wearables and the IoT, and the social media data that is gathered will aid marketers in their campaigns in fascinating new ways. This goes beyond simply knowing where customers are when they receive advertisements and offers; wearables might be used to gauge mental state and actual emotional reaction from each campaign. It may take a while for marketers to really get a handle on the new technology, but once they do, the added flexibility will be seen in the type of material and content they produce.
In addition to wearables and better analytics capabilities, marketers are also taking advantage of the growth of social media as a whole. While some networks like Facebook and Instagram will continue to dominate in terms of numbers of users, niche social sites are beginning to pop up with more frequency. These sites include Kaboodle for shopping, Fitocracy for fitness, and Foodie for those who love food. Based off of these developments, marketers can have a better idea where their targeted audience visits, thereby giving them more flexibility in creating campaigns with a tighter focus.
Social media marketing remains an ever-changing field, requiring a great deal of adaptability on the part of the marketers. Technology can help in this regard, but it requires marketers to be up to date with the latest advancements. By using the latest technology for outreach to customers, social media marketers will see a noticeable improvement in the results from their efforts, and with more flexibility come more successful campaigns.