Curious as to what's in store for social media in 2016?
Well, I figured all I had to do was ask those who work in social media or in marketing and I'd get the answers I was looking for.
Let me tell you: the Social Media Masterminds group on Facebook didn't disappoint.
In total, 50+ social media marketers took the time to respond to a survey which consisted of two questions:
- What's your social media prediction for 2016?
- What will be the most important social media channel in 2016 and why?
From bold predictions such as Twitter potentially being acquired by Google - which was mentioned more than once - to the overwhelmingly popular prediction that live streaming will be a priority for brands, it was interesting to learn that the majority of marketers feel that Facebook will be the most important social network of 2016.
With its recent introduction of Facebook Live - a competitor to the likes of Twitter's own Periscope - combined with advertising integration with Instagram, the social network which not too long ago was rumored to be on the decline appears to be back on top at least in the minds of social media marketers.
For the complete list of predictions, click here to view on SlideShare or take a look below.
Aaron Kilby / @Kilby76
In 2016 visual content will be everything and Instagram and Snapchat will only grow because of this. Brands will also start to see the importance of live-streaming apps like Periscope and Blab and use them in creative ways to promote their products and/or services.
Aaron Lee / @AskAaronLee
Show marketing will definitely be the trend for 2016. This is where businesses post visuals and share results of what people can get with their product. Thanks to platforms like Instagram, many businesses have changed the way they market, they've realized people aren't engaging with boring content. What works is when businesses show what products look like in reality, instead of a photo in the studios.
Adam Lewites / @ALewites
2016 is the year where insights and data from social media will be incorporated into all business strategy, outside of direct social marketing teams. Cross-channel marketing (i.e. Instagram to Twitter) will rise and continue to drive marketing's move toward scaled, personalized consumer experiences.
Adel de Meyer / @AdelDMeyer
Live streaming video, including micro-video and social advertising, will be big players in 2016. Social advertising budgets will be increased and more companies will experiment with platforms like Snapchat.
Ahna Hendrix / @AhnaHendrix
Facebook will be the most important social media channel in 2016 as they continue to integrate and grow their services to weave into our everyday lives. From banking to live-streaming, it's going to be interesting to watch what the largest social network will accomplish in the coming year.
Albert Qian / @AlbertQian
Blab will be the most important social media platform in 2016. As people move away from wanting to read content and would rather watch, videos will take precedence and popularity. Additionally, video will offer raw emotion for those taking part, adding another angle to social media marketing.
Anabella Acoca / @AAMPTY
2016 will be a great year for two platforms: YouTube and Snapchat. For YouTube. it's the early adopters (Gen Z) who'll win out, and Snapchat will benefit from increased popularity amongst Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers.
Anthony Denardis / @AnthonyDenardis
I feel that Facebook, in itself, is the most important channel, but Facebook Live will take it to a whole new level. Live will deepen relationships with novice users and businesses will find that they'll be able to reach many on the platform.
Ben Phillips / @Benfigo
Snapchat's going to continue growing dramatically as it matures. More and more small businesses will jump on it as it looks to overtake LinkedIn in active users - it'll soon be encroaching on the "big 3".
Bernie Borges / @BernieBorges
In 2016, Twitter will be acquired either by Google or IBM. It won't make Twitter the most important social channel, but it will enable a new level of data insight. If Google acquires Twitter, the data will largely fuel their advertising machine. If IBM acquires Twitter, the data will fuel cognitive engagement. My hope is the latter will happen - I want to see social become more cognitive.
Carlos Gil / @CarlosGil83
With Millennials expected to outspend baby boomers by 2017, social media marketers will shift their attention to platforms like Snapchat and Periscope to create content (as "micro moments"), connecting their brands with younger, yet engaged, audiences.
Chris Barrows / @CBarrows
The evolution of live-streaming will be essential, but the quality of the audio around it will be even more important. People have a demand for high quality audio meaning podcasts will continue to grow in 2016 with the new additions to Spotify and Google Music.
Chris Mikulin / @CMikulin
Just as video and live-streaming dominated 2015, expect to see more of this. I think there'll also be more focus on interactive media such as Facebook 360 and Snapchat's new chat feature.
Chris Strub / @ChrisStrub
Live-streaming will continue to elbow its way into the mainstream, as traditional media slowly but surely adapts to the changing way people are consuming information. Facebook Live and Periscope will exchange blows, eliminating Meerkat from the national conversation altogether, while each moving in the direction of user collaboration.
Christian Karasiewicz / @CKRocks
In 2016 we'll see a huge push into live-streaming video. 2015 gave us a taste of the power that live-streaming services can offer, from the likes of Periscope (which was named app of the year) and Meerkat. Towards the end of 2015, we saw the introduction of another live-streaming platform called Blab. At the time, it only seemed to catch on with marketers, so it still has lots of room for growth. At the beginning of December, Facebook rolled out Facebook Live video to everyone. With Facebook making a jump into live video, I feel this has set the bar for live-streaming to become mainstream in 2016. I expect more and more social networks to offer a direct tie-in to their own live-streaming tools within their core product.
Christin Kardos / @ChristinKardos
Live-streaming channels (Periscope and Facebook in particular) will be pivotal in 2016 because they'll see the most audience growth.
Daniel Newman / @DanielNewmanUV
Marketers will (finally) recognize social media as a channel, not a strategy. Social media isn't marketing, and it doesn't work as a "strategy" on its own, a fact that seems to have finally sunk into the collective marketing consciousness. Social media is one platform of many, a tactic that does a great job of supporting broad campaigns, yet flounders by itself. This distinction will shape marketing strategies and budgetary considerations in 2016.
Dennis Yu / @DennisYu
"Social media" doesn't mean anything anymore. The channel level specialist is dying, because everyone has to understand goals, content, and targeting - which are all channel independent. If you embrace this, then think about the customer across all the tools, instead of mastering just one platform or channel and not understanding the customer in depth.
Dino Dogan / @DinoDogan
Social media platforms will continue to be less and less social as they become more and more like delivery systems for ads. As more people realize that the use of our favorite platforms leads to status anxiety and depression, we'll see the resurgence of social media platforms that allow and encourage anonymity. As the cost of development drops we'll see a proliferation of new social media networks that are niche specific. LittleMonsters.com and Triberr.com are harbingers of this trend.
Dom Garrett / @DomGarrett
I believe it's going to be Snapchat. They have a user base that's consistently growing and they're creeping into the mainstream, based on active user numbers. The demo for them is 18-30 and those people are becoming the decision makers. The Presidential campaign will find a way to focus content for that platform, and in doing so, candidates will find a way to get that all important voting group to the polls as well.
Ekaterina Walter / @Ekaterina
Holistic experience management will trump fire-and-forget engagement approach. To earn the trust and loyalty of the educated, socially-savvy, global, connected consumer it isn't enough to distract them with short-term dazzle campaigns any more. To spark customer advocacy long-term, companies need to show that they care, by repeatedly enabling and managing meaningful experiences at every touch point
Ian Cleary / @IanCleary
Twitter will start to see a decline in user numbers. There are so many competing channels and we can't afford to spend the time on all channels. Twitter's not as important as it used to be - they should sell the platform before they start seeing the decline.
Jason Miller / @JasonMillerCA
2016 will be the year of amplification and personalization of content, using social as the distribution tool of choice for driving results. Less focus on organic, increased focus on paid, targeting, and personalization.
Jason Falls / @JasonFalls
Facebook. Because that's where the majority of people are and where most social engineering talent is. Plus, they care about improving their product while growing their business unlike most other platforms.
Jed Record / @JedRecord
Paid amplification of content will become the norm for companies trying to get their content in front of viewers. This will include more influencer marketing as well as a bigger shift towards social SEO activities.
Jess Bahr / @JessBahr
The most important social media channel is the one your future audience is on.
Jessika Phillips / @JessikaPhillips
A company's blog is the most important channel because it's their home base. I know it's not technically a social media channel, but it should be the most social place for a company. It should be the beginning and the end point of interactions with their target audience. In terms of an actual social media channel, Facebook will reign for most businesses because it's been their comfort zone and with all Facebook is doing with their ads, lead capture video AND what they're rolling out with Notes.
Joel Comm / @JoelComm
With mobile devices now as ubiquitous as coffee, we'll see a sharp increase in the number of people creating live video content. Just as YouTube brought rise to it's own platform stars, Periscope and Facebook Live will find us engaging with all kinds of new talent. Live streaming is the new blogging. Facebook's still the one to watch. They're pulling together the best features of other social sites under one umbrella. With no slowdown in sight. It's likely that Facebook will continue growing and becoming a one-stop shop for all things social.
Kasey Skala / @KMSkala
With Facebook opening the doors for more brands to utilize Instagram sponsored posts, it'll be interesting to watch how the platform evolves and matures. Current data indicates Instagram is a more highly engaged platform, but just as Instagram provides a lot of opportunity for brands to capitalize on the platform, it also provides a lot of opportunity for brands to misuse the platform and ruin its appeal for consumers.
Keri Jaehnig / @KeriJaehnig
Regularly publishing brand content will be of high importance as social media and content marketing are maturing. Those savvy enough to use a variety of media types to do that will lead their niches. As society becomes more visual-oriented, social networks offering image and video will soar in popularity. Those using video in their strategies will win, as this offers such an awesome opportunity to connect with customers and target market.
Lisa Loeffler / @LisaMLoeffer
People are growing to be more comfortable with sharing their personal and professional knowledge on social media as a means to help others. I hope to see more people break out of their fear shells and become the teachers they innately are. When we read real thoughts from our friends and colleagues it inspires us to push harder toward goals, happiness and experiences we want our lives to hold.
Lucy Rendler-Kaplan / @LucyRK78
Sadly, I think it'll be Facebook. People will pay to play and maximize their messaging. Now that Facebook has added live-streaming native to the app/site itself, I think that'll definitely attract a new audience to the platform.
Marc Guberti / @MarcGuberti
The most important social media channel in 2016 will be Instagram. Instagram ads recently rolled out and many people want a piece of the action. Businesses who start using Instagram now will have a head start.
Marji Sherman / @MarjiJSherman
Twitter will become more important as Periscope continues to grow, and as other networks continue to increase advertising prices. It'll be one of the only networks in 2016 where marketers can still be organically strategic in targeting relevant audiences.
Mark Schaefer / @MarkWSchaefer
Quite simple - overwhelming information density. This is the mega-trend impacting every strategy, budget and innovation in our field right now. How do you cut through and stand out? Facebook's aggressive move into publishing will disrupt many marketing plans and jeopardize the traditional inbound marketing model.
Marsha Collier / @MarshaCollier
For social media outreach to be successful, it needs to connect with a customer. Unless your goal is to be an "internet celebrity", your strategy needs to become less "look at me" and more "engage with me." Social media is a partnership between you and your community - not just your top 100 followers. Build a community.
Martin Jones / @MartinJonesAZ
Facebook will continue to be the most important channel, even though organic reach for brands has diminished.
Martin Shervington / @MartinSherv
Virtual reality is the next platform, and next year we'll see the start of it appearing in social. This will radically change how we produce and consume content, as well as push the boundaries in creativity and connectivity.
Meghan M. Biro / @MeghanMBiro
I like to look at the world of social through an HR Tech and organizational branding lens. I think that social media will continue to grow as a recruiting tool, building social brands that will attract active and passive candidates. The evolution of reaching more than just friends - including customers, influencers and even potential employees - is rapidly changing.
Melonie Dodaro / @MelonieDodaro
In 2016 I see more marketers participating in live-streaming. It's a unique way to engage in a more meaningful way with your community. I think with Facebook entering the live streaming arena we'll see more mainstream adoption, which to date has been a little challenging for new platforms such as Blab and Periscope. I also see marketers becoming more active in producing videos as you no longer have to invest in expensive high resolution videos, people are looking for more authentic content versus polished and professional videos.
Michael Stelzner / @Mike_Stelzner
2015 marks the start of an era of live casting, with the introduction of new technology such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab. 2016 will take some of these live tools to an entirely new level with the introduction of live 360 degree broadcasts that'll allow people to move their mobile phones and experience the action as if they were actually present and moving their heads. In addition, we'll see the wide-scale adoption of cost-effective virtual reality devices that will enable fully immersive 3D experiences. Much of this will be enabled by low cost 360 cameras, like the Ricoh Theta, combined with economical devices, like Google Cardboard, that transform the smart phones everyone already owns into virtual reality devices. This represents an entirely new opportunity for marketers to give factory tours and any other forms of in-person experience - the mind can imagine.
Mitch Jackson Esq. / @MitchJackson
People, not channels, will dominate social media in 2016. Digital platforms and solutions that easily allow people to show their human side by using real-time, bi-directional live-streaming (think Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab) will rule the social space for many years to come. I know marketers and influencers all love podcasting, and this may not be very popular to say, but just like what television did to radio years ago, I think live-streaming will do to most of the social media channels, including podcasting. The fact of the matter is that people like to look other people in the digital eyeballs, and live-streaming allows you to do just that. Now that we're all 24/7 mobile publishing companies, live-streaming is going to be a game changer - and frankly, will change the world.
Neal Schaffer / @NealSchaffer
I believe that Facebook will become the Google of social media in the not so distant future, and as such, it'll continue to be the most important social media channel in 2016. WhatsApp and Messenger provide opportunities for Facebook to become a central mobile platform for communication and commerce, similar to what WeChat has achieved in China, and the recent addition of Facebook Moments as well as experiments with a Yelp type option will see Facebook continue to position themselves as the center of our social media activities. Don't forget that Facebook now owns the 2nd largest social network in terms of monthly users too, in Instagram.
Nick Cicero / @NickCicero
My prediction for 2016 is that we'll see brands start to use influencers more intelligently. I think we'll start to see more brands looking to popular YouTubers, Snapchatters, Podcasters, to help build a relationship with their audience, and not just make a quick splash.
Nick Haase / @NickAtLoot
In 2016 we'll see the deepest engagement tool ever created on social - 360 interactive video - explode. Not only is the engagement ideal for brands (interacting with video provides strong purchasing information and data), but it'll also lead to more 3D content that will drive VR adoption and the ultimate social media holy grail - VR social media networks.
Owen Hemsath / @OwenHemsath
YouTube will win the next year and here's why- everyone will be Periscoping, Blabbing, Facebook Live'ing, and whatever other new tech comes on the scene. YouTube, however, owns watch time. YouTube owns brand sponsorship; YouTube owns sales funnels. The other cool apps will be great for engaging audiences - and they might even make a pretty good income for talented creators - but fortunes will be made on YouTube's platform because it exists on mobile, desktop, television and other streaming devices. The other apps will be used like blogs - teasers for the big content, which will be found exclusively on YouTube.
Rachel Miller / @RachelLouMiller
Digital eyeballs... wherever you choose to show your face in real-time will be your most powerful communication channel. No more hiding behind stock photos and clever words - people want to see you being real, raw, and bringing your best.
Ryan Paugh / @RyanPaugh
Even more opportunity for Community Managers. As the social media landscape continues to become overpopulated brands will seek out talented community managers who can cut through the noise and build meaningful relationships with people. If building community is your thing, it's a great time to invest in building your personal brand so new career opportunities come your way in 2016.
Ryan Pena / @iRyanPena
The most important channels are different for different people, dependent on where their audience is at. That said, platforms like Periscope and Snapchat will continue to push other big players to evolve in the live video space. We're already seeing it happen, but it will carry into 2016 in a big way.
Saba Sedighi / @SabaSedighi
We've reached a point where most social networks have become robust, noisy and "pay-to-play" platforms. 2016 will be all about the most engaging content - 360 videos and gifs will rule our feeds. Also we'll see increased partnership with current utility apps we use, such as Uber announcing their integration with Facebook Messenger.
Samantha Klein / @SamJoyK
We'll witness the death of every brand desperately trying to create their own "Oreo Moment." Brands will start focusing less on 'real-time' and more on 'right time'. To achieve this, marketers will start doing more listening and less talking.
Sarah Evans / @PRSarahEvans
We'll see more live video integration with the ability for viewers to interact through purchases, shares, etc. The development of more "real" campaigns (e.g. REI's closed on Black Friday) with companies being held more accountable to being good stewards. Ability to do more e-commerce through social channels.
Tayo Rockson / @TayoRockson
Live-steaming will become the TV show of choice for Millennials and companies like Facebook and Twitter will incorporate more live-streaming components to their platforms.
Ted Coine / @TedCoine
Influencer Marketing will be the "it" next practice of 2016 - we're already just about there. The Wild West chaos we face regarding influencer pay will be at least partially tamed. Brands that pay fairly will reap outsized rewards till their competitors catch up.
Vincent Orleck / @VincentOrleck
I see live-streaming as a whole growing in a big way. We're already seeing Facebook launch live video to the masses, and I see that functionality growing there, as well as on Twitter. I think Twitter will start integrating Periscope even further into users' feeds so that as you scroll you'll see live streams as they're happening from people you follow, and even sponsored ads featuring live-streaming video.
Viveka Von Rosen / @LinkedInExpert
As content delivery gets more sophisticated, I predict that we'll be given even more accessible and affordable tools that marry analytics with content delivery. Whether its more sophisticated marketing automation, content micro-delivery to very niche markets or new platforms built to host and deliver specific content - one size fits all doesn't fit AT ALL anymore. It's pretty obvious that tools which allow us to curate the best content to our best audiences with the best conversion will get our attention and our money in 2016
What's your social media prediction for 2016? What do you think will be the most important social media channel in 2016 and why? Leave a comment below.