How will social media evolve in the future? Let’s get the answer from Mr. Jackie Owen, a guest blogger here.
I bet every one of you reading this article to be on at least one social media platform right? To be honest, who are not on social these days?
The way social media have been developing is quite fascinating. After Facebook was launched back in 2004, the way we are connected on the internet has changed than ever since. But, seeing from today’s perspective, we all know social media can and has the potential to evolve into a much greater platform.
In fact, it is a revolutionary on the internet in my opinion. Don’t believe me? Check out this data from Google trend in the last five years. You can clearly see that the trend is rising year on year.
Without much being said, let’s dive into 10 things, of how social media will evolve in the future.
1. More privacy and security
Privacy has always been the main concern on social media and internet as a whole. This is because on platform like this, we have our information exposed to the platform.
Take Facebook for an example, we sign up for the Facebook account, we need to fill out some basic information about us right? And as we keep on using it, we are prompted to fill out other related information as well.
These data are then collected by the social media giants. This is same for all kind of social media platform. Nevertheless, we still trust these platforms to keep our privacy in secure.
But what happened recently to Facebook data breach is what put every internet giants especially social media platforms into questions. Are our information really safeguarded?
Because the way social media are designed, there is no way we can avoid this (provide our information to them). But what we have really seen is they are pushing towards data privacy and security more than ever before.
Facebook has gone through major updates and renovation in terms of data management. Other platforms are following the footprints as they have become alerted and they knew that this is going to be a major factors and issues in near future.
2. Video will become primary type of content
Video has become a major trend and type of content people prefer to consume. In fact, it is what makes YouTube the second largest search engine in the world.
Who doesn’t love videos right? Videos are versatile and engaging content format that not only give us a real-life picture of what is going on; they are also easy to share across multiple platforms. Consumers like them because they are easy to digest, entertaining and engaging.
They are also much loved type of content for marketers because they can potentially give huge return of investments (ROI).
Because social media are designed for people to connect, share contents and engage, videos are a perfect fit for this. Major platform like Facebook and Instagram are pushing hard for videos.
Instagram’s recent algorithm give more preferences to videos when they are ranking for the content.
In fact, a study by Cisco stated that by 2020, 75% of the mobile traffic will be video. So now you know what type of content to create on social media right? Hmm, you also should develop overall content marketing skill.
3. Heavily focused on AR technology
The world changes very fast these days, so does technology. The much talked about in recent years are AI and AR.
Now, I bet you have heard or know something about AI. But what is AR exactly? Let me explain this.
AR or Augmented Reality is often confused with virtual reality, but the two are quite different technologies. While there are certain similarities, virtual reality implies creating a whole new world from scratch – a simulation of the real and the imagined world, whether it’s going back in time to walk with dinosaurs in realistic landscapes, or travelling to an imagined future where nothing feels familiar.
Augmented reality on the other hand, takes the real world and projects virtual, computer-generated augmentations to it, in order to enhance our experiences.
The famous platform which has implemented AR is Snapchat. You know, those fancy camera filters like dogs filters, 3D bitmoji and pretty much all of its camera features are powered by AR technology.
And just like it’s stories feature, other social media platform like Facebook and Instagram have also copied this feature, and have been developing on it.
This is because AR will not only be just some fancy camera filters anymore. The potential is endless with this technology. The reason being it can drastically improve engagement experience on social media.
Some potential features of AR in social media future:
- AR live events
- AR videos
- Create more brand awareness
- Enhance buying experience, and a lot more!
4. Become primary source of news information
As internet slowly replacing TV and newspaper, more and more people prefer to consume information especially news on the internet.
According to Forbes, 50 percent of Internet users surveyed said that they hear about the latest news via social media before ever hearing about it on a news station.
According to the survey many internet users will see the breaking stories on their feed and go to the news sites to learn more. The survey found 57 percent increase in traffic to news sites referred from social media.
This is because information are spreaded out so fast on social media. From one person to another and eventually the whole world knows about it. Facebook and Twitter have become main source of news. The moment something important happen, you can instantly see that topic’s hashtag become trending.
But don’t forget, among the information, there will always be some fake ones and that is probably some disadvantages of social media marketing for business and data consumption. Next point is how these social media platforms can tackle this problem.
5. Data segmentation and the use of AI
AI has become the future of human generation. Because it can help reduce the workload of human being, as well as mimic human intelligence, They are the next big thing.
With this advantage, social media platforms have implemented AI into their algorithm in the recent years. The algorithm mostly responsible for ranking social post, deciding which contents to display to which type of users, groping of data and much more.
With data on social media becoming more and more complex, AI in the social media algorithm need to be adapted. One of the big components is fake news and sensitive data.
In near future, AI will do better and better in segmenting data, and make sure that the algorithms provide the best content possible. Fake news and sensitive information will be filtered out in a more advanced way than today (some of the information still need to be filtered out manually by human) and overall the information consumption experience will be enhanced more and more.
I cannot stress enough how important AI will be to human future, and social media as a whole. The more we develop, as so AI. Ultimately, we may reach the point where AI can fully replace human beings. Could be possible right? What you think? Please let me know in the comment section.
6. Can do stuffs online more than ever before
With people becoming more and more ”lazy” and are depending on technologies to make their lifestyles much more easier and comfortable, it’s not surprising if social media platform will start implementing some additional services.
Now, you can book a service or order food online with a matter of clicks or just by using voice assistant like Siri using additional services or through Google. Social media platforms may potentially find this as a great way to grow their businesses.
As you see, right now you can buy products through the Facebook marketplace and Instagram store. Surely, in the near future, social media can do more than this. This could include things like pay money using their own cryptocurrency, book movie tickets, etc. – you name it!
The core idea of why they would be interested in doing so is because all of the stuffs we usually do online can be focused or presented on a single platform.
The ability of social media to connect is also another reason why this would prove to be a powerful features if implemented.
7. Engagement will become more important
Engagement, engagement, engagement. Why are we hearing this term everywhere nowadays? Well, this is because it really shows that your contents are being interested among the people.
There used to be times in the past when likes and follows are the main factors of representing how popular or authoritative of your content or profile is on social media.
But because these two features can be easily fabricated (fake likes and followers), social media algorithm’s will now be heavily focused on engagement, mainly comments, shares and live features.
We started seeing this in the past few years on Instagram, Facebook and even on LinkedIn. The post which gets lots of comments, replies or live video feed gets ranked and reach better than simple text, images or even the one with lots of likes but no comments.
So make sure when you are posting on social media, focus on video (as mentioned in the above point), and the contents are engaging. Ask questions in the post and try replying to every comment.
8. Will represent themselves as certain types of information search engines
Now, this is obviously social media going to position themselves for in the near future. Some of them already have done it – YouTube, platforms for videos and world second largest search engine.
Each social media platform has their own unique type of information or what they focus on. As these platforms collect more and more data, they can truly dominate certain type information and clearly represent themselves as “search engine”.
Take LinkedIn for an example. It is used to find jobs and connect like minded people in businesses. Do you think in the next 2-5 years, with more and more professionals joining LinkedIn, can they truly become the world’s largest job finding search engine? Possible right?
And with the potential feature mentioned above that more and more stuffs online could be done through social media, people will start to use these platforms more of like a place to find certain type of information, rather than always head to Google.
So the potential here is huge and probable.
9. Automation and chatbots will become more advance:
This feature will definitely benefit you if you have a business online. For businesses, responses and replies to customers are essentials.
Imagine, if you are a potential client looking for some online service, and you happen to message a service provider on Facebook, but no reply after some time. What will you do?
Obviously you are going to find other provider right? Sure, currently there’s an auto-responder feature but imagine a human like chatbot literally replying to your customer and ultimately closes the deal. Wouldn’t that be great?
The market of chatbots and automation has been a great trend over the past few years. More and more human-like features are being implemented and developed. In the near future, it could be possible that you the bots can literally close a deal or sell you a product while you are asleep. Who knows?
10. More and more “social on social” community will arise:
This would not come as a surprise as the more people get connected, the greater the community will be and grow.
With many social media supporting group like features, this make it much more easier to form a mini social network community around certain topics. In the future, I think, as more and more such type communities are formed, information in certain niche or topics can be easily found or filtered.
Social media platform then will not be just a platform anymore, but rather a supporting platform, giving the opportunity for these mini social community to represent their own social media as their own platform.
And that’s all for the 10 things that social media will and has the potential to evolve in the future. Many of them are happening right now and we can clearly observe this, and the trend is rising as well.
Some feature, however, maybe probable as with the popularity and huge investments into these platforms, the possibilities are endless.
As more and more people depend on technologies and connection using the internet, social media will continue to evolve.
So what do you think of these trends? Do you have any other ideas or logical reasons for how social media will evolve in this near future? Let me know in the comment section.
Jakie Owen, writer of this article, is the founder of www.techjackie.com. He is a web developer and online marketer.