The headway made by social media apps has been stunning over the past few years. According to Statista, there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe in 2019, up from 2.46 billion in 2017.
People’s interest in social networks is moving the social media ecosystem forward. Users want to connect with friends, colleagues, and brands on a personal level.
In 2018, brands will continue to engage with their audiences through social networks like Instagram and Facebook. To acquire a wider reach, brands can showcase themselves online, present recent activities, and promote their products and services. This approach makes brands more transparent and consumer-centric, giving an idea of their life behind the scenes.
By observing the kinds of interactions that users have in the online social sector, we can identify the prevailing trends and predict its future direction.
Various sites make effective use of chatbots, which are programs that imitate human interactions based on keywords that a visitor types in the chat field. Users live in different time zones, and it’s difficult for them to communicate with each other. Chatbots are handy for brands that don’t want to miss new clientele that live in a different time zone.
Looking at the history of chatbots, we see major growth throughout the previous year that’s likely to continue.
Source: Google Trends
There are more than 100,000 chatbots in use on Facebook Messenger alone to gather information, give product guidance, and take orders. In fact, chatbots have been shown to increase organizational productivity up to 3.5 times.
What’s more, chatbots can be adjusted to guide users down the purchase funnel by giving answers to typical questions. For example, when a visitor lands on a shopping site, a chatbot can pop up with a welcome message. The visitor can then ask typical questions about size, color, shipping details, and so on. The website’s employee only needs to get the order and prepare it.
People Google everything from the simple to the outrageous. But sometimes they go online to receive encouragement, and this is where online mentoring and social support come in. Many people are ashamed to talk about their problems or simply have no one to go to. This drives them to seek relief online.
On counseling websites, people can send their requests and get replies quickly from licensed professionals. Seeking online counseling is a developing trend among young adults and teenagers.
At present, online counseling is largely done through email. Certified staff respond to requests sent by those in need of life guidance. This developing trend can open doors to a whole new market and enhance the way the social sector operates to reach a greater audience.
In support of a need for online counseling, residents of the US and UK have been actively Googling how to raise children.
And there are many more topics that people Google, such as how to talk to a girl, how to find friends, and how to deal with bullying at school. So it’s likely that the social counseling will translate into digital solutions with dedicated platforms that offer professional advice to people seeking relief from their concerns and pains.
Since people are emotional beings, we need an outlet for our feelings no matter what online platform we’re using. Oftentimes, users want to express themselves with emojis, GIFs, or short videos. Viber and Telegram offer a lot of stickers, for example. Users can choose from many kinds of emojis that represent emotions. Social networking platforms enhance emojis to boost social media posts.
Both business and personal communications are already happening in digital hangouts via video calls and voice calls. Skype will remain relevant, but there are equally good options for users to connect with each other on all-inclusive platforms like Viber and WhatsApp by means of video and voice calls.
YouTube tops the list of sites with video content, yet it doesn’t allow users to edit or trim videos. Therefore, Vine-like apps will remain relevant. Users want to be creative in their approach to videos and make original video content with their smart devices.
Typing a message to a friend, family member, or colleague can be time-consuming if you have a lot to say. iOS and Android devices have a very useful feature that lets users send voice messages. Users can speak a message and the device will turn this speech into plain text. Or social apps such as Telegram and Viber let users record voice messages instead of typing. Many users will take advantage of these features in 2018 instead of typing when they’re on the go.
Gen Xers and millennials exchange their impressions on various occasions, and they are likely to use mobile devices to discuss their travel, job-related, learning experiences and more. There are so many events happening all the time, and people want to make their peers part of those experiences in the moment with online streaming.
In terms of live streaming, YouTube and Facebook are tied neck-and-neck, with Snapchat close behind. Netflix and Hulu have already opened the door for users to receive live content on social platforms. The 2016 presidential debates in the US were the most popular live streams in history.
Brands will also enter the live streaming space in a more active way in the coming years. From product launches to social campaigns, live streams will help brands connect with their audiences in real-time. With live streams, viewers can react while an event is happening, providing market analysts with immediate feedback to better understand how a campaign or product is perceived.
Augmented reality (AR) has penetrated the social media sector. Users seek outlets for their individuality and ways to entertain themselves, and AR can perfectly meet their goals. Snapchat and Instagram already offer masks for faces. They will soon also support filters that allow users to take selfies with friends or celebrities projected via AR. Meanwhile, brands can project their products into the homes of social media users through special filters.
Interesting piece of news: Snapchat was the first social network to truly explore AR integrations. To feed their users’ massive interest in AR, Snapchat launched “Lens Studio”, an app that allows users to create augmented reality Lenses. According to the Snapchat business blog, around 70 million Snapchat users are applying Lenses daily for at least three minutes a day.
Brands already rely on social listening tools. Social listening is the practice of tracking conversations that revolve around specific phrases, words, or brands. Marketers can tap into social data to perform quantitative, qualitative, and contextual analysis of keywords, hashtags, and hot topics that social network users are interested in. Later on, these findings can be used by brands to create better marketing campaigns, refine content strategies, and improve the overall customer experience.
Besides social interactions, users also love game-like experiences. Companies generate significant revenue from microtransactions and immersive gaming experiences. Soon, we’ll see apps emerge that try to blend social media and gaming more organically.
Social media development has migrated to the digital space. People are social creatures who want to communicate. Users have gravitated away from TVs. Phones, tablets, and computers have become the primary sources for receiving news and entertainment. Online social presence attracts individuals and enterprises alike.
Social media will only expand its reach, creating unforgettable social interactions for users and a prospective market for investors. We’ve built Spotvice, an app for friends who like travelling and want to exchange their experiences and talk about travel-related topics.
Contact us with your idea and vision for a social media platform and we’ll deliver a high-quality app at a reasonable price.