Isentia recently announced its predictions of the three key social media and content trends for 2016.
Let’s take look at what we can expect.
News is the new battleground
As news breaks it disseminates into various tiers of the public forum and the battle begins between news platforms to gain audience attention.
Social media is one of the bigger players when it comes to the distribution of news and current affairs content– it’s one of the first places people look, and in 2013, over 160 million links to outbound publishers were shared globally.
As an example, at the time of the devastating Paris terror attacks in November 2015, I first came across the upsetting information through Facebook (BBC Trending provides some interesting insights onto how the attacks unfolded on social media).
According to media intelligence company Isentia, the public may discover news through social, but we don’t necessarily trust the source completely, and we still use official news websites to confirm and clarify. This may even represent a battle of its own for social media platforms and apps. Other than Facebook, the likes of WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram are all jostling to become the social ‘outlet of choice’ for traditional and new media organisations that have struggled for some years to find a solution to the decline of traditional news reporting.
Even Apple has recognised the importance of social platforms and applications providing news with their specific ‘News’ app. Not only are traditional news outlets competing against new forms of media for an audience, but social media platforms and apps are upping the game to become legitimate sources and genuine news breakers.
Quality over quantity – make better content
Too much content lacks value – and 2016 should be the year for more people to realise this. Ensuring distributed content is relevant, interesting and worth the post can be challenging, but this trend should drive the creation of better quality content that leads to a greater number of views and shares (and greater return on investment).
It’s important to stay engaged with your followers and understand the way they’re interacting with the content you share. Quality should always trump quantity – 100,000 followers, but fewer than 10% liking or sharing content is poor on any engagement score. Only 1000 followers, but they actively participate with the content? Quality speaks for itself.
According to Isentia, Twitter’s monthly users might total a staggering 320 million, but the social media giant is struggling as user growth declines compared to previous years. Social media is continually evolving and Twitter simply hasn’t kept up with the advances, with no truly dramatic enhancement to the platform since its development in 2006.
Originally, Twitter’s renowned 140 character limit separated it from the rest, but there are rumours of this moving to 10,000 – a positive in the sense that Twitter recognises the need to adapt and change. However, it’s the brevity of information – those 140 characters – that differentiates the platform in the first place – and wholesale changes could be a disaster.
In the spirit of innovation, this brings us to Twitter 2.0 – the prediction that Twitter will redesign itself – simply because it has to if it wants to last. Features such as live video, group conversations, improved advertising products and direct targeting could be added to revive the platform and provide users with more options and diversity.
So, while 2016 gears up to be another fast-paced year for social media and digital technology, content creators need look ahead, identify the trends as they take shape and plan accordingly.
Gala Nikolic was a recent Communications Vacationer with Deloitte Corporate Affairs and Communications team in Sydney. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Communications, Public Relations and Advertising at Western Sydney University.