Strategies for Assessing Emerging Social Networks: Part I

It’s difficult not to notice the growing contribution that social media continues to make to the global cultural fabric. Watch any evening news program and reference to social media or a specific network will be made in relation to a current event at least once. The major platforms – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – experienced growth in major metric areas such as monthly active users and participation outside the U.S. in 2014.

More recent additions to the social networking scene, like Pinterest and Instagram, for example, also played pivotal marketing roles for many major brands last year. Instagram, launched in 2010, hit a new member high, surpassing Twitter, a more established network. Pinterest, which began in 2010 as an online visual scrapbooking site comprised namely of female members, recently announced that male users are the largest growing demographic on its site. In some respects, change is occurring more rapidly to newer rather than “older” social networking sites.

In addition to market segment growth, several impactful social media trends will continue in 2015:

  • Mobile engagement:
    As technology improves and becomes even more accessible, smart devices will become smarter.
  • Use of imagery:
    Networks like Instagram and Pinterest will continue to grow as consumers demand and expect quick and easy access to online images. On average, engagement rates are higher for posts that include video or photography.
  • Personalized Experiences:
    Rather than sift through huge social networks comprised of millions of users with varied interests, some social media consumers now also seek direct access to niche communities where they can exchange ideas with like-minded users. Highly specialized social networks for chefs, healthcare professionals and baristas have already garnered notable numbers of followers. Just as the adage holds, there’s “An association for everything,” so too will there soon be a social network.

 

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