There are now more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide, and that sum is growing at a brisk clip of 25% each year. Businesses haven’t failed to noticed the runaway expansion of social media. Nine out of 10 U.S. companies are now active on social networks. The same overwhelming percentage of those are reporting seeing increased exposure as a result, and more than half say their social media efforts are boosting sales.
So what’s in store for 2016? Here’s a look at five trends that appear set to change how businesses use social media in the year ahead.
For years now, we’ve been promised that a new generation of internal social networks—for use within companies by employees—will put a swift death to email. No more hunting through your inbox for information. No more endless reply-all threads from hell. And yet email has lumbered on.
But maybe not for long. Slack has proven a game-changer. Its intuitive interface, built around themed chat rooms and searchable archives, has propelled it to more than 1.25 million active business users in just two years’ time, from the team at NASA to the team at your local coffee shop. And Slack already has a sizable cohort of competitors going after a piece of the pie.
Meanwhile, Facebook at Work is currently in trial mode with select companies, and itmay soon be opened up to general use in the coming year as a freemium tool. Considering that much of the world is already on Facebook, expect adoption to soar once Facebook at Work finally becomes available.
Nearly 80% of businesses now have a dedicated social media team. But many still struggle to reach an audience. 2016 will see companies turn increasingly to an underused resource in the effort to get the word out: their own employees. Employee social advocacy programs, which encourage staff to share updates about the business on their own social media accounts, have grown by 191% since 2013 and are due to take off in the year ahead.