For the last few years, social media has been all the rage in internet marketing. But if we can learn anything from taking a look at the history of marketing, it’s that no trend lasts forever. Eventually, fads reach their peak and begin to slowly decline, and then a new innovation takes place.

Social media is no different. In fact, we’re already beginning to see its decline. People are spending less time on social than they used to. And as companies try to monetize the platforms more efficiently, the ROI from advertising on social is falling. Many marketers believe that we’re truly nearing the brink of a social media burnout.

So the question then is, what’s next? After social media falls, what will take its place?

Trends that Are Predicted to Replace the Current State of Social Media

We don’t know for sure yet what the future of internet marketing will look like after the decline in social media, but we have a couple theories. Here are some trends that we predict will take place in the near future.

Different & New Social Media Platforms

One of our main theories is that social media won’t dissipate entirely, but instead evolve into something different. We think that in the future, we will see the rise of new and different social media platforms. We’ve seen this kind of change take place before when Facebook emerged and replaced Myspace and Tumblr.

We think that new social media platforms will require less and less eyeball time. We’ve seen this kind of change already in the emergence of and rise in popularity of Instagram. It takes much less time to look at a couple of photos on Instagram than to read a couple articles on Facebook. Marketers will develop new ways to reach people on social more quickly and effectively.

Niching Down

With only a limited amount of time and capacity to reach people, it will be imperative for brands to identify the right social media. We predict that in the future, we will see the emergence of more niche social media platforms. Why? Because it makes sense from a business standpoint. In order to continue making money, social media platforms will have to find ways to provide a better ROI to the businesses that advertise on them.

A more targeted use of social media offers this. And that means niching down. Certain industries benefit more from certain social platforms because they’re more relevant to their niche.

For example, home decor brands experience a better ROI from Pinterest than they do from Twitter. Fitness brands receive more interaction on Instagram than they do on Facebook. While there may be SEO benefits, there aren’t really any true social benefits.

It’s not really worth the time and effort to maintain a social media presence on platforms that don’t apply to your industry. That’s why we expect to see the emergence of new, more industry-targeted social platforms.

Video Marketing

Another trend that we expect to place is a rise in video marketing on social media. We have already seen this trend beginning to take place.

Youtube is truly one of the most underrated social media platforms. While some people may not perceive it as social media, it truly is social. Users post content, respond to the community, and interact in many of the same ways.

But the great thing about Youtube is that there’s the added benefit of providing education or a narrative to users. For example, plumbers are teaching you how to change your own sprinkler heads. Or makeup artists are telling you how to use a certain eyeshadow. This builds credibility and creates trust in the consumer. And with video, the engagement levels are much higher.

Some social media platforms have already caught onto this. That’s why we’ve seen the emergence of things like Facebook Live and Instagram TV. We predict that businesses who can benefit from this type of educational marketing will continue to find a stronger need for social platforms that support video. Thus, we expect to see the emergence of new video-centric social media platforms in the future.

The Key Takeaway – Have a Strategy!

So what can we learn from all of these changes? The reason that social media is changing is because it’s evolving into something more niche related. Accurate targeting is an essential part of marketing. If social platforms can help businesses reach their targeted audience more efficiently, businesses will use them more.

So the key thing to take away here is that it’s important to be strategic about how you use social media. Don’t just use social because it’s something everyone talks about. Have a strategy. Unless you’re using social purely for SEO, of course. If you’re going to spend money on social media, it’s important to make sure that the social platforms you invest in are aligned with your niche.

Develop a Strategy for your Business

Don’t have a social media marketing strategy? Aren’t sure where to start? Let us help. Call today to learn more about our marketing and consulting services for small businesses.