5 Trends That Will Define Your 2015 Social Success

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By Carrie Tylawsky

The only thing scarier than seeing your coworkers kitted out in their Halloween costumes today or the Snapchat ghost? Realizing that tomorrow is November 1st and that means...2015 planning! Most marketers have already started thinking about January 1st and beyond (especially since we all know that the holidays mean that several weeks are basically a wash), but there are a few things to think about before delving into that New Year's resolutions campaign. I talk to a lot of brands every day and there are definitely some themes that keep popping up that will impact 2015. Depending on how they're treated, these trends can either set you up for huge success or set you back. Here are the five main things that I think you should be thinking about now during your 2015 planning.

1. Social media platforms simultaneously have a huge bargaining chip AND a massive increase in responsibility with access to consumer data.

Right now we are experiencing the simultaneous rise of consumers recognizing their need to increase their own privacy on social media while brands are recognizing the huge opportunity and ability to demonstrate ROI by tapping into the data that is so available. Social platforms are going to be tasked with the challenge of making both ends of the spectrum happy, and they will need to put in place a formulaic approach so that brands can use the platform as a highly successful marketing tool but also maintain the comfort for the consumers that is so incredibly prized. To ensure your brand keeps ahead of the curve, start thinking about what data you really care about. What are you willing to pay for? What will your internal team be able to use? If you can prioritize those metrics now, you will be able to quickly make decisions when there are changes to privacy settings in 2015, and you will know what's most important for your brand to stay on that platform.

2. With micro-video on the rise, you will want to account for that in any budgets you're requesting and when allocating resources toward social media.

For such a quick piece of content (e.g. an "InstaVid" at 15 seconds or less), there is a huge amount of work, including concepting, storyboarding, setting up the shoot, filming, editing, re-editing, polishing, adding graphics, posting, commenting, evaluating those comments, gaining feedback, drawing insights, and then starting all over again. In order to stay relevant, brands will need to invest in video production.

3. Marketers and web developers are going to become the best of friends.

Now is the time to start including your web team, IT department, coders, etc. in on your marketing plans. You are going to want to make changes to your website so that you can own your own content. Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, but you always have to be thinking about what your own brand delivers and where you ultimately want your consumer to land. If that's on your website for information, e-commerce, lead generation, traffic, or really anything else, you're going to want consistent, valuable, interesting content updates that will keep them coming back.

4. Marketers with a background in psychology will become more relevant than marketers with a background in almost anything else.

With the advancement of advertising and targeting techniques, the typical "demographics" of age, gender, basic interests, location, etc. are going to be the bare foundation of what you're looking at. Much more important will be the psycho-graphics of your consumers. Where do they spend their time? What motivates them? What sorts of behaviors or tendencies do they have? What sort of consumer are they? Persona development will go beyond the grain of surface-level specification and into the intricacies of how we live our lives.

5. Company statements will be secondary to leadership statements.

People want your brand to be human. They want to see the point of view of the people who formed this company. They want to see vulnerability, and they want to see you take a stance on something. Now is the perfect time to develop a "just in case" document that outlines who will be responsible for doing what if anyone from the leadership of your company needs to make a statement. When the time comes, you want to have a process in place that will ensure everyone remain level-headed and calm, no matter what you're announcing (good and bad!).

What other trends do you think should make the list as you're preparing for 2015? Share in the comments below!