Every day, I hear about a new social media tool via an email, social media update or a comment on my blog.
We have a database of over 1,000 social media tools that is constantly growing.
It’s big business and it’s expanding, but it’s also a challenging business because tool providers have to make ongoing changes to keep up with platform updates and there’s a big demand for better and better functionality.
In a recent Twitter chat on #Bufferchat, I talked about some trends so, in this post, I am going to take you through some of the social media tool trends I see happening.
5 Social Media Tool Trend
You can listen to it hear or read on!
1. Improved Optimization of Others Sharing Our Content
There are plenty of tools available that enable social sharing of your content, including plugins on our blog, sharing buttons on your browser or sharing capabilities directly through apps.
Most of these provide some level of analytics that display what happens when you share content. But that’s not enough.
Most people ignore these analytics and don’t really know what to do with them.
What we need are solutions that automatically track what’s working/not working and make suggestions to us.
For example, Flare (the social sharing plugin on this site) now provides good analytics where I can see who is sharing my content and the percentage of shares on our site compared to visitors. This is very useful and it’s a step forward. Now, it needs to allow me to enter multiple titles for any tweets and Facebook updates it sends out and then it needs to automatically optimize for the best title.
Buffer also needs to implement this functionality. It has great social sharing but it does need to help with the optimization of this sharing.
Next year, you’ll be getting email reports from tools saying that headline A worked better than headline B, so headline B was used more for social sharing. These smarter sharing techniques will mean we’ll see an uplift in the traffic we get, thanks to sharing with titles that resonate better with our target audience.
2. Facebook Application Providers Will Disappear
I wrote a detailed post about this recently.
It’s easy to build an application and get it up and running. You get a bit of money and then raise your first round of money from the 3 FFFs – Friends, Fools and Family.
But, then, it starts to get more difficult because you need to reach out and convince investors to invest substantial sums of money.
Imagine you have a company providing Facebook Page management functionality or Facebook competition software. What are your chances of getting your next big round of funding?
Slim to none.
There are many reasons it will be difficult:
a) There are literally hundreds of companies providing these types of apps and differentiation is difficult. Most will disappear in their current form.
b) Facebook is constantly changing the rules. This means you’re a high-risk investment if your eggs are all in the Facebook basket!
c) We don’t want Facebook-only functionality. Companies are on multiple platforms and want solutions that support all these platforms.
Providers that offer Facebook-only functionality will either disappear or their offerings will become more cross-platform. We are seeing this happen already.
- AgoraPulse recently added Twitter to their platform support – don’t be surprised if there is more to come.
- Post Planner promoted itself as Facebook-only but will soon support Twitter.
- Antavo have repositioned themselves and now provide ‘contest and loyalty software’ that is cross-platform.
- Tabsite’s tagline is ‘Easy, powerful promotions for Web, Mobile and Facebook’.
These are all great companies but they have seen the writing on the wall. Who hasn’t?
3. Improved Tools for Optimizing Blog Content
I really like the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, which helps you optimize your content for Google, but the plugin could do with a bit of a revamp based on how Google is indexing content. I expect to see this update in 2015, together with other tools providing major updates in this area.
One of the items on this plugin’s checklist is to ensure that you have mentioned the keyword you want to rank for multiple times within your blog content.
However, Google is going to focus more on relevance of the content as opposed to direct keyword matching. So it’s going to be more important to have tools that have a relevancy score based on the content in your post rather than just keyword matching.
One very interesting tool we’re testing out in this area is InboundWriter. This helps you come up with a title that will have a good chance of getting traffic and it will tell you the related terms that are important to use within your content.
The tool analyzes the top 50 results in Google and tells you the best topics to focus on for traffic, as well as the best related core terms to use within your content.
Atomic Reach is another interesting tool that analyzes the text you write and tells you what to change so that it resonates with your audience better. We are currently testing this out.
So, expect to see new tools coming to this space and look out for news on existing tools that are revamped.
4. Improved Functionality For Us to Share Our Own Content Better
When I write a new blog post, I want to share it out a lot when it’s first published. But I also want to continue to share it on an ongoing basis.
When I come across a great article from someone else, I want to share it every so often for a few months.
When articles I share (mine or others) are performing well, I want to share them out more.
When particular headlines are working/not working, I want to automatically alter them.
I want more statistics on sharing so I can improve.
To get this type of sharing, you can use a collection of tools – SocialOomph, Hootsuite, BufferApp, Coschedule etc. But using a collection of tools is time consuming and expensive and it’s difficult to analyze the results.
Some companies are starting to make good progress in this area. I had a look at the campaign functionality of Rignite recently and it does everything you need in one app. You build a campaign and put all the content you want to be shared and then you can easily set up sharing for six months. Then, you can view graphs to see the content that is resonating.
Rignite are ahead of a lot of social media management tools in this space. There are other tools trying to catch up in this area, so expect to see a whole range of tools providing better sharing mechanisms.
5. Improved Support for Instagram
There are plenty of tools available for Instagram but not many of the big social media management tools provide support for this platform.
The reason for this is that Instagram doesn’t allow third-party tools to support the range of functionality you might be looking for. For example, you can’t schedule content to Instagram officially.
A lot of tool providers make you think they are scheduling content but what they are really doing is storing your content until the due time and then they automatically login to Instagram and post your image or video.
But, next year, I expect Instagram will open up their API (this is what allows third-party developers to add on more functionality). By opening up the API, this will encourage more of the management tool providers to support Instagram and this will fuel further growth of the platform.
Building social media tools is a challenging and highly competitive area. Some are going to go through difficult times next year because there are just far too many of them.
Yet, there is money to be made in this area if they get the functionality right and build a strong community supporting their product.
We have outlined five trends worth considering. Can you add any social media tool trends? Do you agree with the ones we have outlined?
Trends image by Shutterstock