Everyone wants to know, what is going to be the next big social media platform? What sites will become as big as Facebook or Twitter?
The truth is that the next big social media site may already be out there. But the next popular site probably won’t be like the social media sites developed five or more years ago.
As a freelancer, you need to stay on top of social media trends. Social media is an important tool to help you market your freelancing business and connect with others. That’s not going to change. But how you do it just might change.
In this post, I share six important social media trends that I’ve observed this year.
Odds are that the next big social media platform will conform to one or more of these trends. If you liked this post, you may also like Should Freelancers “Waste” Time on Social Media?
What Will Future Social Media Platforms Look Like?
If you’re wondering what the next social media platform will look like, take a look at the social media platforms that are being introduced right now. Most new social media platforms fit one or more of the follow trends:
- Mobile–Many articles, such as this article from Natasha Lomas on TechCrunch, Tablets To Grow 53.4% This Year, Says Gartner, As The Traditional PC declines 11.2%, show that mobile device sales are growing more rapidly than the sales of traditional PCs. Mobile isn’t going to go away. It shouldn’t come as any surprise then that new social media platforms will be built for the mobile environment first.
- Niched–Older social media platforms, such as Facebook, target everyone. They may have started with a particular demographic, but they rapidly expanded to include the general population. That’s not so for the new breed of social media platform. New social media platforms will go after the needs and interests of specific groups and remain focused on those interests. Examples include Inbound.org, which focuses on the needs and interest of inbound marketers and Nextdoor, which focuses on the interests of a specific neighborhood.
- Hybrid (functional and social)–The latest social media platforms aren’t just for socializing either. Many of the newest social tools combine practical functionality with social networking. These hybrid social sites are bound to become more popular as the population becomes more in tune with social networking needs. An example of a hybrid social networking site is the new photo editing app, BeFunky, which combines a great photo editing tool with social sharing.
- Exclusive–Anyone could sign up for the old social media platforms. And with the exception of LinkedIn, there was no cost to participate. (Even LinkedIn has a popular free version.) New networking platforms are increasingly exclusive. You may need an invitation to participate, such as with Branch, or you may have to pay to join the new breed of social platforms.
- Aggregators–With more and more social media sites to keep up with, social media aggregators and other tools that help users organize their social interactions and social media discoveries will become nearly as important as the social media sites themselves. A good example of a social media aggregator type tool is Flipboard. Flipboard lets users create and share customized magazines based on information found on other sites.
- Visual—Vine is just one example of the new social media trend of centering social participation around images. Images have long played and important role on the Internet, adding interest and eyeballs to articles and posts. Expect the importance of images and other visual types of media to grow on social media as videos and animations become mainstream.
What’s a Freelancer to Do?
With all of these changes happening, you might wonder what to do. Should you abandon traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter and embrace the new sites? Should you try to add every new social site you encounter in case it becomes popular?
Here are a few guidelines:
- First and foremost. Use common sense. You can’t possibly be a part of every new social site and still get your freelancing work done.
- Continue on traditional sites. At least for now, the traditional social sites continue to be important. Don’t abandon any presence you have built.
- Educate yourself. Know what the social trends are and keep an eye on up and coming social sites. (Just reading this post has helped you with that.)
- Go where the clients are. Most importantly, go where your most of your clients and prospects are. If your clients embrace a new social site, consider adding a presence there.
What new social media trends have I missed? What are your favorite new social media sites?
Share your answers in the comments.