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Vivian Li/李雯雯

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What 2015, social media have in common
2015-06-30
Happy 2015. It is the season of predictions and discerning Nigerians can even make some predictions! We love to be clairvoyant. We love to take a peep into the future and more than anything see what it holds in store. The school of thought I subscribe to supposes that the unknown and the surprise element is what make life itself interesting. Not knowing what tomorrow holds in clear terms is a huge component of living. On the African continent populated by about 1.1 billion people, things are shaping up pretty well as about 175 million Africans now have access to the Internet while the number of mobile phones is about four times the number of Africans with Internet access.

The social media landscape is not left out from the avalanche of predictions available in the media and cyberspace. There are anticipations of more technological breakthrough. The rising number of awards around social media breakthroughs and use are indications that it is no longer a push aside ‘venture’. The UK Social Media Communications Awards, The Shorty Awards, The Social Media Awards Africa are examples in this respect. There are predictions of more rewards and awards for creative social media users in 2015. and any other year for that matter.

Social media will have closer integration with businesses this year. Traditional institutions that hitherto ignored it will be forced to a warm embrace with this Internet-driven technology. Social media will fully evolve as the first point of call in rooms where marketing and advertisement is being discussed in 2015. It is a no-brainer, especially since next to cloths that human compulsorily have to wear, telephones are the next permanent ‘accessory’ moved around by mortals. It is only normal to take the good or service advert to their pockets! Social analytics and big data-driven analysis will also find prominence this year. Businesses with outstanding success performance are known to have done so by arriving at decision after critically examining the available data instead of depending on emotions or what they wish to do. Data on the consumers are the best way to figure out the next line of action. If consumers who buy product A always love to buy product B, it is only logical to spend more reaching out to consumers who buy product C (similar to product A) that they should look at product B. More businesses and individuals will come full cycle in realising that there is no point putting out content if there are no intentions to share it through social networks.

Facebook and Google Plus will have to face each other in 2015. Facebook currently has 1.23 billion users while Google Plus is closing in with about 540 million active users. Google Plus, given its ownership of Google and a number of other go-to online channels will be looking to give Facebook a run for its money this year. Already, search engine results on Google are throwing up more of Google Plus updates than it used to of Facebook some two years back. Serious social media users hoping to have better ranks during searches should add Google Plus to their list and amass as many Plus Ones they can.

Apps may not have it all rosy in 2015. The reasons are simple. They are mostly great when they are released. Shortly afterwards, they become space occupiers on the phone except when needed. App developers also contend with this as they also make web versions available with information in easily retrievable form. Content marketing will also get a space in this year’s prediction as it did in 2014. It is never going to be enough to have a static site or social media page. It has to constantly engage with the audience if it is going to make any difference. The contents have to be directed first at the consumer in a regular and yet non-intrusive way and with a call to action neatly embedded in the content. It is in this regard that there will creation of more digital jobs this year. Introspective and smart content writers will have their day in 2015.

With more people accessing the Internet through their mobile phones, the prediction is that more organisations and individuals will have to ensure that the mobile experience from accessing their content is user friendly. The use of visuals will also have better space in 2015. There will be more DPs with information. More infographics will be seen. YouTube Videos, Vine, Keek will also grow in use as people have access to better technology tools to create content for these channels. In 2015, there will be a growing sense of distrust for anyone who is under 40 years old and does not have a space on any of the dominant social media networks. The assumption will be that such an individual is hiding something from the public or is too thick to explore a technology that has come to stay.

On conversations, it will deepen and there will be increasing calls by politicians to censor the Internet. Three major elections will trend conversation on social media in Africa in 2015. Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Tanzania will be going to the poll to elect new leaders and it is certain to be subject of discussion on the continent. In Tanzania, President Jakaya Kikwete will not be seeking re-election in October as he completes his second term in 2015 and this opens up the space. In Nigeria, the stakes are higher with the myriads of challenges the country is facing. In Burkina Faso, the election is to shop a replacement for Blaise Campaore, who resigned from office following public protest. The campaigns already happening on social media space are interesting and colourful. The hate speeches and thoughts also call for concerns and request for self-censorship.

This year will also redefine the ecology of the social media space. Lest I forget, social media evangelism will continue to grow and we will continue to have a post-mortem of issues in cyber space as they happen.

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Vivian Li

PR Manager

Tel: +86 010 8390 7451

Mobile: +86 13041030670