Twitter and facebook move beyond tweets and likes

It’s been an unforgettable year in social networks. 2015 saw the birth of live social streaming, with apps like Periscope and Meerkat winning over early adopters. Snapchat fully shed its reputation as a niche network and now counts more than 200 million active users. Video dominated social headlines, with Facebook FB -1.16 % users now logging an estimated 8 billion video views a day(even more than on YouTube, by some counts).

What does 2016 hold for social media users? Anticipate to see brand-new technologies fundamentally change how we communicate with social media, opening up new alternatives like shopping and allowing us to share ever-more brilliant, real-time experiences. Brand-new functionality and the widening universe of social options likewise threaten to leave some users in the dust. Here’s a peek into the crystal ball at 5 trends that will alter how we utilize social networks in 2016:

Virtual reality comes to social networks: “Think of sharing not just minutes with your buddies online, but whole experiences and adventures.” That’s what Mark Zuckerberg wrote after Facebook acquired Oculus, the virtual reality business, for $2 billion back in March 2014. Well, we will not need to imagine a lot longer. Facebook has actually currently started incorporating Oculus technology into its360 Video. The special videos, which have actually rolled out on News Feeds, allow users to experience scenes from different angles (looking right, left, up, down, and so on), on both web and mobile phones, developing a more immersive experience.

Now, there’s 360 Video available from the likes of Vice and The Disney Channel and an actually cool clip from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Anticipate to see more immersive videos in 2016 as publishers as well as brands capture up with the technology and start developing more material. When it comes to true, totally immersive VR, the consumer version of the Oculus Rift headset is slated for release in early 2016, opening up a lot more interesting possibilities for our News Feeds. At the same time, Oculus VR has actually already launched a brand-new “social” app called Oculus Social Alpha, for use with the Samsung Gear VR headset. The virtual movie-watching app allows you to “sit” in a theater and watch a video in real-time with other users– maybe the very first genuinely social application of Facebook’s new technology.

Social buying removes: Over the last year, Twitter @Twitter TWTR 0.89 %, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest all unveiled or upgraded in-line buy buttons, which allow users to acquire clothes, crafts, gizmos and more without ever leaving their feeds. In many aspects, this advancement is long overdue. We’re already finding and talking about items on social media, and four from five individuals state that posts from good friends straight affect purchasing decisions. Plus, overseas in China, Korea and somewhere else, social channels have actually long included ecommerce functionality.

Far, the primary stumbling block in North America has actually been ease of usage. To purchase on social networks, we’ve had to click out to other sites (constantly troublesome on smartphones) or we have actually been offered minimal option (a la the now defunct Facebook Presents). But advancements like Pinterest’s Buyable Pins now let users search color and style options and pay, all without leaving the platform. In 2016, expect to see networks’ function shift from being channels whose main function in ecommerce is providing referral traffic to being platforms where users make purchases straight.

Facebook Live takes live streaming mainstream: 2015 started off with lots of enjoyment about the brand-new crop of live streaming apps, which permit users to transmit live video to their followings. By late summer season, Twitter-owned Periscope currently boasted 10 million active users, and just this month it was named by Apple the very best iOS app of 2015.

Anticipate to see live streaming reach an entire new, mainstream audience in the year ahead as Facebook presents its own mobile streaming functionality, typically described as Facebook Live. Currently being beta-tested amongst a small number of U.S. iOS users, the function permits instantly sharing live video making use of the Facebook platform. What’s key here is that you don’t have to download an unique app or leave Facebook to make use of the new video performance. If Facebook Live presents as anticipated, it’s likely to not just control other live streaming alternatives however likewise to essentially alter the way Facebook’s 1.5 billion users engage with the platform.

The social networks abilities space at work broadens: With the surge of office social networks like Slack (which recently saw more than 1 million users logged in at the very same time) and the impending launch of Facebook at Work, using social media in the workplace has actually gone from taboo to a demand. Companies are integrating social devices to simplify internal interactions, to assist sales personnel reach consumers, and, naturally, for marketing and advertising. The problem is that front-line employees aren’t as much as the challenge. Among 2,100 companies checked by Harvard Company Evaluation, simply 12 % of those making use of social media feel they use it successfully. Even millennials brought up on social networks are falling short: “Since somebody grows up being a social media native, it doesn’t make them an expert in making use of social networks at work,” explains William Ward, teacher of social networks at Syracuse University.

The penalty of this social networks abilities space can be seen in mounting corporate social networks gaffes, from misused hashtags (see #WhyIStayed) to set up posts gone awry, not to mention trillions of dollars (yes, trillions) in lost productivity and company value. In 2016, expect to see social networks training lastly start making its way into the work environment in an effort to close this gap– just like efforts launched when office software suites and later e-mail and the Internet itself emerged as crucial business devices. A variety of online offerings now supply self-paced lessons and video modules designed for the office. (Hootsuite is giving our course away totally free.).

Social network client service gets a lot better: Customer support on social media has actually constantly looked like a fantastic concept. Why wait on the phone when you can Tweet and get an answer right away? However the truth has been rather different. A brand-new research study of 500 top sellers shows that just 20 % response concerns sent out by means of Twitter and 54 % respond by means of Facebook. And the average response time varies from 27-31 hours! Not to point out that not all client service problems lend themselves to being dealt with exposed in a public online forum.

In the latter part of 2015, both Twitter and Facebook considerably upped their consumer service performance. Facebook, not to be surpassed, has launched a beta version of Messenger Business, offering a brand-new chat-based opportunity for companies to have real-time, individual discussions with customers. Considering that Messenger has more than 800 million users, it’s not tough to see it evolving into a common, mobile-friendly channel for consumer service in the years ahead.

Perhaps the biggest modification in social media is the accelerated advancement of networks into “everything platforms.” Twitter isn’t simply for blasting out 140-character updates any longer: It’s for individually messaging, video-sharing, customer support and more. Facebook isn’t almost connecting with good friends: It’s now (or soon to be) a workplace efficiency device, a video sharing and streaming platform, a location to shop, and so on. Similar transformations can be seen across LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, to name a few networks. Social network has become less a discrete thing that people do than a natural element of everything they do. Which trend reveals no indications of slowing.

Oculus VR has actually already launched a brand-new “social” app called Oculus Social Alpha, for use with the Samsung Gear VR headset. The social media skills gap at work expands: With the explosion of office social networks like Slack (which just recently saw more than 1 million users logged in at the same time) and the imminent launch of Facebook at Work, utilizing social media in the workplace has actually gone from taboo to a demand. Even millennials brought up on social media are falling short: “Because someone grows up being a social media local, it does not make them a professional in utilizing social media at work,” describes William Ward, teacher of social media at Syracuse University.

The penalty of this social media skills space can be seen in installing corporate social media gaffes, from misused hashtags (see #WhyIStayed) to arranged posts gone awry, not to mention trillions of dollars (yes, trillions) in lost performance and business value. Social media client service gets a lot better: Customer service on social media has always seemed like an excellent concept.