2016 is going to be a huge year for anyone who uses social media. I loved seeing what happened in 2015. Below are 6 trends that see emerging.

Trend #1: Live social video will go mainstream

In 2015 there was the emergence of live streaming video social platforms like Meerkat and Periscope (Check out my Periscope profile here). But while they are good social streaming platforms, they predominately came through Twitter and that isn’t where most of the people are. Facebook have been releasing live video to selected people in 2015 and to be honest it hasn’t worked that well, compared to periscope. But I believe they are beta testing and will roll out a consumer model where anyone will be able to stream what they are doing.

Trend #2: Pay to reach will increase

Some of you are saying, enough already! But as I predicted last year, we are in a new phase for all of the established social media platforms. They now have investors who want an R.O.I. Read more here.

To reach more people you will have to pay more than ever. So like any other channel that you may pay for, budget for paying to reach people.

The key, as always, is finding the right people.

Trend #3: Google+ will continue to decline

Some say G+ is already dead. I think that for certain kinds of groups it still has a vibrant community. For the mainstream it still is a graveyard.

Even though the mainstream hasn’t adopted it as their social media platform of choice G+ still has potential. It just needs a break of some kind to help people switch. What that is anyone’s guess. Could it be live video streaming in G+ without having to use a hangout?

Or could making it a no ad zone for 5 years work?

Trend #4: Niche social networks

Sick of seeing cute cat videos? Or those ‘you’ll never guess what happens next’ bait and switch links?

Niche social networks are on the rise. So far the ones I’ve seen are based around activities, like Strava. They have a functional use, in Strava’s case, exercise recording and are building social ontop of it. Smart work. They are building a social network around an existing popular core feature, rather than building a network and expecting people just to show up.

I’ve seen it with online dating sites, where they started out as wide as possible. They are now niche according to belief, income and more.

This is a longer term evolution that will take some year to grow, but it will happen.

Trend #5: Twitter plateau’s

What happens when a platform doesn’t grow anymore? Twitter unlike Facebook isn’t really growing that much. What will they do to kickstart it to the next bell curve?

One of the main problems I find with Twitter is that half the time I feel like no one is there and I’m looking at a wall of scheduled posts. That doesn’t make me want to make it home.

Trend #6: Instagram will lose it’s cool status. But will bring in a cool feature

No surprise for some of you.  Since Facebook acquired Instagram it has been on the fast-track to making a buck. Sponsored ads are now commonplace. They will inevitably lose some of the cooler younger generation that don’t want ads in their face.

One cool feature that I think they will bring in somehow is scheduled posts. This will be a game-changer in terms of usage and frequency of content for people like me. (Although I do schedule our Instagram posts. Find out how you can too here).

How did I go last year?

I wrote about the top seven trends I saw emerging in 2015 on social media here.

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Your turn

Predicting emerging trends on social media can be a hit and miss affair and some of these may not come to fruition. Others will of course. Do you have any thoughts or ideas of trends you can see? Leave a comment below.