I answer the interesting question from James at Theoc House in today’s #asktheukdomain video, on which social media platforms are going to show the most growth in the next five years and which will have the most benefit to small businesses.
I’ll discuss visual content (Instagram and Snapchat), live streaming, Facebook (including selling and local events), Twitter (including their investment in SMEs), LinkedIn (connecting with suppliers and clients) and how the way we use social media could evolve in the next five years.
♪ [music] ♪ Hi, I’m Natalie from the UK Domain. And today I’m answering a question from James at Theoc House. He’s asked us, “In the next five years, which social media platform do you see showing the most growth and being the most benefit to a small business?”
Well, this is a hard question, thanks, James. With the trends the way that they currently are, I would definitely encourage all small businesses to start looking at, if you’re not already doing so, of course, channel such as, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, those channels that are definitely more visual led content. I think visual content is still going to be a huge thing in, you know, five years time.
Ultimately it’s becoming the norm for people nowadays coming out of school and those even younger. Live streaming has become just a normal part of everyday life. People are instantly taking pictures on their phones and quick Snapchat videos, whatever it might be, but are happy to share those with people. I think the world of vlogging has ultimately encouraged that. So definitely it’s something you should consider, particularly if you are a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, or even if you’re selling clothes or something that’s more visual led, or home products, whatever it might be. But definitely, you should invest your time in and produce content that will suit these platforms moving into the future. I mean Instagram already has over 700 million active users a month. That’s a huge amount of people, and I’m in no doubt that that will continue to grow in the next five years.
Facebook is another channel I don’t think you can underestimate. Ultimately, they are pushing and evolving, and every day, every month, there’s a new product release or a new feature that pops up on our mobile apps or on my desktops that we see Facebook taking it to the next level. Things like shopping, that never existed on Facebook a couple of years ago. So if you’re looking to sell online, certainly something that you might want to explore, particularly as more businesses become onboard with that over the next couple of years. And who knows where that will be in five years time? So definitely something to think about if you’re not already doing so. Could even be to drive people to local events that you’ve got going on in your local cafe, or restaurant, or bar. It could be a great way that people, you know, growth numbers on Facebook, aren’t particularly the biggest out of all the social networks at the moment, but actually it’s quite a saturated market. It still doesn’t mean that active users aren’t high, and actually people use it daily. So definitely something across the wide demographic that people use too, so something to think about in the next five years.
Twitter is an interesting one, and it’s not one I would definitely say that you should ignore. I think it would be interesting to see where Twitter is in the next five years, but ultimately they are looking to invest in small businesses. They are actually looking at ways like subscription models, so whether as a small business you give them a set fee for a month and they actually advertise for you. It’s a great platform as well if you do a lot of blog content, if you want to roll out company news stories or updates about product updates, or we have now got this product in stock. I think customer service on Twitter as well. So if you’re a local shop, it could be that you use Twitter more as a customer service channel. So there’s definitely ways that you could use Twitter. And again, not one to be ignored in the next five years, but it may be just considering how you use that platform slightly differently to Facebook or Instagram, for example.
And LinkedIn. LinkedIn, okay, biggest professional network worldwide may not be the obvious option for a small business. I mean, great if you’re already using as a small business. But ultimately it’s a channel for professionals to connect to professionals. And I think this opens a lot of opportunities for small businesses particularly, you know, it could be connecting to suppliers, it could be connecting with clients of yours. It could just open other avenues for you and your business. It could even be connecting with your peers. Who knows where that will take you? You know, LinkedIn is now owned by Microsoft. I’m sure they’ve got huge investment plans over the next five years for LinkedIn. So definitely one I think you should keep an eye on, obviously depending on your business, but have a look at it and definitely one not to drop off the radar too soon.
So I know I may not have given you one particular answer where I see the biggest growth. But I guess if you put me on the spot, I’d probably say the two to really focus on are Instagram and Facebook. I think there’s going to be a lot of changes that could happen in the next five years. I think ultimately the way we use social media will be very different. I think we’ll probably go to social media channels for more than just connecting with our friends and sharing updates. We’ve already seen a lot of that change in the last couple of years. I mean who would have thought that it would be interesting to take a picture of what we’re eating and post that and our friends would actually engage with that a couple of years ago? So things are changing all the time. I just think ultimately think about and just remind yourself about your business objectives. Does it suit your business? Do you have the content to support the channels? I mean ultimately that will be the best deciding factor and decision factor in helping you decide what social network you should use, but I hope that helps. ♪ [music] ♪