THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

What Top 20 Experts Think!

We asked 20 experts, 5 questions regarding the future of Social Media Marketing:

  1. What are the primary strategies you use to engage with your social media followers?
  2. Which are your favorite Social Media Marketing tools?
  3. What are your boldest predictions for The Future of Social Media Marketing?
  4. Which are the new social media platforms you expect will build momentum?
  5. Do you believe social media channels will increasingly become "pay-to-play" for marketers?

JAYSON DEMERS

Founder and CEO at AudienceBloom Twitter: @jaysondemers
"I think the key here is to remember the "social" part of social media. You don't need to think about "engagement" in an overly mathematical or strategic way - just talk to people!"
Your primary engagement strategies?
I syndicate content and give helpful tips on a regular basis, so my first line of engagement is simply conversing with people who react to those posts. Beyond that, I try to find interesting conversations about marketing, social media, and SEO already going on and participate. I think the key here is to remember the "social" part of social media. You don't need to think about "engagement" in an overly mathematical or strategic way—just talk to people!
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
I've used a number of post schedulers and analytics tools in the past. Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and Sprout Social are all popular, but one of the best analytics tools I’ve found for calculating social traffic and overall ROI is good old Google Analytics.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
I have two, and we'll see whether they pan out. The first is that through survival of the fittest, our myriad niche social platforms will eventually boil down to one or two major contenders (much how the early days of search engine competition eventually led to just Google and Bing dominating the market). The second is that social media will eventually be so integrated with the physical world (through VR devices or wearable tech), the line between the two will be blurred.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Instagram is on an upward hot streak, and I don’t think it will stop anytime soon. I'm also interested to see how Peach develops.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
In some ways. Facebook's organic reach is declining, but at the same time, it has increased organic targeting options to improve organic messaging relevance. If you're offering enough targeted, valuable material, you don't need an ad campaign to see results.

NEAL SCHAFFER

CEO at Maximize your Social Twitter: @NealSchaffer
"Organic will only get you so far unless you already have a large following or well-known brand. Those that don't will be forced to leverage more Paid Social"
Your primary engagement strategies?
I use a combination of content and engagement. Social media is all about content and communication, so I work hard to both create and curate content that would best engage my followers. I also like to engage with my followers by sharing the content of and engaging in conversation with my advocates.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Too many to list! I don't think there's any one-does-it-all tool, so I use a variety of tools in my social media marketing. The last 5 that I used today just before writing this are eClincher, BuzzSumo, SproutSocial, Schedugram, and CoSchedule!
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
My boldest prediction for the future of Social Media Marketing is that companies will become more dependent on seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum: Becoming more dependable on social media tools in order to automate, scale and engage effectively and efficiently while at the same time becoming more human, authentic and transparent with their engagement with other users in social media communities.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
We are undoubtedly moving more visual, so I do believe that Instagram will continue to be the second most active social network and Facebook and Snapchat will continue to grow. However, I do believe that Facebook will continue to dominate and Twitter and LinkedIn, and to some extent Pinterest, to remain relevant.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
They already are, to some extent ;-) Organic will only get you so far unless you already have a large following or well-known brand. Those that don't will be forced to leverage more Paid Social, but it is still inexpensive compared to other forms of paid marketing - and it allows you to handpick your audience in a way that wasn't possible before social media.

STEPHANIE FRASCO

Social Media Strategist at Convert with Content Twitter: @StephanieFrasco
"Personalization is key. The more personal you can get and the better you know your audience and customers, the more success you will have. "
Your primary engagement strategies?
The best way to engage is to listen to what others are saying and add VALUE to their conversation. Another way is to ask questions and share content that is so good, it begs to be shared.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Buffer is my favorite scheduling tool. I use it daily.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
Personalization is key. The more personal you can get and the better you know your audience and customers, the more success you will have.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Instagram and Snapchat. Plus, any new networks that are attractive to the younger generations will always make waves. Teens start the trends, then the rest of us jump in.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Facebook is already a pay to play network unless you use your influencers to share for you. Then you have a real advantage.

BRIAN CARTER

Internationally Best-Selling Author, Speaker and Consultant Twitter: @briancarter
"Marketers who avoid ads will always lack the power, targeting ability, instant results, and swiss-army knife full of options that advertisers have."
Your primary engagement strategies?
Facebook ads, posts, and email marketing. Fan marketing has been dead since 2012, so email and retargeting are critical components.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Facebook ads. MioDatos and Multibrain are interesting newer social content distribution and optimization tools I'm testing out. I love PostPlanner for quickly finding viral Facebook posts. For Twitter, I rely on Tweepi and Buffer. Buzzsumo is a great tool for getting ideas from other verticals or checking out your content marketing competition.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
I think that unfortunately, many companies will continue to be distracted by shiny new objects and spread themselves too thin. There are too many social platforms and content marketing options- if you don't focus on two or three, your impact is going to be small.

And unfortunately, many companies let themselves be pulled into adopting platforms way too early while neglecting the opportunities from proven platforms. In other words, if your company is focused on Blab and SnapChat but you're not good at Facebook ads (the most powerful and affordable advertising opportunity in history, proven reliable for both e-commerce profits and B2B lead gen), Facebook audience insights (discovering more about your customers so you can persuade more of them more powerfully and more affordably) and Facebook posting (at least 3-5% engagement rate) you have your priorities backwards.

Start with a core 80% emphasis on what has been proven profitable and with processes others have found to be repeatable and reliable. Then spend 20% of your efforts on some of the shiny object platforms... ideally ones where you can find existing proven processes for big results, or pioneer them yourself.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
SnapChat might- it is an interesting combination of content types that may result in a more interesting user experience than other platforms. If so, it will compel more adoption. The jumping on and investment of companies like ESPN and MTV, if they mention it on TV, also may drive greater adoption. Marketers will begin to try to figure out how to "ruin" it by making it valuable for business.

But like all platforms without self-serve ads, your reach via organic networking and content will be small unless you are an exceptionally brilliant and consistent content creator.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Every successful platform eventually develops an advertising option, and advertising is a big opportunity for marketers. Marketers who avoid ads will always lack the power, targeting ability, instant results, and swiss-army knife full of options that advertisers have.

Without ads, you're forced to try to be creative enough to go viral organically every day, and unfortunately, no one is always that brilliant- except perhaps The Oatmeal- but he isn't a big company- he's an entertainer. Ads are a huge opportunity for marketers, and the social platforms that don't have ads are not as important and not as big an opportunity for marketers.

I have a three-step checklist for when companies should adopt a social platform: #1 Do a majority of your prospects use it? #2 Does it have an ads platform? #2 Are the ads effective? Very few platforms pass that test- but the ones that do deserve the biggest investment of your time, budget and creativity, because they will reward you with the biggest returns.

Instagram didn't qualify for a long time. I would argue that LinkedIn may never have because its self-serve ads have never been very effective. LinkedIn is great for networking and sales, but it's not the strongest marketing platform. Facebook ads have their own B2B targeting options and over the last year, I've seen more successful B2B Facebook marketing case studies than LinkedIn ones. I think by not improving the effectiveness of their ads over the last five years, they've missed out on a gigantic opportunity.

TED RUBIN

Social Media Strategist, Keynote Speaker, and Author Twitter: @TedRubin
"Make this part of your brand DNA... Tell Your Story In a Way People Will Care"
Your primary engagement strategies?
I post content and my thoughts regularly, and then respond to anyone who shares, replies, or reaches out. I also serendipitously like, comment or share my follower’s posts, then engage when/if they reach out.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
My favorite tools are the platforms themselves. Remember... they are only tools, people create the "social" part.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
For marketers thinking about approaching social media from a networking and community building aspect rather than a marketing and sales aspect can be very difficult. Brands need to attract customers, but breaking through the clutter is challenging.

Every day brands and marketers are spending millions trying to get you to use, keep using, and share that you love their brands. But why aren’t they doing everything they can, and using some of those millions to do it (probably way less that they are spending on those marketing campaigns), making experiences with their brand remarkable. Opportunities to do this are given to brands each and every day and they simply, turn their heads, rave about their latest and great ‘campaign’ as if it were a military conquest, and pass up ways to really create customers for life.

My boldest prediction is that Brands will start to realize that they will Standout by "Liking" them before they "Like" you.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Snapchat, Snapchat, Snapchat! Beyond that... all forms of live-streaming will grow, evolve, and become more mainstream.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
That depends on your definition of "pay-to-play." If by that you mean if you want easy access to the masses you will have to spend ad dollars, then yes. If "pay-to-play" means "pay" your employees to create great content, curate user-generated content, and build communities and relationships, then yes. But if "pay-to-play" means you have to pay platforms for reach because you are too lazy to create great content to attracts interest and visitors... then my answer is no.

Remember generic organic reach on Facebook is way down because now your posts don't simply show in every feed, and when they did they got ignored anyway since they started looking just like ads. But keep in mind that 100% people who visit your pages... see your content. So if you are adding value, and giving them something they need or want, they will be there. Make this part of your brand DNA... Tell Your Story In a Way People Will Care.

MARTIN SHERVINGTON

Author of The Art and Science of Google+ and a Marketing Consultant Twitter: @MartinSherv
"I feel people want to feel a personal connection with you, and the best way to do that is either to meet face-to-face (like at a conference), or using Google Hangouts or Skype.."
Your primary engagement strategies?
I feel people want to feel a personal connection with you, and the best way to do that is either to meet face-to-face (like at a conference), or using Google Hangouts or Skype.

As such, I run events where people can pop in and introduce themselves. Alongside that, every +1/like matters when someone puts value on it; combined with making sure I reply to comments/questions where I can, people will feel I am paying attention.

I am not perfect on this, though, which is why the events really matter.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Agorapulse is great for comment management, and Talkwalker (one of our partners) is simply awesome for social listening.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
More live video on its way for sure. And soon enough we will have 360/VR video on Facebook and YouTube, but it won't really take off until next year.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Snapchat will continue to rise (even though I don't use it), and Facebook will win on live streaming this year, but know that Google are still very much in the game and I expect YouTube to bring us new functionality before long.

Linkedin is integrating Lynda.com into the platform, so consider the two together being the 'career' choice, with learning pathways.

Then we have Google+, and seeing as Google own Search, expect to see more interest once some of the stories of how it is driving traffic start to come out more.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
I don't. I think there will remain a mix. If platforms push 'pay to play' too much, people leave and find a new home. Instead, I think we all should consider the user journey, the relationship with website visitors, and work towards social driving traffic and spend (e.g. Adwords remarketing) being used to increase conversions.

Watch this space. Lots to play for this year.

DORIE CLARK

Marketing Strategist and Speaker Twitter: @dorieclark
"The most important thing we can all do is focus on leveraging social media to build our own email lists"
Your primary engagement strategies?
I try to focus my energies so I’m able to better engage; I’m not on Pinterest or Tumblr or Snapchat, for instance. Instead, I focus on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn, with a bit of Instagram thrown in for fun.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
My favorite is Edgar (meetedgar.com), which allows you to place evergreen content, such as blog posts, into a ‘vault’ that repeatedly tweets out over time. This is a great way to shine light on past content that otherwise might be forgotten; as blogging is a primary strategy of mine, I find it particularly valuable.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
I predict that live streaming platforms like Periscope and Blab, which have been all the rage recently, won’t be as huge as their proponents think. Certainly they can serve an interesting function, but I don’t think they’ll explode and become ubiquitous the way that some predict.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Ello? Just kidding. I actually think the world isn’t clamoring for any more new social media platforms; the bar is now incredibly high to get people to pay attention to one more thing. I think, instead, that we’ll see consolidation and further dominance by Facebook and its various acquisitions.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Yes – which is why the most important thing we can all do is focus on leveraging social media to build our own email lists, so we can communicate directly with our audience without the risk that the rug will be pulled out from under us at any time.

HOLLY HOMER

Founder of Business2blogger Twitter: @Texasholly
"If you thought video was important in the past, you haven't seen anything yet. Video is getting bigger, longer and more authentic with the launch of FB live to all pages and groups"
Your primary engagement strategies?
On-brand storytelling is my primary strategy across all sites and platforms. Each social media platform has a different way to tell a story and it is important to stay true to that. Every single post, photo, and link are a reflection of what that follower can expect in the future.

I also check analytics and insights obsessively to make sure whatever is posted is resonating with the audience and make changes as needed.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
For Pinterest, I adore BoardBooster and am excited about some of the new things being rolled out at Tailwind. For FB, my pages would absolutely be lost without the FB native scheduler! To manage my team, I use an extreme amount of Google Sheets and a lot of channels on Slack.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
If you thought video was important in the past, you haven't seen anything yet. Video is getting bigger, longer and more authentic with the launch of FB live to all pages and groups.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
It isn't new, but my FB page engagement and organic growth have never been this high. Since my target audience of moms is still firmly entrenched on FB, I am excited about the momentum that is building there with new feature launches there.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
For promotional content, it will absolutely be pay-to-play, but all these social networks require quality content to meet their goals...so marketers who align their posts with the needs of the platform will be rewarded organically.

SUSIE MCBETH

Founder of Publish Monkey Twitter: @susiemcbeth
"The instant and personal nature is something that audiences are dramatically drawn to. "
Your primary engagement strategies?
Sharing high-value content that resonates with my audience and keeping it real. I think it is important not just to share content but also to build relationships by letting people get to know you. I keep my interactions authentic, and heartfelt and nurture relationships.

Creating and curating well thought out content is a must, but so is personalisation and joining in the conversation – no matter the network.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Hashtagify, Tweetdeck, Buffer, Feedly and while not often synonymously thought of with social media Grammarly is one of my favourite go-to's – making sure the readability and grammar of your posts are on point is so important. Your posts are a representation of who you/your brand are and good grammar and putting my point across in as a succinct way as possible (especially on Twitter) is incredibly important to me.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
That we will all be connecting through implantable tech by the year 2024 – Not really (though who knows).

My real prediction would be that live streaming video will be the big player by the end of 2017 and dominating in 2018. With the ease, the human connection and the instant gratification and the ability for brands to pull back the curtains and give audiences a live experience of their brand is something that will become increasingly irresistible.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Periscope and Snapchat. Both of these are ideal for brands to find and define their tribe. Like I said earlier, the instant and personal nature is something that audiences are dramatically drawn to.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
I think it will increase, but not so overwhelmingly. I believe that networks still understand that “pay-to-play” while perfect for them isn’t always the most appealing thing for marketers or businesses in general (especially small firms and companies just starting out). So I think it will be more of a gentle increase, rather than an aggressive takeover.

SHONALI BURKE

Founder of Shonali Burke Consulting Twitter: @shonali
"Organic and earned media are way too important and impactful; there have got to be some things that can't be bought."
Your primary engagement strategies?
The best way to engage - for me, or for anyone - is to be useful. That means providing helpful information of my own, curating other great information... and in general being of service.

So, to make sure I'm being as useful as possible, I try to listen to what's going on and what people are asking for because then I can help provide it to them. I try to respond as frequently as possible, and I try to showcase others who are doing great work.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
It really depends on what the need is; I use a range of tools for different purposes. Some of those I use frequently are Post Planner, Buffer, Pablo, and HootSuite.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
Do predictions always need to be bold? ;)

We are seeing pay-to-play options increase and become more common. It takes guts to focus on organic growth, but the latter tends to be much more impactful. So I don't know if this is a prediction as such, but regardless of how much play "pay-to-play" gets, organic isn't dying any time soon.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Blab. It's easy to use, superfun, engaging, and extremely useful.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
I think "pay to play" will remain an element of social media marketing, and probably grow more market/mind share as well. But I don't think it will take over. Organic and earned media are way too important and impactful; there have got to be some things that can't be bought.

AKIA GARNETT

Social Commentator and Media expert Twitter: @AkiaGarnett
"Helping audiences feel connected to brands through virtual relationship building is key"
Your primary engagement strategies?
The personal approach to brands, large or small, is what I subscribe to. Helping audiences feel connected to brands through virtual relationship building is key. Interactivity within the online community increases engagement and helps the brand’s voice appear connected to its communities.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
I’m a huge fan of twitter, and so pretty much any tool that allows me to dissect the data points on twitter works for me. Tweetreach is a great tool for gaining a high-level view of weekly interactivity. The number of analytical tools out there are endless, so it’s a matter of finding one that gives you the dashboard visually preferred. I will say that no tool should know more about your social presence than your own internal capability of measuring impact. Tools should confirm your suspicions, not uncover what you had no clue about.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
As I mentioned, there are too many tools out there, and new ones are being developed every hour. I suspect that the playing field will continue to level and that large content management aggregators will increase their power by offering more pay for airtime or exposure tactics, meaning, advertising options will decrease for modest budgets, but increase for bigger budgets.

Smaller players will move towards a more underground platform, making them less discoverable. What rises to the top, in my estimation, won’t be the best brands, but it will be the brands with the smartest marketers.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
I still believe in WhatsApp and Tango type platforms. I don’t think they’ve scratched the surface on their potential with those tools. As the world moves further into the virtual reality world, tools like Tango, especially, will become even more appealing, especially if they can build greater neutrality across operating systems.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Yes, and those that rise, again, won’t be the best brands, but the brands with the best marketers. Two completely different concepts altogether.

BRENT CSUTORAS

CEO at Pixel Road Designs and Managing Partner at Search Engine Journal Twitter: @brentcsutoras
"Virtually Reality will bring us into a new place for social media, but ultimately it is Augmented Reality that will establish the new standard for not only social media but also social interaction as a whole."
Your primary engagement strategies?
I think the checklist mentality for marketing is long gone and a real focus on quality is imperative to success in the social media today and going forward.

My main strategy in engaging with my social media followers is only updating things that I believe are worthy of engagement or genuinely helpful. Even if it means going days without an update, I really try to focus on quality over quantity, and I think that is what the various social media platforms are rewarding the most.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
We create a lot of our own tools internally since we have very unique problems or processes we are trying to solve or improve. That said, I love Buffer and TweetDeck, appreciate SEMRush and Onpage.org, and need to spend more time on BuzzSumo.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
As a quite avid futurist, I spend a lot of time reading and considering the various advancements in technology, science, and society. I believe that Virtually Reality will bring us into a new place for social media, but ultimately it is Augmented Reality that will establish the new standard for not only social media but also social interaction as a whole.

You can see it in the companies involved with VR / AR right now, such as Alphabet, Google, Facebook, HTC, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. Their goals as companies, the investment made in VR / AR, the comments made about their intentions, and the advancements already being made, that this is the future of social media, the internet of things, and more.

I envision a time for social media where you are no longer visiting a website or using an app on a smartphone to connect with others, but actually connecting with them in a more traditional manner. I believe you will be able to attend a social event with people, share a cup of coffee or even sit across from one another and catch up, with one or both people not physically being in the same space.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Visual social media platforms are really blowing up, especially Snapchat and Instagram. Ultimately, the concept of writing out a lot of text to explain emotions, actions, and stories, is something that the younger generations do not need as much as we did. They have the technology and capability to easily share video and images, that convey what they want without the traditional methods.

This is where you will see a lot of momentum.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
In one way, shape, or form, marketing has always been ‘pay-to-play’. I don’t think that will change anytime soon.

MADDY OSMAN

Digital Marketer at BlogSmith Twitter: @MaddyOsman
"Facebook will eventually fall out of vogue, but that could still be many years from now since it has the largest user base of any social network currently."
Your primary engagement strategies?
With a limited amount of time, there are two main strategies I employ to grow and nurture my social media followings:

- Liking content I feel is creative, useful, or well-done in some way. I think a like shows some level of support and asks the creator to make content more like it.

- Sharing content that I think would resonate with my followers and that they can learn from.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
I'm a huge fan of both Buffer and Hootsuite, as they make my life easier in scheduling and curating content for my brands, as well as for my clients. They're industry standard applications for a reason!
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
I'll jump on the bandwagon of those who think that Snapchat will become something much bigger than it is right now. Facebook will eventually fall out of vogue, but that could still be many years from now since it has the largest user base of any social network currently.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Definitely Snapchat - it's already exploding, but most people aren't sure how to use it well. Smart Marketers will focus their efforts on rapid user acquisition and testing to see what works.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Definitely. Each one needs to monetize in order to support the costs associated with the data they hold and the people working behind the scenes. Furthermore, as more and more people use the platforms, it's harder for a single voice to be heard. Take the time to understand the different ad platforms and run tests before throwing money at the platforms, then analyze the ROI of doing so.

NOLAN WILSON

Freelance Copywriter Expert Twitter: @Nolson17
"It really comes down to being real, having real conversations and trying to help others. I think this is the key to engaging people on social media"
Your primary engagement strategies?
I focus on what my target audience wants. I try to put myself in their shoes and think about the things that they are searching for. What information do they value? What do they find relevant? What are they looking for? What problem are they trying to solve? What issue are they faced with currently?

Then I try to help them by sharing content they are looking for. It really comes down to being real, having real conversations and trying to help others. I think this is the key to engaging people on social media
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Sprout social is probably the best social media management tool I have used to date. It allows you to do everything – schedule posts, manage social media communities, engage users, curate content, and manage multiple accounts.

I also use Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for scheduling posts. I use bitly to shorten links, Feedly for content curation. I am also a big fan of LinkedIn Pulse.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
We haven’t even scratched the surface yet. I think that things will continue to evolve and new platforms will emerge. Social media marketing is still so new and video marketing is just starting to really take off. How we use video will change how we market on social media in the future.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Anything that is instantaneous and involved videos and images will continue to build momentum. Snapchat seems to be the platform with the most momentum right now and it seems to be catching up to Instagram.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
To some degree, yes. It makes sense for social media companies to charge for more advanced analytics and functionality. I expect marketers will be required to pay to gain access to premium features.
"In the future, we will probably see new social networks emerge depending on the kind of content that becomes popular at that time."
Your primary engagement strategies?
Blogging and Facebook ads are my favourite marketing strategies because they give such a great ROI.

I highly recommend blogging for a number of reasons, including establishing thought leadership, branding and growing your search impact.

Facebook marketing is simple to setup, gives a great ROI and works brilliantly for local businesses.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Hootsuite - for social media scheduling
Google Analytics - to monitor the success of our social media efforts
Twitonomy - for detailed Twitter metrics and reports.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
I have been online since 2001 and seen social media evolve from forums to full-fledged social networks. Because it provides a place to build community and branding, social media networks like Facebook will remain important for a long time, just as Google has been around for a decade.

However, more social networks will evolve for different kinds of content, just as Instagram and Snapchat have evolved to promote the sharing of visual content. In the future, we will probably see new social networks emerge depending on the kind of content that becomes popular at that time.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Visual media networks, like Instagram and Snapchat, are growing very fast, especially with millennials and I think they will continue to grow in importance.

But just as Facebook and Twitter have replaced Orkut and MySpace, new networks may come along to capture our imagination and provide innovative ways of sharing content.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Definitely. They won't survive if they don't learn to monetize. However, for users, they will remain free.

ALLISON STADD

Marketing and Communications Manager at Shake Shack Twitter: @AllisonStadd
"We want to cultivate a two-way conversation rather than talking at or explicitly selling to our fans"
Your primary engagement strategies?
With all of our online activity, our aim is to recreate the community gathering experience of Shake Shack in a virtual space through beautiful photos and warm, lively banter. We strive, all day long, to create a constant digital dialogue with our guests by listening closely and responding quickly. We want to cultivate a two-way conversation rather than talking at or explicitly selling to our fans.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
I’ve been a long-time fan of Buffer from a personal standpoint. I also like Simply Measured for analytics and Latergram.me for scheduling Instagram posts. TweetDeck’s a solid standby for free Twitter monitoring.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
It’s hard to make accurate predictions for how anything will evolve in this space since it’s constantly changing and morphing—which is what makes it an exciting place to work and play in. But it’s clear that the one-on-one, personally tailored experience is where all social communication is headed. No more blasting from the marketing megaphone; we need to be thinking about customizing on a person-to-person basis and meeting people where they’re at, on their terms.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Snapchat’s just getting started. It’s becoming the new TV! It’ll also be interesting to see what happens with live-streaming, now that Facebook’s putting so much stock in Facebook Live. It’s intriguing to see our Periscope following increase month after month even when we’re not posting that frequently. I think there’s a lot more fun stuff to come with all live-streaming platforms.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Unfortunately, we’re already there with a few of them, much more so over the last year.

JACOB WARWICK

Marketing Strategist at Blast Analytics Twitter: @jacobwarwick
"I strongly feel that we over complicate the social media industry and best tactics when in reality it's about building relationships and community"
Your primary engagement strategies?
I believe in engaging with my social media followers in a very 1 to 1 manner. This means that I don't use automation and really spend the time to get to know my followers. While this isn't typically possible at a huge scale, I do my best to be very genuine and honest while engaging.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
SproutSocial and SimplyMeasured are my go-to's. SproutSocial helps me engage with my followers very organically and makes sure I don't miss anything; plus their community managers are top notch folks. SimplyMeasured helps me pull valuable insights about my followers and determine how to best deliver value to them moving forward.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
Social media (and marketing in general) will become all about 1 to 1 engagement. More about personal relationship-building and less about broadcasting. Is that bold? Eh, I'm not so sure. I strongly feel that we over complicate the social media industry and best tactics when in reality it's about building relationships and community.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
PEACH. Kidding. Snapchat has been doing very well; however, the universal need for business use has yet to become realized. I'd keep a close eye on Snapchat and see how companies and creative agencies begin using the platform.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
It depends strongly on the type of content that marketers are looking to promote. If they are genuinely engaged with their audience and take an engaging, empathetic approach, then they can continue to find results organically.

NATHAN CHAN

Publisher and CEO at FoundrMag Twitter: @NathanHChan
"Our primary strategy here is creating awesome content every single day"
Your primary engagement strategies?
Our primary strategy here is creating awesome content every single day on a consistent basis which seems to garner a decent amount of audience for us. It really depends on what platform you use, we got a strong focus on Instagram that seems to be where a lot of our audience spends their time. However, we are going to focus more on Pinterest and Snapchat as well.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
I quite like Iconosquare and Social Blade for Instagram analytics, Buffer, Zappier, Social Quant for Twitter
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
I just know video is going to become massive. So people are just going to go doubling down on video even more.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
I think Snapchat and also Youtube. Just the way things are going, I think video is going to get a lot bigger because you can see all of these platforms like Periscope, FB live. Snapchat pushing video. This behind the scenes reality tv type can work for brands.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Really depends. Certain platforms are paid to play, but at the same time there is always going to be some platforms out there where you don’t have to pay just like snapchat and instagram right now.

AMIT PANCHAL

Co-founder of Blood Monk Twitter: @AmitHPanchal
"The Future of Social Media Marketing will rely extensively on influencers and ads."
Your primary engagement strategies?
- Sharing Great & Useful Content.

Tips Industry News Informative Articles Current Affairs

- Webinars

- Organize & Join Twitter Chats

- Respond Quickly & Thoroughly

- Give Credit/tag your followers. People love receiving recognition.
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
TweetDeck: TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application for Twitter management.

Hootsuite: It allows me to manage & schedule posts for multiple Social Media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

SocialPilot: SocialPilot is an online social media scheduling and marketing tool for individuals, eCommerce store owners, Online sellers and mobile apps developers.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
The Future of Social Media Marketing will rely extensively on influencers and ads.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Periscope,#slack,Snapchat
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Definitely! While organic reach is reduced day by day, brands want results quickly. So... in the days to come marketers would have to completely depend on pay-to-play.

LISA BUYER

Author of Social PR Secrets Twitter: @lisabuyer
"I have a daily, weekly and monthly strategy that includes everything from monitoring brand mentions to interacting and sharing media stories"
Your primary engagement strategies?
I have a daily, weekly and monthly strategy that includes everything from monitoring brand mentions to interacting and be very generous and giving to sharing the media’s stories. When I say media I mean the ones that I might be targeting for a future story, so I am giving to them and hopefully developed a trusted relationship before I go to them with a story pitch. The bottomline I give more than I receive and it always comes back in positive karma
Your favourite Social Media Marketing tools?
Without a doubt, my “go to” tools would include Buffer and Canva. I also use TweekDeck for organized monitoring and chats. I also love Slack.
Your biggest prediction for Social Media Marketing?
With the rise of social media marketing has come the rise of mental burnout, overworked syndromes and stress caused by the unstoppable pace of social media and the FOMO for business and personal brands. As social media takes over our lives more will turn to reclaiming their lives via mediation, yoga and ways to disconnect without having an anxiety attack.
The next up-and-coming social media platform?
Snapchat has had a rebirth with brands and marketers. Live Video like Facebook Live and Periscope are examples of precedent-setting players.
Will SMM become increasingly pay-to-play?
Pay to play is already the norm versus the exception. Organic is only possible as new features or channels are introduced and brands have a first mover advantage mindset.

Today’s public relations is in a unique and advantageous spot because you can now pay to play and be extremely successful in an organic type of way. Going directly to your audience and the targeted journalists is more available than ever, but also more complicated.

Today’s publicists need to be savvy storytellers in a very journalistic and social media style that reaches mobile users in a very visual, creative and organic way. That’s a tall order! Which is why meditation and taking breaks is so key to survival and success.
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