Ryan Holmes, founder and chief executive of Hootsuite, says 2016 is shaping up to be another significant year for social media.

Ryan Holmes, founder and chief executive of Hootsuite, says 2016 is shaping up to be another significant year for social media.

Founded in Vancouver in 2008, Hootsuite is a popular social media management system for individuals and businesses to execute campaigns across multiple accounts from one dashboard.

In a recent blog post on LinkedIn, Holmes announced his predictions for the biggest social media trends in 2016. Here’s a glimpse of what he thinks the future will look like online.

1. Social media as a marketplace

Social media eCommerce functionality has become mainstream after Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram recently rolled out new buy buttons, which allow users to purchase clothes, crafts and more via their feeds.

As a SMB you’re probably already leveraging social media to connect with customers and influence their purchasing decisions, but this new update means businesses need to go beyond that and use social not just to display products but to anticipate selling through them.

Keep in mind the power of influencer marketing and online reviews – these are becoming increasingly important to customers. Take Instagram, where fashion bloggers enable followers to ‘shop’ their latest outfit. Sites such as LIKEtoKNOW.it partner with these influencers, and followers are directed to view their favourite products and make a purchase when they ‘like’ an image.

2. New visual experiences with Facebook 360-degree video

With 360-degree videos starting to roll out in news feeds, users will be able to choose the angle from which they see video footage. On the web you can do this by moving around the video with your cursor, while on mobile devices you can control the view by swiping the screen with your finger or rotating the device.

For those marketers who have not previously included storytelling in their strategy, you might find yourself playing catch up as you figure out your brand’s approach to storytelling as well as how to create content in a far more immersive format.

3. A widening skills gap for social

Many employers assume that millennials and recent graduates will be extremely literate in social media. But it’s one thing to be social media-savvy and another to know how to apply it in business.

“The consequence of this social media skills gap can be seen in mounting corporate social media gaffes, from misused hashtags (see #WhyIStayed) to scheduled posts gone awry, not to mention trillions of dollars (yes, trillions) in lost productivity and business value,” says Holmes.

Luckily Holmes predicts an increase in social media training taking place in the workplace as a way of closing this gap.

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