09, December 2014: To see if you have followed changes in social media this last year, take this quiz. 1) Which new social media network is like a virtual bathroom wall causing concern among school officials in Canada? 2) Which platform caused one million sign-ups in just 5 weeks and promises to share revenues from ads with users? 3) Which platform permits users to transfer funds with their debit card information without fees? 

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know the answers because a few months ago, almost nobody did. Social media’s pace has accelerated, leaving many entrepreneurs and businesses struggling to cope with new tools. 

To get ahead of the social media game, here are interesting predictions for social media in 2015: 

1. E-Commerce Integration with Social Media 

Recently, Twitter and Facebook has started to test “buy” buttons which show with some tweets and posts that let users purchase with only a click without ever having to exit the network. This means you can expect social media to integrate e-commerce more deeply in 2015. 

For one thing, this removes a major dilemma faced by all merchants — how to get customers to their site. There is a receptive audience on Facebook and Twitter chatting with their connections and browsing information and photos. Payment details on file would mean purchases are only a click away. 

Advertisers also stand to reap major benefits because individual tweets and Facebook posts with actual sales have proven to be a big challenge in the past. With buy buttons, detailed revenue figures can be gleaned from social media posts in a way that was never done before. 

2. Privacy issues on social media 

A number of anonymous social networks like Secret, Yik Yak and Telegram have risen in popularity. Not everybody wants their posts broadcast worldwide. Savvy users know that personal data is collected and provided to advertisers or accessed by government agencies. 

Only a few private networks actually fulfill their promise. Many private photos on Snapchat has disappeared due to hacking and posted on the internet. In October, it was disclosed that the super-secret network Whisper actually saved user posts and locations and compiled the information on a database. 

It is, however, expected that social media will continue to grow in the coming year. Major players are also confirming this with Facebook rolling out chat app rooms that would allow users to make use of chat rooms based on common interests without the need to reveal identity or location. 

3. Rise and Fall of new networks 

Social media based on niches that respond to inadequacies of the big players such as privacy and pervasive advertising rose to prominence in 2014 such as Yik Yak and Ello. Platforms that have attempted to duplicate Facebook with a promise of few ads have serious challenges to overcome. Their biggest problem that even Google+ had to overcome was attracting a large enough user base compared to Facebook’s growing 1.3 billion community. 

In 2015, social media would have to integrate the fast growing trends on the internet and in more effective ways. 

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