2015 was the year that gave us #TheDress, Pizza Rat and Llama Drama. All three of these things went wildly viral and we can guarantee that 2016 will bring us many more love-it or hate-it social media moments.
You might be thinking, “those are great but how do silly viral moments affect my business’ social media plans?”
I can’t promise that your social posts are going to go viral, but I can give you a few ideas about where the world of social media is heading over the next 12 months. I’ve outlined 5 (+1 bonus) social media trends that you can expect to see in 2016.
Marketers are spending more and more money in the social space each year. This means they are demanding to see direct ROI, and this is where social commerce comes in. While Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook have already introduced the concept of Buy Now buttons, you can expect to see other social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Vine joining the club this year. After all, why wouldn’t we want to make it easy for users to purchase our products?
Instant Articles/In-App Functionality
Did you know that 17% of internet page views last less than 4 seconds? Knowing that, Facebook’s Instant Articles is definitely a feature to watch this coming year.
Instant Articles offers users continuously updating, long-form content that can be found without ever leaving the social platform.
You’re already seeing some publishers using this feature, but expect it to become more common in 2016. With new platforms coming online every year and user attention span’s growing shorter, the platforms we love will work hard to keep their users happy and on their platform longer. Other examples of this type of content are Snapchat Stories and Twitter’s Moments.
The days of “Set It and Forget It” content are over. (For those of you who were infomercial kids like me, you’ll recognize the quote from Mr. Ron Popiel.) Your audience is hungry for good content. They want the brands that they follow to be transparent, humanized and authentic.
To be successful in social media in 2016, you need to be creative and spend more time writing and publishing better content.
Don’t forget, social media is a two-way street. You need to engage with your customers and reply to their comments, both good and bad. Hitting that Hide button isn’t going to help you. This year, the importance of providing excellent and prompt customer service through social media will stick around and hold even more value than last year. It’s more important now than ever to have a solid content strategy in place to ensure success in delivering content with reliability, focus and consistency.
We saw tremendous growth this year with live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope. You should think long and hard before adding live streaming to your social media tool belt. You want to ask yourself how these platforms will fit into your social media strategy. If you are going to pursue these options, do your homework. Make sure that you are going to have the time and bandwidth to take on this medium.
Your audience wants good, quality content on a regular basis. If you start up a Meerkat or Periscope account on a whim, stream once and then abandon the channel, will that make your audience interested and engaged? Probably not. Regularly publishing content that is interesting will make your viewers want to stick around. Remember, social media is an animal that needs to be fed regularly.
This is a biggie, so pause your multitasking and pay attention. More than ever, brands are employing social media influencers to help get the word out about their company or products. Influencers should not be treated as a once and done project.
You’ll want to choose your influencers wisely, develop lasting relationships and make sure you have a formalized contract. Influencers don’t work for free, and if they are going to be your next brand advocate, you’ll want to keep them happy. Want to dip your toes in the water on the influencer front? Our social media team knows just how to help, don’t be shy, shoot us an email, we’ll show you the ropes.
Organic Reach & Engagement
Last, but certainly not least, social media is becoming more and more of a pay to play space. We know that you’re probably tired of hearing it by now, but this is not a drill people! In 2015, we saw Instagram advertising open up to the masses and more and more companies are investing in social media advertising.
According to Locowise’s November 2015 Facebook and Instagram findings, Facebook’s organic growth, reach and engagement were at an all-time low. Instagram engagement is on the decline as well; it declined by 60% since April.
Just make sure that if you decide to add social advertising to your marketing mix, that you have a solid strategy behind your efforts. You’ll need to get creative to stand out in an already busy marketplace.
If you’re thinking about social advertising in the New Year but aren’t sure where to start, give Digital Marketing Director Bret Ludlow a call (484-891-5118) or send him an email. Our social media advertising team is ready to help you hit the ground running.
Let’s Wrap It Up
I’m sure this isn’t the only social media trends article that you’ll read this season. Take in as much information as you can and plan, plan, plan.
No matter what your business, there is a way to be successful in social media for everyone; you just need to create an awesome strategy to help you along the way. Don’t forget, we’re here to help you get social — whether it be with your strategy, your contests and giveaways or just day-to-day management.
About Megan Schroetel
Megan Schroetel is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Liquid Interactive with focus in social media, email and display marketing. A 2008 graduate of Millersville University, she holds a BS in Speech Communication with a background in broadcast production and public relations. Megan held the position of Marketing Manager at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in the Lehigh Valley for several years prior to joining Liquid in 2013.