2015 has been a wonderful, event-filled year for the social media. We saw a whole lot of new trends, features being updated on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc. We saw the rising popularity of live streaming thanks to apps like Periscope and Meerkat. Social media marketing took on a form of its own coming out from the shadows of traditional marketing and having its own aggressive stance.
And now it's time for the year to go and a new year to come in, and with that comes in speculations, predictions, prophecies and a whole lot of trend talk. Yes, it’s that time of the year again where we will guess; predict the trends we foresee in Social media marketing in 2016. These predictions are based on our experiences in the market and expert reviews. We may not be totally on the mark, and that’s because social media is moving so fast, not even the most informed, in-touch seem to get it 100%.
So here we are dear readers, with our prediction of the Top 10 Trends we foresee in the Social media marketing for 2016.
1) Growth of the video: Whether it’s Facebook Live, video on Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat or the good old YouTube, 2016 will be the year, when videos take centre stage in content marketing for all brands including B2Bs. This is because videos have a higher engagement rate than just text. It’s also atomizing content marketing. With video you have audio, images, text (transcription); it’s essentially a melting pot of good content marketing.
2) In the moment updates: Yes we know, social media is already in the moment. But come 2016 and it shall be even more concentrated. Live videos will be the hottest thing on the block. Periscope, Blab, Fire Talk are all in the race to bask in the sunshine of live streaming. Facebook’s Live Video is too in the pipeline and currently being tested on a few iOs users. We expect it to blanket us all in 2016.
Add to that Instagram and Snapchat which have made on-the-go updates a fad. 2016 will herald a new era of immediacy on the social media.
3) Refined Customer engagement: Both Facebook and Twitter will look to enhance customer service and engagement in 2016. A lot of customers take to Twitter for customer queries or feedback as its quick and simple. Twitter’s been working to facilitate this better, removing the character limits from DMs and introducing quote tweets to help keep track of relevant conversations. The next step forward on this front might be to incorporate a more encompassing Twitter customer service platform offering services to streamline customer service interactions even further.
Facebook’s Reactions is set to roll out widely in 2016 giving access to marketers to gauge reactions of their customers and correlate it with their buying behaviours and engagements. Reactions will enable marketers to track how each response is linked with website visit, brand conversion etc.
4) Buy buttons: This year Facebook and Pintrest gained attention by introducing the BUY button to their features enabling mobile viewers of FB and Pintrest buy a product they like on a sponsored post with just a click. A huge advantage to the marketers, the trend is expected to catch on in 2016 with Instagram and other social media platforms ready to jump onto the bandwagon. By the end of 2016, most of the social media platforms will be ready with their BUY buttons for their advertisements.
5) Personalized content: 2016 will see a shift from creating more content to creating the right content, for the right audience and broadcasting it on the right channels. Consumers today expect hyper-relevant, personalized content delivered to them anywhere they engage on social media or email or any other channel. There is increased pressure to constantly deliver that seamless, engaging content, and more brands will be step up their game to deliver exactly that. Developing optimized, socialized, and engaging content for mobile and apps will become crucial.
6) Influencers: Influencing your target audience through your employees isn’t a new trend. But what you will see in 2016 is brand marketers moving into top gear with employee advocacy programs as they wake to the fact that their workforce is the biggest tool to help them reach their target audience. Companies will aggressively invest in awareness and training their employees on the brand’s vision and persuade them to become the ambassadors through content generation, content sharing and social media engagement.
7) Seamless advertising: In your face advertising is annoying and pissing off for everyone. As the debate for ad blockers goes on, the fact is consumers have little patience for annoying ads or pop ups disrupting their activity. Now ad blockers may or may not hold. We still don’t know about that, but 2016 will be the year of advertising seamlessly blending into the browsing experience. That’s what will demarcate good brands from the annoying, pesky ones.
8) Paid vs. Organic: Amplification of paid content will continue to grow in the New Year as marketers realize it as a key for garnering increased organic reach as well. Paid content will see an increase in organic reach. Brands not investing in paid content might as a result see a decrease/fall in their engagement. Some may be even pushed off the SMM map as a result.
9) Storytelling: Tell your audience your brand story and tell it well because no matter how attractive your ad messages are, people will care about the culture and not the product. There have been a number of digital storytelling campaigns in 2015 that leveraged worldwide branding and compelled people to action. 2016 will see this platform go a notch higher. Marketers need to go through their marketing vision and identify the value that most of the buyers would share and resonate with your brand.
10) Brand turn to Messaging apps: We have discussed this trend earlier here With nearly 4 billion active global users of IM apps like Whatsapp, FB Messenger, WeChat,Snapchat, Kik it’s a minefield of opportunity for marketers. 2016 may just be the year where analytics and insights into the usage of these apps are readily available to the marketers to help them devise their messaging strategy.
These were some of our predictions for the New Year. How do you think the social media scenario will develop in the coming year? Let us know your thoughts.