In a dynamic and highly competitive industry, you simply can’t afford being left behind with last year’s trends, tactics, and strategies. The very least your business can do to survive is to become aware of the current trends that may influence the industry – no matter how significant the impact may be.
But of course, you should always focus your efforts on those that will yield maximum results. In the case of social media marketing, you should prioritize keeping up with the most relevant social media trends and industry shifts, especially when it comes to the major social platforms in 2016.
Social Media Trends 2016
More Marketing Dollars Invested in Social Data
In order to get ahead of your competition, it’s becoming more and more essential to spend more time and money on smarter marketing tactics using data, instead of overly clever campaigns and messaging gimmicks. Naturally, it’s not as big a challenge for large businesses with plenty of resources, but it can give small businesses a headache especially when it comes to allocating marketing budgets.
The use of marketing automation software, for example, has been in demand for online businesses who want to gain the competitive edge. These tools allow them to save time with executing marketing strategies, product onboarding, and collecting important analytics data.
In addition to these tools, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are also capitalizing the demand for social media marketing by compelling their advertisers to shell out more money for lead generation.
“If the information is essential and important to companies, then they will pay for it without question,” says Matt Banner of OnBlastBlog.com.
A few months ago, Twitter announced plans to deactivate the share count metric in tweets. Although it does not necessarily measure the quality of any given post, it grants marketers the ability to quickly assess the social engagement factor of a particular content.
Why would Twitter make such a superficial piece of data (share count) become hidden from non-paying users? Interestingly, Twitter also noted that the share count value will still accessible through their official Twitter data provider – Gnip. You don’t really have to dig deep to understand why Twitter is probably just stimulating the demand and raising the value for their data. Well played, Twitter.
The Rise of Real-time Video Updates
Sharing videos on YouTube has always been an integral part of online marketing. But in 2016, the role of video marketing is about to become much bigger with live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope.
A live stream is a video that’s broadcasted live and apps like the two mentioned above enable users to record their clips anywhere; anytime.
“This is a great way to keep your friends posted on your holiday trip or one of your important life events,” says SEO Consultant Gareth Bull. “It is also a great way to reach your leads when you release new products, promote special offers, conduct a customer service session, or interview a thought leader in your industry.”
Despite being around for less than a year, online marketers have already figured out the pattern for a more successful campaign with live streaming. Here is a brief outline on what you must remember for marketing with Periscope:
- Turn Twitter sharing on – Sending a link to your Twitter followers is a great way to publicize your live stream. This should be very easy to do given that Twitter already purchased Periscope earlier this year.
- Engage your Audience Live – Live streams are definitely more engaging than watching video uploads on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. This is mainly because you can respond to your audience in real time using their comments, which is why having a Q&A stream on Periscope is such a good idea.
- Get Creative – There are plenty of ways to use Periscope for marketing such as a live product demo or just a general news update. Since the platform is still young, you shouldn’t be afraid with your unique ideas on how to engage your audience with live streaming.
- Pay Attention to Timing – Sending out your content at the right time has always been imperative in social media marketing. A sound strategy is to look into your audience in Twitter since it will be your primary promotion channel.
Facebook Might Overtake Google
The information giant, Google, has always been a key player in the world of online marketing. It owns the most-used search engine that’s responsible for a considerable portion of online traffic. It is also the focal point of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, which can make or break an online business.
What it does not have, however, is user data that’s as complete as the social media giant Facebook. It has access to the user’s family members, shopping preferences, liked brands, hobbies, and the type of community they socialize with. And in addition to the data that allows advertisers to laser-target their audience, another reason why Facebook might just claim Google’s throne as an information leader is Instant Articles.
Instant Articles allows publishers to directly post and distribute their content within the Facebook community. Knowing Facebook, this means you can already reach a lot of people (about 1.55 billion monthly active users).
If you look deeper, this could actually have dire implications on the entire SEO and content marketing industries. For one, Facebook’s reliance on external sources to present content has been significantly downplayed with Instant Articles. Furthermore, the company, as well as other major social networking platforms, have already introduced a ‘buy buttons’ that enable purchases without having to leave the site. IN Facebook’s case, it is the “Shopping” tab.
But given they are two totally different services; industry experts are skeptic about the notion that Facebook might retire Google as an information leader and as the most dominant player in the world of online commerce:
“I don’t see Facebook overtaking Google Search. People tend to use these products differently,” says Rob Lons of RankPay SEO Services.
“That being said, Facebook users are in the app more. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family. People message people on Facebook as much as they text. Everyone is using Instagram. Facebook’s entire ecosystem is addicting and a utility. I feel like the experience is already more seamless.
The real competition between Google and Facebook is ad dollars. Once A.I. and big data analysis can work together seamlessly, I feel Facebook may have a leg up. Google knows our search history. Facebook knows our emotions.”
Still, there is no doubt that Facebook is gearing up to become the next most influential platform in the world of online marketing, as it should be.
Social Media Gives Advertising Reins to Users
In relation to Facebook’s developments, other social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are now incorporating ‘buy now’ features for their users. This means marketers can now leverage these channels for conversions in addition to lead generation.
Right now, the only thing you need to remember is that the emergence of the direct purchase functionality in social media sites is that it’s foreseen to play a crucial role in the strategy of marketers in 2016. Since the entire system is still quite new, there’s yet to be conclusive data regarding their effectiveness for increasing revenue.
What do you think are others social media trends that will blow up next year that haven’t been mentioned above? Share your thoughts by commenting below!
Author: Christopher Jan Benitez
Content marketer during the day. Heavy sleeper at night. Dreams of non-existent brass rings. Writer by trade. Pro wrestling fan by choice (It’s still real to me, damnit!). Family man all the time.