This year has been a big year for social media developments, but marketers are predicting 2016 will be even bigger as more companies invest heavily into social media and digital marketing to get their messages across.
There are countless digital marketing predictions out there, but here are our top five social media trends for 2016:
1. Content marketing will continue to rise
Content marketing (creating relevant, meaningful, interesting content for a defined audience in order to drive profitable customer action) is one of the buzz terms for 2015. Expect it to get even more attention in 2016.
Content marketing takes the form of blogs, videos, infographics, photos, e-newsletters thought leadership articles…and so on. It offers something of value to your audience, builds trust and is usually more memorable than advertising. The beauty of creating your own content is that it’s yours – you own it, you control your key messages and you can push it out to your audiences when you want. From a PR perspective, having this control means that you don’t have to rely on crossing your fingers and hoping mainstream media will pick it up. And, if it’s compelling enough and becomes viral on social media, chances are that mainstream media will start to take interest.
First and foremost – IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCES. This is crucial. Then make sure your content aligns with your business values and the values of your audiences.
2. Audio-visual media dominates
Photos and videos are where it’s at. You know this because you enjoy watching short videos and seeing great photos on social media yourself. Social media is a highly visual medium and these days people are more interested in seeing something than reading it. Visual content will always attract more engagement. A lot of this is down to the fact that we’re accessing social networks via our mobile devices, and the old saying a picture paints a thousand words is so true for content marketing.
3.Engagement will be varied as Facebook moves beyond the Like button
Facebook’s Like button was introduced in 2009. For a while now there has been sentiment out there wanting a ‘dislike’ button as well. In September this year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant will launch a range of emotional responses, rather than just a ‘dislike’ button – ranging from love to angry. Watch for this next year – and be prepared to be more responsive to negative engagement as part of protecting your online reputation.
4. Competition for organic visibility will escalate
Organic reach on social media is now hitting only about 1-3% of your followers, so if your page and content is not very engaging, advertising is inevitable if you want more people to see what you have to say.
Advertising is easy to do and effective on the “Big Three” – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be compelling, engaging, entertaining, interesting, useful etc. The remaining 20% should be calls to action. People get turned off if blatant promotion is in your face.
5. More ecommerce features will be available
Shopify has done some research on the importance of social media for ecommerce. It says Facebook “dominates as a source of social traffic and sales”, with almost two thirds of social media visits to Shopify come from Facebook.
There is ongoing debate about the success of driving ecommerce via social. Much of this success is down to the type of website you have to sell your products. If it’s not mobile-friendly, don’t expect to see many sales come from social media. But ecommerce isn’t likely to disappear from Facebook, and many marketers are predicting other major social platforms will follow suit.
If you’re looking for advice about a social media or digital marketing strategy – or if you need awesome content, get in touch. We’d love to help you achieve online success.