Social Media marketing trends that we’ve seen take hold for the last year or so are expected to continue into 2016, with a new year bringing new ways for marketers to use social media to connect with their audiences.
Let Your Content Be Your Guide
Relevant content will continue to be absolutely critical in 2016—the sun around which all the other trends will orbit—as consumers of all ages are expecting more from their digital devices: more interaction, more functionality, and more personalization. Brand content should be showcased on multiple channels, to make sure it’s reaching audiences on all the platforms they’re engaging with.
Let’s Take a Moment
Advertising professionals know that making a connection with consumers is vital to turning them into loyal customers. One powerful way to achieve this connection is by using in-the-moment updates. Today’s consumers are used to getting everything now: virtually any information they need, or whatever kind of entertainment they’re looking for, is just seconds away. Brands can use Social Media marketing to keep consumers interested and engaged. It’s a great way to share sneak peeks of your business, giving consumers that ‘more’ that they’re looking for: more access to behind-the-scenes, to what makes your business tick.
The Virtue of Video
The natural partner to in-the-moment updates is video, which is poised to continue its explosive growth in 2016. People are watching video more than ever, which is changing the way marketers create and share content with them. It’s not about reach and impressions anymore—it’s about how much of your video was viewed. Was it shared? Commented on?
The incredible volume of content that’s available has created consumers who have very little patience. We’re so used to having virtually limitless amounts of content at our fingertips that we have attention spans less than goldfish.* Here’s where video—we’re talking LIVE video, not pre-roll sales pitches—will help brands connect with the audiences they need to reach. It feels personal—and like something special because it’s live. Streaming on Social Media is really working for many big brands, across industries, including GE, Nestle, BMW, Spotify, and Adidas.
Now, It’s Personal
In order for your great content to connect with your audience, it needs to be relevant to them. It needs to be personal. Social Media marketing makes it easy to collect all the data you need, non-intrusively, in order to create content that speaks to your audience(s) on a personal level.
Facebook Ads, especially video, are an incredibly effective way for brands to connect with consumers, in a personal environment, when they’re interacting with content that matters to them. And Buy Buttons make it easy for consumers to shop right from their desktops or mobile devices, without leaving the app.
First only offered to celebrities, and slowly rolling out to the masses, Facebook Live is working hard to catch up to other video-streaming platforms like Periscope and Meerkat. But with 700 million daily Facebook users, it will most certainly impact the industry—for consumers and competitors alike—in 2016. Brands can post behind-the-scenes clips and pics, for a personal, in-the-moment feel that really draws audiences in. Look to Facebook Live for influencer marketing, as popular bloggers and web personalities explore this new way to engage their loyal followers and fans.
Like Facebook, Instagram makes it easy to post pictures and videos, and it’s a great way for brands to connect with current and potential customers. Across industries, brands can create content that’s visually appealing and personal to users. It’s the perfect place to entice travelers with a beautiful vacation pic, or to inspire DIYers with a simple makeover video.
Instagram’s Search and Explore feature makes it easier for consumers to find the content they’re looking for, keeping them engaged with the app for longer. It’s another platform that’s tailor-made for in-the-moment and influencer marketing. Here, too, the Buy Button makes it easy for shoppers to fill their carts.
The fastest growing social network, Pinterest is poised to continue that trend in 2016. Visually driven, it’s perfect for any brand that can benefit from connecting with consumers through engaging images. The opportunity here is huge, and not only because of the soft roll out of the Buy Button. Pinterest drives more traffic to websites than any other site except for Facebook, and its data collection is rivaled only by Google.
Twitter has grown to join Facebook and Instagram as one of the most popular Social Media platforms, and marketers are taking notice. Content is king at Twitter, and brands need to make sure theirs is compelling. Quality content is more likely to be retweeted by influencers and thought leaders. In-the-moment marketing—remember Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet heard ‘round the world—is ideal for Twitter’s 140 character limit. It’s great for brands to interact with consumers in almost real-time, bringing customer service to a whole new level.
YouTube is the epicenter of video consumption, and videos (live and otherwise) are powerful tools in building relationships with consumers. By creating content your audience wants to see, you connect with them on a personal level. It builds trust and a brand’s identity as a thought leader. Long-form video content is ideal for brands—think immersive test drive videos, sneak peeks of travel destinations, and comprehensive how-tos. The opportunity for brands is limitless.
Periscope (and Meerkat):
The most popular live-stream platform, Periscope is another great way for brands to connect with consumers in-the-moment and on a personal level. Live video is engaging; it feels like a special event, not to be missed. It creates intimacy, and also positions brands as authorities. Most of all, it’s easy and fun way to connect with the audience you need to connect with. Video, especially live video, is unmatched at building rapport with consumers. The relative newness of these platforms is also more engaging, especially to younger demographics.
Another new kid on the social media marketing block, Snapchat has not-so-quietly amassed 100 million active users who send 700 million snaps a day. With many marketers shying away from this mobile-only platform—beloved by millennials— there’s huge potential for those willing to take the chance on mobile marketing . Snapchat’s hook, self-destructing content, means brand content better be strong. Consumers aren’t looking for elaborate content or a hard sell here. They want the personal, inside information that give them real insights into your brand.
Social Media reaches consumers at every stage of the purchase funnel, so it’s important for marketers to be where there audience is. Targeted online advertising through social media marketing is constantly evolving. Understanding your audience—where they browse, what they click, and how they share—is vital for Social Media marketing success in 2016. Brands need to explore new platforms as they emerge, and be nimble enough to keep what’s working and jettison what’s not.