It seems as if we are stuck in a perpetual state of getting a handle on the best use of social media for our brands. More than 90% of consumer brands are active on two or more social media platforms, but our presence doesn’t necessarily mean success. As you review your year-end stats and decide on you approach to social media in 2016, consider these emerging trends before you click ‘send’ on that strategy.
1. Safety and security will be a top priority
Remember what happened to Sony and Ashley Madison? Privacy online has never been more important to consumers as hackers have stormed the web looking for the next big revelation. Snapchat continues to succeed simply because users demand a more private and secure communication channel, even though they experience their own scare this year. What does this mean for us? Instill confidence in your audience through publicly accessible privacy policies and make sure that it’s easy to comprehend.
2. Fewer emerging platforms
Every year we see a multitude of new platforms enter the competitive digital landscape, but very few thrive and survive. It’s fair to say for 2016 at least, the big three will remain intact: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. What makes them so successful? These platforms remain relevant through a loyal following and through the acquisition of emerging platforms. Think of any other successful social platform and they’re likely owned by one of the big three. Instagram? Facebook. Periscope? Twitter. SlideShare? LinkedIn. While experimentation on different platforms can be a good idea, it might be best to focus on the platforms you know and (hopefully) love.
3. Incorporating visual listening
Social media marketers understand the importance of social listening, but are you listening visually as well? Visuals are the most frequently used content type across social platforms, and must be taken into account by brands along with keyword searches and mentions. Visual listening strategies haven’t been fully fleshed out by marketers, simply because it’s too tedious to search the web for image use. Watch Ditto Labs in 2016 for proprietary software to detect brand logos shared across social media platforms. Expect to see more analytical software to pop up that delivers visual results.
4. Rise of the social media publishing system
When the Washington Post announced that it would send 100% of its stories to Facebook to become Instant Articles, North American media was taken aback. Publishing tools are hot in the social media world, as platforms look for ways to keep users exclusively on their page. While only media outlets can get a slice of the publishing pie at Facebook, brands can gear up with its likely counterpart; Native Advertising. Not sure what that is? Start here.
5. E-commerce & the battle of the “buy” button
Social platforms have begun embracing e-commerce by allowing users to buy products natively. After all, eMarketer expects that consumers worldwide will spend $1.6 trillion online this year. Mobile users on Facebook and Pinterest can buy a sponsored product in just a few short clicks, and Instagram shouldn’t be too far behind. Depending on your audience and supply and demand, this may not be a trend you need to jump at immediately, but is definitely worth watching.
What are some trends you think will dominate in 2016? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us @CNWGroup.