Social Media Trends for 2016

In the world of social media, there is one thing we can most certainly agree upon. Change is consistent. Hundreds of new platforms are being created every year, consumer behavior trends are evolving every day and Facebook users alone like over 4 million posts per minute! Nine out of 10 companies are now active on social networks, and more than half are saying their social media efforts are boosting sales. Because of these constant updates, new features and innovations; it’s important to remain ahead of the game. As we conclude 2015, let’s review the most influential trends from this past year and see what we have to look forward to in 2016.

A Quick Recap from 2015

Wearables
Wearable technology, such as the ever-popular Apple iWatch, is only the beginning to the revolutionary movement of smart devices. By having access to all of your notifications on your wrist (hands-free), you can easily and more safely complete your daily tasks while staying updated along the way. The healthcare industry has already benefited greatly by adapting to this growing trend, not only for B2B use but for consumers as well. Its use in the workplace will be a valuable asset for scheduling meetings and speedy follow up. Researchers are convinced that by 2018, over 177 million wearable devices will be in use.

Image Based Content
Not too long ago, it was the norm to use text-only social media marketing. These days? You don’t stand a chance of breaking through the clutter unless your content is filled with visuals. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. So it’s no surprise users are drawn to visual content. In fact, they are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. You could include images that promote your product, workplace culture, fans, business and events. The list goes on and on. Let’s not forget infographics. If you have a lot of images or you have a lot to explain, the best type of image to use is an infographic. It’s a great tool to help someone understand your message, story or concept. When it comes to visuals, the possibilities are endless!

Social Networks As Search Engines
The way users search has expanded outside of simple SEO. Eighty-eight percent of consumers are influenced by online reviews and additional consumer comments posted on social media platforms. They’re going straight to sites like Yelp or YouTube. A review posted by a consumer showing a fun, interactive moment they had with your product, or sharing a conflicting conversation they had with someone in your customer service, both situations are controlled by 3 factors: relevance, right time, and spot on reactions. Like they say though, “There is no such thing as bad publicity!”

In-App Functionality
This has grown tremendously over the past year and will continue to develop and diversify its functions. Facebook wins the award for innovating new ideas to keep people on the app at all times. Companies and consumers are both benefiting from in-app advertising. By taking cookies from one’s personal computer browser and launching them as a reminder on the side of your social media news feed is just brilliant. Be on the lookout for creative new ideas as this trend will easily continue to thrive well into 2016.

What’s Everyone Talking About for 2016?

Live Streaming
Social video is exploding. Last year, Facebook daily video views reportedly surpassed even YouTube’s own daily views. Brands are beginning to use videos for customer service outreach and to show company culture and personality. Videos are already set up to play instantly as you scroll. In the coming year, you’ll start to see new applications like Periscope and Facebook’s new “Live” option, allowing brands the chance to engage with their users on a whole new level. This will be a key asset to event marketing. Stream your events live and give consumers a new real understanding of your brand. It’s no wonder why 70% of companies have said video is their most effective marketing tool.

Digital Assistant
This could very well be the gateway to an entirely new system of social media marketing. We have all heard about Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana, well what you might not know is that Facebook has created what they call ‘M’. M is a digital/human hybrid assistant that can be located in the messenger app for Facebook. By learning from human behavior with the assistance of a customer service representative, M is able to complete tasks like planning a friends’ birthday party, canceling your HBO, and helping you set up your home Wi-Fi. As of right now Facebook is at a disadvantage for not having its own operating system, but there is no doubt and no limits to the amount of business opportunities on the horizon as M develops and advances in the digital world.

Buy Buttons
The key here is to eliminate friction. Consumers don’t want to have to jump through hoops for the information they’re trying to find, especially on mobile. This click to purchase feature eliminates the headache and helps to avoid driving your potential customers directly to the laps of your competitors.  Facebook and Pinterest have already taken advantage of this feature. By the end of 2016, most of the majors will be well acquainted with this feature as it becomes an essential element to their social media advertising campaigns.

Social Advertising
New ad formats are constantly rolling out. It’s almost hard to keep up! In the last year, companies have increased their social advertising budgets by 33.5%. Expect that number to grow in the coming year. Advertisers are now able to drill down past solely targeting age and gender to interests, location and more. Consumers are now seeing the ads that they want to see. Because of this, the new generation of social media ads looks a lot like normal updates from friends and followers.

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