As another year draws to a close, I find myself with two options for today’s post – a look back, or a look forward.
There is merit in both approaches, of course, but I have decided to go with the latter – 2015 has happened, and I sincerely hope that it happened well for you. Whatever you have learned from the experience, you must gather up the insights to take you through the next calendar year, rectifying those things that didn’t work for you, and amplifying those that did.
Indeed, the purpose of a look back over the previous year would in fact be to try and gather up some general acumen that you can take forward. I trust that you don’t need me to tell you to do this, and so I find it much more useful to take this time to consider some emerging trends that are likely to take hold much more seriously in 2016, so you can begin to think about how you will match your 2015 experiences accordingly.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, from the research that I have conducted for this blog, most of the upcoming changes that we can expect in the New Year can’t really be said to be ‘revolutionary’. Most of them already took root some time during this year or even last year – but in 2016 they will likely accelerate to an extent beyond which we have seen before.
Having said that, social media tends to change quickly, and, as you will know, it is the occupation of the marketer to try and stay ahead of what’s hot and what’s happening now and master any new approaches and innovations almost before they even start. So, let’s help you get ahead on what the New Year will bring now, so you’re all ready to go when you return to the office in the first week of January, ready to make 2016 the best year for your company to date.
Top Social Marketing Predictions For 2016
More Buy It Buttons
As I said in my introduction, some 2016 trends have already begun, and the social media “Buy It” button certainly started causing storms earlier this year. Facebook and Pinterest were the main culprits – and I covered the latter in some detail back in October with my post ‘How To Set Up Buyable Pins On Pinterest’ – but more of the usual suspects are already making plans to join in the fun.
Instagram, of course, also made headlines in June, as it gave advertisers the option to add “Shop Now”, “Learn More”, and “Sign Up” buttons to their advertisements, and I’m sure it won’t be long before a true “Buy It Now” button finds its way onto the site, with the other platforms following suit not far behind. We’ll have to see, of course, but I’d recommend online retailers to start thinking about how they might sell directly on a variety of the existing social platforms so that they’re ready for when the option eventually emerges (as it almost certainly will).
More Live Video
Having covered Periscope a couple of times already on this blog this year, you might say that 2015 was the year for live video. But, I’d like to venture that the market and platforms haven’t quite matured yet, and indeed, many brands have still not jumped aboard such things. Therefore, in 2016 there’s still lots more places for live streaming to go, and with the evolving growth of Facebook Mentions, I predict that in the upcoming year we will see many more marketers adopting the techniques and platforms that are offering live video options.
What many of us have missed, however, is YouNow – the live streaming app that is very popular amongst teens – and so anyone who’s marketing to that demographic should really make 2016 the year to tap into what’s already happening there.
Yes, no longer will the boss be shouting at his/her employees to get off Facebook when they’re supposed to be working – in 2016 Facebook (et al) will become part of the daily grind for every employee, and not just the marketer.
Facebook At Work, was of course launched earlier this year, which gave businesses the opportunity to create a sort of intranet in the style of Facebook itself. But, be this as it may, what I think will really come to fruition is the encouragement of employees to advocate their firms on social at large.
The power of social networking is of course not lost on CEOs and managers, but there’s always been the worry of employees using Facebook inappropriately as representatives of the business. Many companies indeed have hidden social networks behind the firewall, and strict ‘Facebook policies’ have been in force to prevent employees damaging the company’s image online.
However, albeit that I don’t expect such policies to be eased at all in 2016, I do think that employees will be encouraged to act as kind of ‘brand advocates’ on social. Personal pages get more traffic, as a rule, than brand pages, and by getting employees to become an active part of the social media game whilst on the job, reach can be truly optimised through a ripple effect of personal connections.
There’s even an app already out there that helps companies enable this – SocialChorus. Content is curated in one place via the app, which employees can easily access to read and share, thusly unlocking “social advocacy at scale”. It’s pretty neat, and has a ton of other features that enable employee advocacy on social media in the work place – definitely one worth checking out as part of your 2016 marketing expansion plans.
So those are just three of my social marketing predictions for 2016. Please tell me yours in the comments below. Happy New Year, Everyone!!