As we approach the end of 2015, now is a good time to take a look at the emerging trends in Social Media, so that you can start to think about how these might affect your marketing strategy and plan ahead for 2016. Make sure you stay one step ahead of your competition by thinking about this now!
1. E-commerce Features
2015 saw the emergence of ‘Buy’ buttons on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Social networks are battling to hold users’ attention for longer through reducing the need for anybody to leave the app for any reason, so expect to see the option to purchase products directly from within your social apps more and more in 2016. This is partly due to the rise of mobile, as it’s easier to buy a product from within the app you’re already using, than if you’re sent to a new site.
Instagram aren’t far behind this trend with the addition of the ‘Shop Now’ call to action button.
2. Audiovisual Media
It’s a well known fact that social posts that include an image or video receive higher levels of engagement. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this trend is expected to continue into next year. The challenge will be in making your audiovisual media stand out from the crowd.
3. Advertising Will Become More Prominent
The second half of 2015 saw Instagram join the list of social networks offering in-app advertising to businesses. As brands get to grips with how best to use this visual social platform for advertising, we should expect other platforms to follow suit. It’s also thought that more advertising functions will be available across the social networks, such as pop-ups.
4. Concerns over Privacy Will Increase
After some high profile data security breaches in the news this year, such as the Ashley Madison hack, concerns over how our data is stored and used online is bound to increase. Expect to see the social networks respond with added security features. They will need to do this to survive, as users demand and expect their data to be kept safe.
5. In-The-Moment Updates Will Rule
With the rise of live streaming platforms like Periscope and Meerkat this year, the other major social networks will probably add features to jump on this ‘in-the-moment’ trend. If this continues, it could mean that the effectiveness of scheduling your social media posts decreases, and the need for immediacy will be paramount.
Facebook launched Facebook ‘Live’ this year, which is a live streaming feature, but it’s only for celebrities at the moment.
6. More Publishing Tools
Facebook launched ‘Instant Articles’ this year, allowing users to post their work directly on Facebook, rather than posting it on an external website and sharing the link. This is yet another way of keeping users in-app for as long as possible, so we should expect to see more features like this.
More users have also been using the ‘Publish’ feature on LinkedIn during 2015, which allows you to create a long-form post from within the social network and share it with your connections, who each receive a notification to alert them to your content.
7. Content Marketing Will Extend to Other Platforms
Content marketing has traditionally been distributed socially across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. However, with the huge growth of platforms like Instagram, this will probably change, and content creators will have to come up with ideas suitable for other platforms.
8. Content Will Remain King, but Beware…
The prominence of Content in Digital Marketing is expected to continue into 2016. But as our social networks are flooded with content, the competition will become fiercer. The need to produce something different for users to stand out in a sea of infographics, blog posts, articles etc. will be crucial.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
Bearing all of this in mind, here are our top tips to consider when planning your social media strategy for 2016:
- Continue to factor high-quality imagery into your social media posts to boost engagement.
- If you’re an e-commerce site, explore the in-app purchase options available to you and decide if they would benefit your business.
- If you already use social ads, think about how you will make them stand out, as users are presented with ever more choice.
- Consider your posting strategy – will you continue to schedule posts or try to update in real-time? Could you use live streaming?
- Plan your Content Marketing carefully – how will you add variety to keep users interested? Will you use video? Or try out other social platforms?
Who Won Social Media in 2015?
As we imagine what social media will look like in 2016, here is a round-up of the most popular posts and profiles of this year for inspiration! It will be interesting to see how these have changed by the end of 2016…
Most liked Facebook page: Shakira (over 100 million likes)
Most followers on Twitter: Katy Perry (over 78 million followers)
Most YouTube subscribers: PewDiePie (over 40 million)
Most liked Instagram photo 2015: Kendall Jenner (3.2 million likes)