The beginning of a New Year always sees thousands of marketing experts giving their predictions on the year ahead, and so we have done our research with regards to Social Media for your business. What can you expect this coming year from the top platforms? Here’s our round up of what we believe to be 5 of the top trends for 2016.
Direct messaging for business
From all the blogs we have been reading over the last few days, it is clear that all the marketing experts are thinking the same thing. Social Media is going private! The days of a scheduled ‘thanks for following’ DM from a company filling you with dread are over, and businesses are now looking at direct messaging as a positive way to increase customer retention.
Globally there are almost 4 billion active users of messenger apps, with the top ones WhatsApp and Facebook messenger amassing 15 million monthly users between them. Facebook has now launched Business on Messenger, although currently only available with select US businesses, we anticipate it won’t be long before they are rolling it out to us here in the UK.
As Snapchat is almost at 200 million monthly active users and with Twitter upping the 140 character limit in its messaging function, it seems like direct messaging really is the way forward.
With the rise of social buying (our next top trend) it allows the customer to never have to leave the platform. You can peruse, shop, purchase and communicate direct with the company. Ultimately, Facebook are aiming to maintain their position as leaders of the pack, and this doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon.
Social is no longer just ‘social’, it is now looking more and more like e-commerce.
Last year Twitter launched its Buy Now button to businesses in the US, meaning that retailers of all sizes can add a buy button to their tweets. The customer can then purchase without leaving Twitter. Pinterest then followed suit, and although again, only available in the US on Apple devices, it won’t be long before this is rolled out globally, as 93% of pinners have said they have the intent to purchase.
Facebook and Instagram have also announced the launch of their buy it button and it won’t be long before the other channels do the same.
What it means is that for customers, our journey will be short. Targeted advertising will aim the products direct to us, and the option of buying without leaving the site will mean that we don’t need to jump from one screen to another, not having to log in, input our details and keep repeating the process. As businesses, this means that we can keep our customers close, and direct to them exactly what we want to. For both sides, it means less effort and more reward.
Rise of paying for posts
Many of you have noticed the reach on Facebook has dropped considerably unless you are boosting your posts, and this seems set to continue. Paid advertising on Social Media will unfortunately take hold this year, as more and more of us are shelling out to get ahead of the competition and reach a bigger audience. It is a catch 22 situation as more of us do it, then more of us will need to do it.
There is now talk of Twitter creating an algorithm that will control what tweets you see in your timeline, just like Facebook has adopted. This will be called TweetRank and it will prioritise ads. This isn’t great news for those small businesses who rely on Twitter to network and build their audience.
However, if you have a small amount of budget to spend on advertising, then it should be social you look at. It is estimated that by 2017, social media ads may account for a full 16 percent of all digital ad spend globally. And new tools are being created to make that process much easier.
For customers it means that you see what you want to see, as advertising done well is targeted directly to you, and your newsfeeds become a place of desire.
Video becomes stronger and stronger
The rise of video isn’t a surprise for those who work within marketing – Facebook has more than doubled its daily video views to 8 billion, which has reportedly taken over YouTube. This has increased because of the native element of the video function, which now Twitter has followed suit with.
Snapchat also reports a huge rise in its daily video views, going up to 6 billion daily. Adult users now consume a total of 66 minutes of online video every day.
Two out of three businesses anticipate using video within their marketing strategy during 2016, but we aren’t just talking about highly produced company pr films, this could be live streaming via Periscope or Meerkat, or even using gifs within their social media activity. Either way you use it, video is continuing to be a big part of our online activity.
Although trends are pointing towards paid advertising and private messages, there is still a huge necessity to tell your story through social media rather than using it for direct selling. Being able to humanise your brand and allow your customer to relate to you as a business is key to building followers and gaining trust within them.
Blogging is still fundamental to this, as it allows you to build up your expertise and become influential within your peers. Using groups on social media, and embracing the private messaging trend spoken about above will help support this, as will video and vlogging, as it can lead to recommendations and trust with the aim being collaboration and syndication.
Being a ‘human’ business, telling your story, making your customer trust you, becoming influential within your field ultimately means that you will be at the top of your market and will be able to help others with their decision making and spending.
If you have any thoughts on this year's trends, please do tweet us on @Cosmic_UK and let us know.