16 Top Social Media Trends You Must Watch in 2016

16 Top Social Media Trends You Must Watch in 2016

2015 will be known for new platforms and networks being popular, names like Snapchat, Instagram and tweets have defined a new edge for online marketing.

While certain updates are due on newly launched social platforms; it’s important for us to get familiar with the bigger picture which is the implications of such changes in a wider sense.

If you can learn “Why a change is required?”, you will always find yourself way ahead of the curve and alter your marketing actions to make it in line with what the audience is looking for.

Knowing about the latest feature of Emoji Toolbar at Facebook and understating the need and implications of it are two very different things to realize how social media users are adapting this new trend.

If you can learn “Why a change is required?”, you will always find yourself way ahead of the curve and alter your marketing actions to make it in line with what the audience is looking for.

So, what could be the key trend to adapt in 2016? If you are preparing yourself for what’s scheduled in 2016, here is what social media gurus advise to keep an eye on.

Trend #1: Mainstream Advertising defined by Live Videos

Ian Schafer, CEO of advertising agency Deep Focus, once said, “Video is the muscle that advertisers have flexed for the longest time, and are willing to pay the greatest premium for.”

You might have seen the “Puppyhood” video on Buzzfeed’s YouTube channel, which became one of the most-viewed videos of 2015 with over 81.3 million views.

While the era of live-casting began in 2015 with the introduction of Facebook Live, Meerkat, Periscope, Appear and Blab; 2016 anticipates an entirely new level of mainstream advertisement.

The introduction of 360° broadcasts will completely change the perception of live videos as you will be able to feel the action with simple movement of your mobile phones as if you are actually present at the scene and moving your head.

Connect with your audience with the immense power of live videos in more personal way than webinars, podcasts, blogs and e-books. You don’t even need too much of editing and polishing or be over sensitive.

Brands will also be using live stream to promote a product launch, conduct interviews, questionnaire or conversations and to connect with their followers.

Trend #2: Upsurge of Video Conferencing and Meetings

As we know now, there will be huge involvement of live streaming and visual content in 2016; we should also consider the updated ways to pool resources and communicate with each other.

Gini Dietrich, the CEO of Arment Dietrich and author of Spin Sucks, believes that video conferencing, interviews and podcasting will be a big social media trend this year.

Take for example, the colossal success of Zoom, an easy to produce and publish software that provides HD video and audio in separate tracks; and lets you communicate with people with just a click.

You can also choose Skype or Google Hangouts which offer similar features and start a quality conference as if all the people are sitting in the same room.

Trend #3: Great use of Virtual Reality but with less ROI

Social Media consultant Amy Vernon writes, “The affordable prices of VR goggles like Google Cardboard will make Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality handy in 2016.”

We can also expect global adoption of economical VR programs which will enable fully immersive 3D experiences on smartphones. This will help marketers to offer factory tours and other realistic experiences one can think of.

You’ll definitely see more efforts to bring VR and AR into the customer’s hands however; some experts feel that it still has to prove enough value to advertisers unless it becomes a mainstream experience by 2016.

Trend #4: Global Prevalence of Instant Content

In 2015, we saw real-time content, instant articles and lead ads for social networks. The logic here is to retain users within the network by skipping the visit to some external site and decreasing the chances of losing your traffic.

This trend continues in 2016, as most networks are targeting to offer instant content which will bring more users to their platforms and engage them for a longer period.

Recently, Facebook has started immersive ads, a much similar concept to instant articles where you open a new FB page with relevant ad information as soon as you click on the ad.

It’s also rumored that Twitter is partnering with Google to develop a new and exclusive version of instant articles because they know that instant content can serve consumers with any detail they want, immediately.

Trend #5: Social Media going more private than social

Yes… You read that right! Be it Facebook or LinkedIn, we all have seen the increasing use private groups and messages. Messaging Apps like WhatsApp, Line, even Facebook messenger are influencing brands to get much more private.

Don’t misinterpret; it also means that the customer service will also shift to private chat groups and messaging to provide an improved level of communication between the brand and its consumers.

Mitch Joel, president of Mirum (A.K.A. Twist Image) and the author of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete, advocates the use of restricted and possibly the most valuable content in private and controlled spaces.

It also means that customer service is going to shift to messaging and private group spaces, and that brands will be expected to provide this level of communication between them and their consumers.

Trend #6: Companies paying huge amounts for traffic routing

Andy Crestodina, co-founder of Orbit Media, predicts huge changes on twitter because of the consistent growth in active user number and the drastic drop in the share price of the little blue bird.

Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics and known blogger at NeilPatel.com, believes that social networks will start charging for traffic in 2016.

And why not? With tools like Google’s PageRank, FB’s EdgeRank, and the anticipated TweetRank, your comments and tweets won’t appear on all your followers’ timelines after couple of months.

And when the dust settles, brands will have a plethora of opportunities to boost their visibility for a pocket friendly price. If not, we might someday see Twitter as the next acquisition by Google, Microsoft or Facebook.

Trend #7: Customization of Visuals for Platforms

Visual marketing will eventually grow in 2016, and soon it will become necessary for all brands to have a firm strategy for multimedia visuals such as long and short videos for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and graphics for blog content.

Visual content is projected to drive cross-platform engagement. And hence, creating anchor content for your webpages and breaking it into appropriate segments will be essential, so you can post it to each platform.

For example, you can embed some long video into a blog post, tweet the same with graphics, and share a tip from it as a graphic on Instagram or a Pinterest quote and all that will lead back to the blog content.

Brands will need to implement an image strategy that can work across their preferred social platforms and customize content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Trend #8: Redesigning of Facebook Ad Target Functions

Christian Karasiewicz, founder of Social Chefs and social media marketing professional, predicts better Facebook Ad targeting in 2016.

Facebook recently launched fresh tools which allow FB pages to learn more about people they are communicating with. While on the other hand, page owners can add keywords within notes and tag users they are connecting with.

This feature will be deeply incorporated within Facebook ads soon to help businesses improve the targeting of ads related to an engaging content.

Instead of targeting a user based on broad interests, FB pages will now be able to provide a personal touch based on the interactions with a user.

Trend #9: Progressive Customer Support

In 2016, Businesses will adapt to social platforms in order to resolve customer service concerns. It makes sense too as raising questions from a platforms where you spend more time is logical.

According to a research conducted by Socialbakers, social media customer service requests increased by 250% since 2013 where the majority (80%) came through Twitter.

So brands must also pay attention and communicate with customers where they mostly are. So, we expect to see the focus turning towards social customer service in 2016.

Trend #10: Adaptability of Social Strategies

Neal Schaffer, the founder of Social Tools Summit and Social Media Center of Excellence, sees 2016 as a year when many companies will device adaptive social.

In order to engage and team up with more social media users for business, we need to familiarize with their communities and requirements for eventual accomplishment.

Some foreseen examples of these strategies will be like these:

  • Social Sales: Marketers will restart from scratch and customize the content for customer’s needs by all means.
  • Content Publicizing: Brands will adapt content and social assignments for comforts of social users in their language.
  • Influencer Promotion: Brands will realize the worth of healthy relations and adapt to the needs of the influencers.
  • Employee Engagement: Businesses will adapt to employee behaviors and seek more participation, greater reach and authentic trust for your brand.

Trend #11: Brand Specific Content

Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, sees top brands focusing on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as pure syndication prospects in 2016.

It’s difficult to control our connections on social networks. The platforms control the flow of information and the data of audience which means they can show anything to anyone, regardless of the user opts in to see specific content.

The solution to this problem is, building your own audience of email and print subscribers to have the maximum control and to communicate directly with subscribers.

Trend #12: Use of Image Recognition as a monitoring tool

Till date, we have been using a lot of monitoring, filtering and analyzing tools that were text-based however; we also noticed that there was an increased use of images within social content.

The founder of RazorSocial, Ian Cleary says, “In 2016, we will see the integration of image recognition programs in monitoring tools and search software.”

Image analysis could be difficult at certain times and is not foolproof, yet the technology is getting better day by day and marketers need to think about their imagery content.

Trend #13: Increased Popularity of Mobile Messaging Apps

Mobile has been one preferred social space for a long time. Currently, over 2.6 billion smartphone are being used worldwide and with the rise of messaging apps; it’s important to integrate them into social media strategy.

According to a forecast from eMarketer in 2015, 1.4 billion people were expected to use mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger which was a good 31.6% increase from 2014.

Let’s take Uber for example, which created headlines from its business partnership with Facebook Messenger a few days back, allowing customers to book a ride through the mobile app.

Trend #14: Engagement supersedes circulation tendency

A viral content is great, but advocacy is realistic, profitable and strategic objective. And that’s why, businesses will focus on content engagement in 2016.

The social media experts see brands moving away from viral content in the New Year and shifting towards content that rings to your audience.

And how are you going to do that? By identifying and realizing what your key audiences expect from your business. You deliver that; and watch people like your content, comment and share it among their individual networks.

That’s how you will increase the reach of your brand messaging. This is a practical and valuable approach as the people who like to see your content on social media, can be the right ones for your brand to begin with.

Trend #15: Evolution of Emoji Analytics

Whether you like the Emoji or not, whatever you feel but one thing is sure that their influence is unquestionable. Used largely by young population, emoji have become an essential element of socialmedia.

A research conducted by Instagram and published in early 2015, displayed that in some countries, the number of posts with emoji characters exceeded the other segment.

Emoji are now a prime communications tool that help users to express their sentiment in a quick and easy way without so many words; although communication efficiency is vital for their application.

The question is how we can use emoji to better understand our audience? Is it possible to use emoji habits and behaviors as an indicator of interest and engagement?

Absolutely it is, but we must first extract the specifics of how and why emoji are being used. 2016 will bring a lot more focus on understanding the use of emoji in various contexts and taking actions accordingly.

Trend #16: Classifying significant metrics

Remember those early days of Facebook, when they encouraged business brands to build their Page and get more Likes in order to increase reach, it was also included as an ad objective on FB.

This concept has been common over the past few years, but in 2016, it might finally attract some focus. In certain perspectives, metrics such as Likes, Followers, re-tweets can indicate real conversions.

For online marketing, numbers like CTR (Click-through-rates), subsequent actions taken and purchases made; matter the most. While shares and engagements play a pivotal role, the actual numbers decide the outcome.

With this, businesses will move towards the next stage of social ROI, provide definitive connections between their social and actual results and be able to truly understand and maximize their social marketing caliber.

The Bottom Line

As noted by Jay Baer, “The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media.” According to digital research firm eMarketer, 88.2% brands use social media platform for marketing purposes.

This development will be significant to watch in 2016, a completely new battlefield for social platforms to prove themselves which would reduce the expenses as well.

We may also see Twitter leading the way, in terms of social customer service, but the increasing popularity of Facebook Messenger could make The Social Network take some prompt and big paces on this front.

Either way, the result will offer more tools for brands to improve customer outcomes through better system response and will help many of those to move a step forward in 2016.



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