What social media trends will help to ignite the growth of your business?
After recently completing a new website for a client, I was asked one of the top questions I often hear. You may be asking yourself this same question, How can social media help my business grow?
That is a million-dollar question. Social media has changed over the years. The strategies that worked a few years ago on Facebook do not work today. What can you do for your business to stand out from the competition? What changes in the social media arena can you tap into?
What do you see as the top social media trends for 2016?
To discover what the key social media trends and strategies are to help businesses grow in 2016, I reached out to experienced social media marketing professionals. I am thrilled to include their insights below on what the emerging trends are and what the social media landscape may look like in 2016.
The digital marketing experts who shared their vision in this article include:
- Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author
- Jenny Brennan, Facebook Marketing and Advertising Pro
- Mandy Edwards, Owner & Social Media Strategist, ME Marketing Services, LLC
- Juan Felix, Owner of Felix Relationship Marketing
- Heidi Garland, Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Guild West Agency
- Ian Anderson Gray, Founder at Seriously Social with Ian Anderson Gray
- Jennifer G. Hanford, Owner & Managing Director, j+ Media Solutions
- Sheila Hensley, Founder & CEO, Social Web Learning
- Jenn Herman, Social Media Strategist, Jenn’s Trends
- Ray Hiltz, Google Plus for Business Consultant, rayhiltz
- Ana Hoffman, Founder at Traffic Generation Cafe with Ana Hoffman
- Dorien Morin-Van Dam, Founder & CEO, More In Media
- Michelle Phillips, Owner, Codefetti LLC
- Sara Nickleberry, President, Social With Sara
- Rebekah Radice, Digital marketing strategist, founder of Rebekah Radice
- Mark W. Schaefer, Globally-recognized blogger, speaker, educator, business consultant, and author of five best-selling books including The Content Code.
- Brooke B. Sellas, Founder & Chief Digital Strategist, B Squared Media
- Martin Shervington, Founder & CEO, Plus Your Business
- Ravi Shukle, Online Marketing Expert, Ravi Shukle
- Michael Stelzner, Founder & CEO, Social Media Examiner
- Dawn Swick-Renshaw, Social Media Strategist, Stoney Creek Social Media
Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author
Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell
Like every year since 2007, 2016 will no doubt prove to be extremely interesting, filled with massive developments in social media platform capability and usage. In particular, we will see this year:
- Continued increase in use and prevalence of Video content
- Continued increase in creation and consumption of Podcast content
- Real attrition in social platforms
It’s that last point that I think is most interesting. I believe that we’ll see more mergers, acquisitions and complete shuttering of platforms this year, to help reduce the total number of social platforms. Many of us have noticed an overall decline in social media engagement, and I think that’s in part due to the sheer number of options our audiences have. The networks themselves are also feeling that strain, and we’re already seeing rumors of such movement from former giants like Yahoo!.
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early ’90’s, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, “The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management” and “The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.”Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @mike_alltonClick To Tweet
Facebook Marketing and Advertising Pro
It’s always interesting to forecast into the future and try to ascertain what you think will be a big trend. There is certainly more emphasis now and an acceptance around paid social advertising and its place in marketing businesses online. If you are not using Facebook ads for example, you’re going to be behind the curve and your competition. It is of course going to become more competitive as more brands use Facebook ads, and so there still needs to be a real investment in your content, your people and passion for how you can have meaningful relationships on social with your target market. One thing that hasn’t and I don’t think will change is that social media should be used for human interaction, building better relationships and providing top class customer service.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @JennyBrennanMe Click To Tweet
Owner & Social Media Strategist
ME Marketing Services, LLC
Trends are so hard to predict and follow because some stick around (chevron print, for example) and some only last a few months. In the ever-evolving world of social media, there are trends coming and going throughout the year. There are several that I see sticking beyond just calling it a “trend” –
- A more calculated approach to content marketing. With the on-going content shock going on, businesses are having to be more deliberate and intentional with their content marketing efforts. No longer and you just approach and the masses will come, you now have to promote your content and share it among the many social media platforms. Carving out your own niche with your own voice is going to be very important this year.
- More businesses will branch out from Facebook. Yes, Facebook marketing will still be effective and useful for businesses, but with their ever-changing algorithm which makes it extremely hard for organic posts to be seen, businesses are going to branch out. Watch for Pinterest to see a bump and Instagram to grow. Snapchat will grow immensely as well as businesses figure out how to work that to their advantage.
- Social shopping will be a hit. With all the major platforms debuting (or have already debuted) the buy now button, you’ll see an increase in people shopping from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Instagram is even running ads right now encouraging companies to advertise and let people buy from that post.
- Live-streaming video becomes a main player in marketing. With Periscope, Meerkat and Facebook’s Live Video, watch for more companies to branch out and use these platforms to further enhance their marketing.
- Businesses will start advertising more on social media. Because of squeezed organic reach on Facebook and Pinterest’s updated stream, more businesses and brands will spend more money to have their content seen. According to Advertising age, 48% of B2Bs plan to increase their digital advertising & marketing this year.
Owner of Felix Relationship Marketing
The constant changes in social media make it hard for marketers to decide where to focus their attention. So if I had to suggest what to focus on in 2016, it would be:
- Live video: there are a number of interesting developments here. Such as Periscope now allowing to live broadcast directly on Twitter. Facebook rolling out live video to a larger audience. And social media influencers like Social Media Examiner using video streaming apps like Blab to host their Morning Social Media Marketing Talk. These trends show that live video content has become extremely important for brands to build direct, fast and personal connections with their audience.
- Vanishing content: Snapchat and similar mobile Apps are winning the attention graph because of the limited lifespan of the content. So, I expect the yellow and white ghost app will continue to grow and attract generation X and baby boomers. The challenge for brands now is to create mobile video content that is short, fast and raw. With the growing popularity of vanishing content apps like Snapchat, I expect more mobile apps to produce more private content that is only consumable by those who have access to your content.
- Advanced targeting: I expect more advanced targeting features, not only for paid ads but also for organically shared content. We’ve already seen new features such as Facebook Audience Optimization which allows you to target your Facebook Page audience based on their interests and local awareness ads to reach people nearby. It wouldn’t surprise me if we’re going to see more of these advanced targeting features on other social media platforms as well.
Marketing & Social Media Strategist
Guild West Agency
Throughout the few short years that social media has been in existence, trends change quite rapidly and yet the more things change the more they stay the same. Over the last few months of 2015, I’ve seen a few tends that I’m very excited about and I feel that they will be game changers for the coming year.
The 2 exciting new trends that I feel show the biggest promise for strengthening your brand are:
- Snapchat – users watch 7 billion video clips every day rivaling Facebook for video views. With a compelling video you would be able to strengthen your brand with potential customers.A prime example of Snapchat being used effectively is Verizon’s go90 free video streaming app. By using Snapchats Stories, which are, Snaps strung together to create a narrative that lasts for 24 hours, go90 enhances their user’s experience by offering behind the scenes access to concerts and events using Snapchat stories.
- Blab – Live video conversations that once recorded can be shared via your various social portals. Many of us dated Google HOA yet we married Blab.Blab has 4 seats, one for the host and room for up to 3 guests. The host can add any who choose to participate. If the viewers like what’s being said they can give the speaker props by clicking on the yellow hands, you can comment from the side bar and ask questions of the panel. In addition you can share via Twitter. Your Blab is recorded to be replayed and shared via your social portals or uploaded to YouTube. By joining or hosting a Blab it enhances your personal brand and exposure to potential customers.Once again, the primary theme is video in various forms yet they are new and improved versions and they will visually enhance your brand.
Ian Anderson Gray
Founder at Seriously Social with Ian Anderson Gray
One trend I’m starting to see more and more this year are tools that aim to give smart social data. For some time we’ve been able to find out some fairly helpful information on our followers and the people who mention a brand. That could be location, gender and even their likes and dislikes. However some tool companies are starting to help us find and interact with tribes and communities- ones where the people are most likely to engage and buy a particular product. As more and more people are becoming overloaded with all the content and messages that are being produced every minute, it’s going to become more and important to locate those niche communities and create engaging content that will resonate with them.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @iagdotmeClick To Tweet
Jennifer G. Hanford
Owner & Managing Director
j+ Media Solutions
Millennials are upping the ante with their content consumption, so to speak, and they expect brands to deliver quickly and consistently. Also, this will be a huge year for brands that publish unique visual content, and it will definitely help them stand out from the rest. As for top social media trends in 2016, I see the following:
- Brands should start using visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest if they haven’t already – these platforms are becoming increasingly effective for marketing
- Facebook’s organic reach will continue declining, so brands should prepare to increase their budgets for more sponsored posts and ads to reach their target markets
- “Snackable” (300-500 words) content will be preferred over long-form content – especially since more people are viewing it from mobile devices.
- Continued brand “humanization” is essential
Founder & CEO
Social Web Learning
2016 is the year of Google Collections and Communities. Clearly with the changes we’ve seen in Google Plus this year, the emphasis is on connecting each consumer of information to their interest – not a person’s profile or Google My Business Listing – but to the Collections of interest in each.
Communities, collaboration within those communities and sharing educational information among members will be key to expanding the G+ user’s reach and connections. Again, more focus on specific interests and needs. G+ hangouts will be used (already is in some) inside communities (may be recorded – may not) as a collaboration tool rather than a marketing tool to put on Events to gain followers.
Mobile Apps have taken over our desktops and is more mobile friendly now – accommodating the increase in mobile phone use in everyday life. Inside the Google Ecosystem, that will continue.
Google Voice will increasingly be used to respond to and compose messages, emails and used in Google Keep to share with team members. Not a fan currently as it’s not quite good enough yet at translating but it is said that the translation will get better as it “learns” your words and pronunciation.
Dare I say it? Yes, I’ll admit it . . . I just ordered, and have now received, a virtual reality viewer (Cardboard) in preparation for a course about the future of virtual reality in our everyday lives. VR is on the rise and we’ll see great leaps in Virtual Reality use in 2016.
And lastly, Yelp CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman will, apparently, continue his campaign of “Google Bad” anywhere anyone will listen. I saw him on two reputable news show yesterday and again today touting the evils of Google. I find that an effort in futility since everyone knows Google is actually dead. 🙂Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @SheilaHensleyClick To Tweet
Social Media Strategist
There are two big trends I see happening in 2016.
The first trend is video – every type of video! It means you have to be doing video. But you also have to be doing better video. Take the time to get quality video tools, good filming locations, lighting, etc. You don’t need to spend a lot, but make sure your videos look as best as you can create right now. It also means live video (streaming) like Periscope and video chats like Blab. The more ways you can incorporate video, the more you will connect with audiences and grow your business in 2016.
The second trend is using social media for customer service. Your customers will reach out to you via social media first. They won’t email, submit a form, or call nearly as much anymore. They will tweet, post to Facebook, or comment on an Instagram post. Make sure you have the resources and practices in place to be able to respond to these issues properly. If you can do this well, you will develop loyalty and brand support that will propel your business forward.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @jenns_trendsClick To Tweet
Google Plus for Business Consultant
The top social media trends that I see for 2016 include:
“Dwell time” – It’s not how many times you say you like me but how long you stay that counts.
Dwell Time is a concept I first heard about on Mark Schaefer’s blog. It relates to the increased priority by social platforms to have audiences spend more time on their site instead of linking to yours.
Measuring “dwell time” becomes a more important metric than number of clicks. Facebook’s Instant Articles, LinkedIn’s LinkedIn Publisher and the move by Twitter to go beyond its 140-character limit are indicative of this move.
Other trends I see continuing in 2016:
Video streaming on such platforms as Blab, Google+ Hangouts, Periscope, Instagram and however more pop up this year demonstrate the appeal of video as an integral part of content marketing.
Founder at Traffic Generation Cafe with Ana Hoffman
– Social media has a new face: livestreaming.
I strongly believe that one of the biggest reasons livestreaming has become so popular is the fact that it requires you to… actually show up. It puts ‘social’ back into social media.
There’s no automation. You can’t get your assistant to do it for you. You can’t outsource it.
It’s your face, your brand, your expertise front and center.
People love it. And that’s why in 2016, livestreaming websites (Periscope and Blab in particular) will become even more mainstream.
– Another trend that will be on the rise in 2016 are Facebook and Twitter videos.
– Speaking of Facebook, with the new introduction of the Audience Optimization tool (organic targeting tool set to help pages ensure that their posts are being seen by the users who are most likely to engage with them), the organic reach of your Facebook page might actually (GASP!) increase! Of course, it remains to be seen whether this actually works…Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @AnaTrafficCafeClick To Tweet
Dorien Morin-Van Dam
Founder & CEO
More In Media
In 2015 one of the major trends was video marketing, and in 2016 I don’t expect that to change. What will change, is the type of video we will see and where and how! I predict that 2016 will be the year that ‘Livestreaming’ will become mainstream. With Facebook Live rolling out to individuals, Periscope being integrated with Twitter and Blab.im picking up momentum, anybody who is anybody and has something important to say, will say it live!
So the trends I see for 2016 are
- Livestreaming becoming mainstream
- More opportunities on more platforms to go ‘live’
- Continued emphasis on video marketing
Owner, Codefetti LLC
As we launch into 2016, I see brands continuing to streamline their efforts by producing more relevant, in-depth content and focusing these efforts toward targeted marketing segments. In order to reach these segments, brands are starting to realize they will need to invest more advertising dollars to promote content across major channels like Facebook and Twitter. Advertising expenditures continue to be a challenge for small businesses as they compete in a global marketplace.
As Internet speeds continue to improve, video is becoming more prevalent in websites.
Live-streaming continues to be an important step toward authenticity and interaction between brands and their target markets. It also continues to fuel the content machine because replays can be shared across social media platforms. Companies are seeing that customers appreciate live interaction and support. Additionally, brands are realizing the value of real time customer feedback from live-streaming sessions.
It’s interesting to see brands jumping on the Blab.im platform. Due to its ease of use, Blab just may squeeze out Periscope, Meerkat, and Google+ hangouts for live streaming.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @Codefetti Click To Tweet
Social With Sara
In the ever changing world of social media, there are always trends, updates, and news. You have to pay attention, be ready to adapt and be a constant learner. In 2015 we saw some new platforms and features that launched that I believe will take on a bigger role and continue to evolve into 2016:
- Live Streaming Growth: In 2015, we were introduced to a new era in social media, “live-casting.” Meerkat, Periscope, Blab and Facebook Live were the new kids on the block with a new form of content emerging. In 2016, I believe we will see live streaming continue to grow with brands finding ways to leverage it that works for them best.
- Publishing Content Within Social Media. LinkedIn Publisher gained popularity over the last couple of years, and in 2015, Facebook launched Instant Articles and updated Facebook Notes. Now Twitter is considering 10,000 character limit tweets. This update would show 140 characters with a button to click to show the rest. I think that more and more, social platforms will be trying to keep users in app and will continue with sophisticated forms of publishing.
- Platform Focused Visual Marketing: Visual marketing is huge and isn’t going away. What is beginning to trend is more tailored content for each individual social media platform. Your blog post will have a featured image and marketing pieces in the forms of graphics, tips and quotes to accompany posts for social media platforms. Visual marketing will becoming even more contextual by breaking down content to be shared in a way that is most appropriate to individual social platforms.
Award winning writer, digital marketing strategist, founder of Rebekah Radice Media and Global Brand Ambassador at Post Planner.
Social media is changing and evolving at a rapid rate. The only way to keep up is to stay one step ahead.
2016 is here and it’s time to look at the top social media trends that will impact your business.
- Employee Advocacy is the New Norm
Whether your employees are active on social media or not, 2016 is the year for advocacy.According to Cisco, your employees have 10 times more followers than your company and 8 times the engagement you do. Moreover, they’re more than willing to spread the good word about your company, they just don’t know how.It’s up to you to give them that power through education, training and empowerment. Be clear on the guidelines, violations, and best practices. Bottom line, get them involved!
- Mobile Is No Longer an Option, It’s a Necessity to Survive
The time to sit back and take a “wait and see” attitude towards mobile has come and gone. Recent statistics show that 70% of all smartphone searches result in an action.Whether that’s a purchase of a product or a visit to a website, more and more people are using their mobile device to surf, shop, interact and engage. So, 2016 will be the nail in the coffin for those who don’t get “mobile friendly!Here’s how to make your social media posts mobile friendly:
- Size your posts according to the exact specifications for each social network.
- Add context to your content.
- Create short form, snackable content.
- Always use a call to action.
- Video Continues to Take the Social World by Storm
Whether it was quick clips or live streaming, 2015 showed that our appetite for video was growing – and at a rapid rate.In fact, statistics show that people now watch approximately 5.5 hours of videos a day. That’s compared to the 21 minutes averaged in 2011 – holy wow that’s a lot of video!
This makes it crucial for your business to get in front of an audience eager to connect through video. One of the new video networks I dove into this year was Blab. As a collaborative network, Blab is a perfect for businesses to get face to face with social media followers and fans.
Rebekah Radice is an Award Winning Writer, Social Media Strategist and Global Brand Ambassador for Post Planner.
She is the author of “How to Use Social Media to Virtually Crush the Competition” and recently named a Top 10 Social Media Blog by Social Media Examiner, as well as one of the Top Ten Most Shared Content Marketers.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @RebekahRadiceClick To Tweet
The mega-trend we are all dealing with right now is overwhelming information density. We need to think about content and how it works for us in a different way now. Content is no longer the finish line. It’s the starting line. The economic value of content that is not seen and shared is zero. This suggests building a new marketing competency focused on learning how to get our content to ignite.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @markwschaeferClick To Tweet
Brooke B. Sellas
Founder & Chief Digital Strategist
B Squared Media
While I still think many businesses will be slow to join the social media revolution, I also think 2016 is a BIG year for those who joined the social scene a little earlier. For those not “dabbling” in social anymore, this year will focus on proving a return on investment, measuring the right metrics, creating more/better focused content for specific and niche audiences, and using more visuals and less words to communicate.
- Proving a return on investment with social media marketing will be at the forefront of many marketers’ minds. The “easy” way to showing a return is through targeted advertising campaigns — and tying those campaigns, links or content to Conversion Goals in Google Analytics. By better understanding the flow of traffic and seeing how often your targeted leads complete certain actions, business owners and marketers alike can stop wasting time with guessing what’s working and what’s feeding the sales pipeline and start seeing real-time stats.
- Similar to proving ROI, savvy social media marketers will finally start to pull away from vanity metrics. The bright stars in the social game will focus less on follower and fan counts, and more on getting their message to the RIGHT audiences. Audience Development will take precedence, especially for those companies looking to see better results with content marketing and social media efforts. Tools like Affinio will be sought after to better understand the interests of a brand’s or person’s Twitter or online “tribes.”
- By building better processes for Audience Development, businesses and brands will be able to create better content (and hopefully combat the issue of content shock). Savvy marketers will come up with ways not only to get more shares (aka: content distribution) on their blog posts or content, but to figure out what types of content will help their particular audience niche enter their sales pipeline.
- Visuals, once again, will be at the center of online strategies. Things like hashtags, emojis and custom imagery or memes will be extremely important to branding success. And in line with #1 and #2, this type of marketing will see more tools and analytics available to help prove success. Tools like Postano (hashtag monitoring and analytics) and Emogi (analytics and science behind emojis) will show how “frilly” marketing should be taken more seriously … because, psychographics are nothing new or trendy, but a few peeps are still late to this party!
Speaker and Consultant, Plus Your Life and Business!
Right now I am seeing a return to email for many people in Social Media. And that’s ok. Having built brands, using Social, we need to work on tightening our funnels to convert more business.
As such I see the following:
- Brand – people are increasingly using platforms like Blab.im and Periscope to connect with an audience, and be real. This seems to have taken attention away from Hangouts-on-Air, at least for now.
- Reviews – with increased transparency comes feedback. This is going to be become an essential part of the listening process for all businesses.
- Conversions – businesses need sales, and a really solid focus on putting in place a robust sales funnel is a must. This is especially true for those adept in Social Media (very often, content and information flow) looking to connect the dots within their business, including Analytics and Google Adwords.
All in all, 2016 is the year to create partnerships across the network and reap the rewards of years of how work on Social.
Good luck to you all.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @MartinShervClick To Tweet
Social Media and Online Customer Service Expert at RaviShukle.com
When it comes to social media trends in 2016 I feel we have seen a shift from the more entertaining type of content to the more personal. By personal I mean customers now want to get to know the people behind the brand and the employees they engage with on a daily basis. Transparency is going to be a big key in order for companies to take their marketing to the next level on social media. Here are some of the other key trends I see occurring:
- More engagement in real time through live streaming.
- More personal and transparent content from authors will achieve higher engagement.
- Another big year for video marketing – whether live stream, native video uploads or vlogging.
- More content being re-purposed – as the number of social networks grow so does our ability to reach new audiences therefore re-purposing content is going to be key in order to help boost engagement and reach.
Live Video Goes Mainstream
2015 started an era of live-casting with the introduction of new technology such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab.
In 2016 some of these live broadcasts will reach an entirely new level with the introduction of live 360 degree broadcasts that will allow people to move their mobile phones and experience the action as if they were actually present and moving their heads.
In addition we’ll see the wide-scale adoption of cost-effective virtual reality devices that will enable fully immersive 3D experiences that are live. Much of this will be enabled by low-cost 360 cameras like the Ricoh Theta, combined with economical devices like Google Cardboard that transform the smartphones everyone already owns into a virtual reality device. This represents an entirely new opportunity for marketers to give factory tours and any other form of in-person experience imaginable.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @Mike_StelznerClick To Tweet
Social Media Strategist
Stoney Creek Social Media
I believe that social media in 2016 is going to be the year that really widens the gap between traditional marketing and social media marketing. Live streaming has become a huge part of the “noise” in our world. It is up to us to make sure that we rise above and provide quality “live” content. Provide authentic content and be sure to follow up with the engagement. Being real is more important that being perfect. The audience for Instagram is going to continue to grow and Snapchat’s audience is going to keep aging up.Top #SocialMedia Trends to Skyrocket Your Business in 2016 by @dawnswick Click To Tweet
Wrapping it Up
Social media is an ever changing arena. With the golden insights from experts about emerging trends and comprehensive plan, you can concentrate your social media efforts to grow your business in 2016.
Over to You
What do you think? How will you be concentrating your social media efforts in 2016? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.