5 Social Media Predictions for Marketers in 2016

Boelter + Lincoln, blog, social media

Welcome to 2016! Thanks to an ever-evolving social media industry, 2015 absolutely flew. Looking forward, the New Year means a clean slate and endless (read: exciting!) possibilities.

A renewed emphasis on content marketing was evident in 2015. There were more attempts by – and success stories of – brands creating more personalized connections and seamless unification between offline and digital efforts, all while remaining in tune with customer demands and expectations. It’s a tall order for any marketing plan, but if you neglected to include social media in your 2015 efforts, this is the year to do it. For those already using social media, this year brings the opportunity to take that groundwork to the next level.

The social platform titans (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn) will continue to be the heads of the class, but they will experience tremendous competition for market share, engagement and user growth moving forward.

Pay special attention to these 5 social media concepts in 2016:

If you thought 2015 was a huge year for Snapchat (and you were right), get ready for even bigger things in 2016. Specifically, the advertising opportunities for marketers. Several ad formats availed themselves on Snapchat’s video-front platform last year and now they’re working on refining measurement, analytics and better targeting options. Make room in your content plan for this emerging social media platform – you can no longer ignore its influence and importance.

Live Broadcasting & Archiving
Social media truly excels at bringing experiences to life. Enter the hot new social media “toys” in 2015: Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope. These live video-streaming apps bring small-scale live broadcasts to life, and allow users to share them with their Facebook or Twitter networks. And while Meerkat has lost market share to Periscope, new apps have surfaced willing to give Periscope a run for its money in 2016, and inclusion in your social plan.

  • Blab (still in beta) – lets anyone have their own online show, allowing four people to talk on screen simultaneously, while other viewers watch.
  • Live – Facebook’s response to the live streaming growth. Introduced to celebrities and public figures in 2015, Live has begun a very slow rollout to larger brands. If its adoption rate and popularity take off, smaller brands and everyday users could see this option become available.
  • Katch – serves as instant cloud storage for live-streaming broadcasts (including Periscope and Meerkat) that boasts limitless replays. The jury is still out, but on paper, it has potential for marketers who are considering large-scale campaigns or a series of broadcasts.

Increased Importance in Paid Social Advertising
Brands saw a significant decline in the reach and effectiveness of non-paid (organic) Facebook content due to a change in their newsfeed algorithm in 2015. Translation: Expansion into paid social advertising just became an important part of your social plan. Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have also joined the paid social ad game and launched budget- and audience-friendly advertising solutions for marketers with more sophisticated targeting options. These will be crucial complements to organic initiatives in 2016 and likely beyond.

Renewed Emphasis on Social Brand Management
Keeping tabs on your brand and its reputation online needs to be priority. As consumers gravitate toward more split-second decision-making needs (often fueled by what Google likes to call, “Micro Moments”), the manner in which your company is positioned will greatly influence a potential customer’s next steps. If your brand and image are not aligned and on point (more so than the products or services that you offer), prepare to be ignored. Pay attention to how your brand is perceived online, especially with online reviews.

Social Media in the Workplace
Until recently, many business owners were bent on restricting social media sites for employees during work – vigilant IT departments blocked sites like Facebook and Twitter behind firewalls. In 2015, tools like Slack and Facebook for Work gained traction, enabling employees to be connected with work-appropriate social media content, while empowering them to become stronger brand ambassadors for (and on) their company’s business accounts. The adoption rate has been slow to date, but it shouldn’t be ruled out as a legitimate tool for company-wide employee advocacy and brand awareness.

Cheers to your social media success in 2016!