Social Media Marketing Trends To Watch For In 2016

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 edition of the Marketing GPS Newsletter.

Social media marketing may have seemed like a novel idea only a decade ago, but with over 1.44 billion active users on Facebook, 316 million on Twitter and 400 million on Instagram, it’s obvious that social media is a necessity for local businesses. If you can stay on top of these 2016 social media marketing trends, you’ll be several steps in front of your competition.

Harder Fights to Get Noticed

Research showed that organic reach on Facebook dropped from 16 percent in Feb. 2012 to 6.5 percent in March 2014. Sadly, this trend hasn’t slowed. Facebook constantly throttles organic reach in an effort to make local businesses purchase ads.

This means you’ll need to focus on creating amazing content that consumers will find both useful and interesting. Make sure this content is directly related to your industry, and pushes the message points of your marketing message. With more small businesses getting on social media, it’s officially “every man for himself.”

Real Time Engagement

Social media thrives on real-time engagement, but each year the window for response becomes smaller and smaller. According to Search Engine Watch, 70% of Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to, and 53% want a response in less than an hour. That number jumps to 72% when they’re issuing a complaint.

One of the key strategies marketers need to implement in 2016 is faster response times. Thanks to advances made to social listening and automation tools, if you’re not quick to respond one of your competitors might be. Social media is moving fast, and if your business has a presence on any of the platforms then you’re expected to keep up.

Live Streaming Video

New social media platforms like Meerkat and Periscope have opened consumers’ eyes to the world of live streaming video from their favorite celebrities and companies. Because of this, it will quickly become a staple in the social media marketing world.

Social media allows for communication between brands and customers, but a live stream goes a step further, revealing a much more authentic side of your business. It’s unedited, unfiltered and shows that you’re passionate about your business.

Don’t think you have to make up a live streaming session off the top of your head, though. Instead, spend some time figuring out an idea that will really attract your target demographic.

Social Media Gets Privatized

You’ve likely seen some celebrities utilizing Snapchat with their fans, but many businesses, including Taco Bell and GrubHub, have also made the leap. Snapchat is a social media atmosphere that focuses more on private access than public availability. Its users feel a deeper connection because they’re part of an “exclusive” club.

As it turns out, consumers are doing this on other platforms as well. From LinkedIn to Facebook, users are joining private groups focused on their personal preferences.

The more engaged your customers are, the better your sales. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen social media play a crucial role in this area. In fact, in 2014, total US sales that could be tracked to social media reached $3.3 billion. More recently, research found social influences more shoppers’ buying decisions than retail websites. These private groups are your best source for influencing your customers over social media in 2016.

Mobile First

Mobile devices have become the primary (not secondary) screen for most social media users. In 2015, mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 countries, including the US and Japan.

As of January 2015, 80% of Internet users own a smartphone. An estimated 2 billion consumers worldwide are expected to own a smartphone by 2016. Additionally, devices like smart TVs and smartwatches saw a spike in popularity, and we’ll continue to see their adoption rise in 2016.

In other words, if you’re not putting mobile first, you’re already behind the curve. With the increasing influence of millennials, mobile devices need to be a focus for your marketing in 2016.

Social media is no longer the marketing wave of the future; it’s here now. A failure to stay on top of the trends in this area could be detrimental to your business, so make sure you know and utilize these 2016 marketing trends.

Mark is responsible for managing NSI Partners’ social media properties as well as providing support in client outreach and recruiting. Prior to joining NSI Partners, Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

About NSI Partners

A digital marketing company with almost two decades of experience, NSI Partners helps clients achieve robust results in search marketing, social media, and other digital marketing spaces.

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