This year was a rollercoaster for social media marketers.
Let’s take a look at what changed in 2015 alone:
- Facebook Pages took a big hit on organic views. In order to increase reach to just your existing audience, it is now a pay to play model.
- Meerkat, Periscope and Blab all launched this year, making real-time video streaming and interaction a reality.
- Twitter announced late this year that share counts would no longer be available through 3rd party applications, forcing marketers to find other ways to determine how much love their Twitter content was really getting.
There is no doubt that 2016 will undoubtedly be filled with it’s own social media marketing opportunities and challenges, but we’ve “gone to the streets” to get advice from our own internal social media marketing staff, as well as experts from big brands outside of our organization to give you an idea of what you can expect in the coming year.
Social Media Manager, General Mills
Audience development will continue to be a key focus area for any ongoing content marketing effort, such as what we’re doing with our company blog at General Mills. Of course, brands and companies have always been focused on reaching as many people as we can, whether we’re trying to raise visibility of a blog post, video or campaign of some kind. But I think it’s more important than ever to better understand not just who is seeing our stuff and who signs up to be notified about our latest content, but also who is then taking the next step and sharing it.
We need to learn even more about the top sharers of our content, why and what they share and how we can build or strengthen a connection with them to keep them in the know.
Social Media Lead, TopRank Online Marketing
Facebook is NOT going away. And as marketers we need to pay attention to it. We need to keep up on their latest changes and realize it’s becoming a platform that requires some element of investment. Incorporating a paid strategy for Facebook to your social media marketing plan will boost results.
This past year, Facebook announced new publishing tools for publishers, giving them more insights. The social network is moving toward adding options for monetizing content and rewarding people for spending time on content. Marketers will need to think about how they are utilizing these tools for their brands. The traditional thought of leading followers back to your main company website may need to change.
Corporate Social Influencer Relations Manager, Dell
My prediction Social Media Marketing for 2016 will be the powerful emergence of the Intelligent Knowledge Curator and Facilitator, a very exclusive group of what the press likes to call Social Media Influencers.
The term “Social Media Influencers” emphasizes all the wrong terms and is cast way too wide and loosely to form a cohesive group. When I think about the influential individuals with whom I work on behalf of my brand, Dell, I think of extraordinary subject matter experts first, not about the technology platform they might have conquered (that can change tomorrow). I think of individuals whose business and personal values align with Dell’s purpose as a company, not the flavor of the day that will get out-tasted tomorrow. Additionally, they are intelligent knowledge curators and facilitators with the ability to communicate (which happens to be a digital channel), the willingness to share and ability to help with insights they have gained over years with experience, not by producing a digital traffic spike.
To be successful, brands need to build deep, long-term relationships with carefully selected individuals, with mutual value creation in mind that empowers them with knowledge that helps them help their online (and off-line) audiences and underlines the value my brand provides. My brand’s value with this approach resides in their independent assessment as inspirational, trusted subject matter experts who care as much about their audience as I care about my customers. 2016 will be the year for brands to get this right. (Dell is a TopRank Marketing Client)
Social Media Lead, TopRank Online Marketing
There has been speculation that Twitter is dying or that the #FailWhale needs to be revived as a way to represent the health of the platform. But it’s just too strong to see it fly off into the sunset.
Twitter is still a highly used social media platform for individuals and businesses, posting 307 million monthly active users in the 3rd quarter of 2015. In 2015 Twitter brought back their original co-founder, Jack Dorsey as CEO, and has also made some changes to the platform to better appeal to the user base. This includes removing the 140-character limit for Direct Messages, and it no longer crops images that are Tweeted. Don’t give up on the blue bird; it’s still going to be flying high in 2016.
Kate (Dickman) Porter
Senior Social Media Program Manager, Office Depot
I think one of the biggest opportunities for social marketers in 2016 is really understanding and utilizing the new advanced targeting, ad-buying and direct response capabilities social has to offer. We now have a massive opportunity as marketers to be able to truly drive company-wide KPI’s with these new tools; further strengthening the importance and adoption of social media at large organizations.
At one point, social marketers struggled to justify social media as a worthy contender for marketing dollars. With new capabilities and integrations available (i.e Facebook pixel, dynamic product ads, Nielsen TV-integrated ad buying etc.), that has all changed. Next year is really about testing these new offerings, honing our skills in these areas and collaborating with right teams in order to see big results.
Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software
If 2015 taught us anything about social media, it should be that marketers and the brands that they represent need to be willing to pivot and evolve as fast as the channels which they – and their customers – are using. The biggest opportunity for social media marketers in 2016 is through short form, micro-content storytelling, including live streaming, to connect their brands with younger, yet engaged, audiences.
Snapchat, a social network used by 60% of 13-34 year olds in the U.S., will continue to outpace rivals such as Instagram and Twitter in adoption by Millennial users which presents the biggest opportunity for any brand looking to engage this demographic which is expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017.
What Are Your Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2016?
There is no doubt that 2016 will be another very active year for social media marketing. New platforms, tools and strategies will be developed and used. Which ones will lead the charge and which will fade, only time will tell.
What do you foresee as the biggest opportunity for social media marketing in 2016?
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