With 2016 well under way, I think it’s time to address the possibilities that the new year will bring to the ever-evolving social media industry. While we all know that social media platforms will continue to update and innovate, it’s important to understand why those shifts are happening and what marketers can anticipate from such changes.
On social media, the power of video is undeniable—it’s key to building original content, credibility and interest for your brand. In 2015, we saw the rise of live streaming thanks to Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope. These live video-streaming apps bring users behind-the-scenes and let them experience live events in real time while also allowing them to share the live broadcasts on Facebook and Twitter. New live-streaming apps have surfaced in 2016 that could be useful tools in your marketing plan:
Live – You better believe Facebook has plans to enter the live streaming space. The social network introduced Live to celebrities, public figures and other verified Facebook pages in December 2015, and has begun a very slow rollout to larger brands. Users will be able to broadcast live the same way they update a status or upload a picture. During the broadcast, you’ll see the number of live viewers, including which friends are tuning in, and you can even see their comments in real time. There’s also an option to invite viewers to tap the Subscribe button, which results in them receiving a notification every time you broadcast live. We’ll see if Facebook’s Live can break through the clutter and come up on top over Periscope.
Blab (still in beta) features live broadcasts of interviews, interesting discussions and group hangouts, allowing four people to talk on screen simultaneously while other viewers watch. Viewers can join the conversation by chatting with others watching the same video, and they can also ask questions to the speakers in real time. After chatting with our intern, Patricia, Blab seems like a great tool for professors to use with students during their office hours. Since students often have the same questions, Blab could be effective in fostering conversation among professors and other students outside the classroom.
If you thought 2015 was the year of Snapchat, think again. 2016 will bring even bigger things, specifically, advertising opportunities for marketers as the platform works to refine measurement, analytics and better targeting options. It’s time to stop ignoring Snapchat’s influence and importance–the app has more than 100 million daily active users and 6 billion daily views.
Increased Importance of Paid Social Advertising
The days of organic reach in social media are becoming a thing of the past. Strategic paid posts are now a critical component of any social media plan. Due to a change in Facebook’s algorithm in 2015, brands saw a significant decline in post reach for non-paid, organic content. As a result, brands stepped up the number of boosted posts and page promotions in order to increase effectiveness and drive engagement. To take it a step further, businesses can also set up Local Awareness Campaigns that allow them to create location-specific ads for a greater return on their Facebook ad investment. You can even refine the campaign’s audience based on behavioral targeting.
Emojis and Analytics
We all love a good emoji to help us express sentiment in our social media posts and text messages. In her 2015 MozCon presentation about the psychology of social media, Courtney Seiter of Buffer shared a surprising statistic: 74 percent of people use emojis, emoticons or stickers regularly, and 6 billion emojis are shared around the globe every single day. Two questions that will become increasingly important in 2016: how do we measure the effectiveness of emojis and what can we learn about our audience from this communication tool? The growth of emoji analytics will increase throughout the year as marketers continue to see the impact it has on messaging around the world.
Social Media in the Workplace
In 2016, Facebook will launch Facebook at Work, the professional edition of the social network geared toward businesses and employees. According to CNET, “it includes virtually all the same features and options, such as profiles, timelines, posts, groups, pages, events and the ability to follow and interact with other people, in this case, co-workers.” Facebook at Work profiles, which will be completely separate from personal profiles, will stimulate collaboration and communication within the workplace, similar to Slack. Here at MAPRagency, we use Slack for internal communications so I’m interested to see if Facebook at Work will win over our team once it officially rolls out to all businesses.
Because social media trends and platforms change so quickly, it’s possible that my predictions could be proved or busted before it’s even time to break out the warm weather clothes. Effective marketers will be able to roll with the punches as long as their overall strategy is solid.