Trending in 2016: Social Media Edition

By Christina Gaines | @stinaegaines social-media-419944_960_720

Where will you be 10 months from now?

Will you be shopping – not just scrolling - on Instagram? Will you be pouring over extended blogs and spewing GIFs? How about tinkering with some new-fangled breakthrough app that promises to give the top monoliths like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn a run for their money?

It’s your lucky Tuesday! We’ve dusted off our crystal ball so you and your brand will be ready.

Here are top 10 ways for your biz to take the social world by storm in 2016:

1. Real(er)-Time Engagement. Real-time engagement just got…even more real. The window for standard social media response time is shrinking, and brands must learn to quickly adjust amidst the changing tides. It’s no longer acceptable to reach out simply within the day - According to Search Engine Watch, under an hour is the new “safe,” especially when handling complaints.

2. Lights, Camera, Live Stream! The launches of Periscope and Meerkat have dominated the social scene in 2015, yet with emergent technology (and consumer interest) on the rise, it won’t end there. Live-streaming video allows your viewer a more genuine, “unfiltered” approach to your brand that showcases your offline events in a way that might not have been accessible through other formats. Take note, dear readers.

3. Momentous Messaging Enhancement. We’ve gotten to the point with our Emojis that we can send just about anything from a taco to Kim Kardashian’s backside.

But messaging apps have also now extended their reign to match the massive user-base of the top 4 social platforms, according to Entrepreneur. Facebook and Instagram have made significant strides to follow the messaging app trend-setters, including WeChat, WhatsApp, and Kik, to enhance their capabilities and drive users with the same success.

4. Say Hello to Much More “Buy”. The “Buy” button features on Facebook and Pinterest allow mobile users to natively purchase from a sponsored post – with just one click! Instagram, however, is following closely at their heels with its “Shop Now” alternative. If other platforms wish to keep up, we expect to see the incorporation of these purchase options become the rule rather than the exception.

5. Increased in-app functionality. All around, apps are improving. They are learning and acquiring information about you and your behaviors - oftentimes more than you’d prefer to share. Their new goals have now moved from simply allowing you to communicate with your peers – they want to keep you there, for all your basic needs. How major platforms plan to implement their use of search engines, video libraries and “digital assistants” (Have you seen Facebook’s M? They’re pulling a major Siri.) will be interesting to take note of in 2016.

6. Year of the GIF. Younger consumers (like me) are obsessed with GIFs and micro-video – and for good reasons. They are bite-sized, easy to consume and begging to be shared. Use GIFs to tell your brand’s story and grab the Millennials’ attention.

7. Mobile. Sprout Social’s staggering infographic says it all. 87% of those polled admit to never being without their smartphone? While 91% of people prefer to search via their laptop or PC, smartphone searches still hit your market at a whopping 80%. If your business doesn’t have a website or app that can be navigated seamlessly through a mobile device, you are falling behind.

8. Get found on more than Google. Consider revising your SEO strategy. Seeing as Facebook and Twitter have already began refining their search engines, with more likely to follow, (See #5) it’s important that you factor in more than just those Googling you.

9. Long form content. Blog writers, rejoice! (Or not, depending on how much you love your job.) Longer form content may be the way of 2016. This game-changer crushes everything we marketers know, however, seems to make a ton of sense. As CEO of TopRankMarketing.com puts it in the Business2Community article, “having a presence on social networks with long form content keeps readers where they want to be instead sending them away with a click, only to close the window anyway.”

We may have struck a revolution.

10. Lofty Expectations. In 2016, the novelty of social in its purest form is wearing off - and the stakes have been raised. Are you prepared to meet the challenge?

What say you, friends? What did we forget?

Leave your comments below!

Will Nesbit