This article was contributed by Dheeraj Kumar.
In the past, marketers have tried to understand social media, but now after its impressive growth and reach, it is becoming increasingly difficult to neglect social media from marketing strategy and budget.
Previously, Google was the dominant ad network across the internet with its wide reach of publishers. Because of this reach, every brand used to concentrate their marketing strategy with Google and other prominent ad networks. At that time, social media was not as popular, so it was not included in their marketing strategy. But now, in 2016, with its wide reach of audience, every brand wants to interact with their customers through social media.
Here are some astonishing facts why you should not neglect social media in 2016.
- YouTube has over a billion users. It has greater reach than any Cable network, and people are watching hundreds of millions of videos and generating billions of views daily.
- Twitter has around 320 million active users and is still growing.
- Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site with around 100 million active users.
- Among all the above, Facebook has greater share of audience, surpassing Google with around 1.55 billion active users.
- According to Parse.ly, For brands like Wired.com, The Atlantic and Reuters, Facebook has surpassed Google in bringing referrals to their websites
Many companies reported that social media is helping them in increasing their brand presence and is also helping in increasing sales for their business. A recent survey by Social Media examiner says that more than half of the companies surveyed reported that their brand presence has improved, attributing much of the increase to Facebook.
So in the year 2016, what can you expect? Do you think there is going to be an increase in social media platforms? Do you think marketers will get more advertising opportunities in social media platforms?
In this article, I am going to explain how you can stay ahead of your competition by following the 6 trends that are likely to be seen in social media this year, which also can help you shape up your social media campaign and increase your brand’s visibility.
#1 Live video streaming in social media
There is no better way to experience something than watching it through live video. These days, live video streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat are getting more and more popular. These apps are being used by journalists, often to provide live footages to their news channels. Even brands like Spotify, Red Bull and DKNY are using Periscope live video streaming to stream their events.
After joining Periscope, Spotify streamed the behind the scenes of Irish folk singer, Conor O’Brien. During the streaming of this video, around 382 viewers had joined in the live stream and got around 1543 hearts for that video. The ‘hearts’ in Periscope stream are equivalent to ‘likes’ in Facebook. The more hearts a stream will get, the more that people are enjoying it, and the more popular the stream, and your channel will become.
Realizing how people embracing sharing videos through social media, and witnessing Periscope’s rapid growth, Twitter acquired the company in 2015 for 100 million dollars.
So, how you can integrate periscope into your marketing strategy?
Periscope is a great tool for marketers, because it allows you to promote your brand to your existing Twitter followers. If your brand has 30k followers in Twitter, by integrating Periscope, you can stream your live events.
For example: Engadget.com streamed a live video of unboxing Microsoft Surface 3 through Periscope, and no doubt it will be watched by many people. Due to the scarcity of Microsoft Surface 3 every geek wants to see its unboxing and its features before anybody does.
If you publicly share your location when streaming your Periscope video, it can be accessed by everyone in the world, and can also be found by searching for the streams in a viewer’s location. The numbers that appear in the image above display the number of streams happening live in a specific area. This is a great way for businesses to attract more of a local audience to their brands.
As non-followers are watching your stream, they will be more likely to follow you back to get more updates from your brand if you interact with them, by replying to messages and comments that are being left on the stream. In Periscope, these comments will more quickly depending on the number of people watching your video and commenting on it.
The downside of Periscope is that it will automatically delete your data after 24 hours, removing it from public access. If you want to keep your video streams, there are tools like katch.me, which can help you save your live stories with them. Another alternative would be uploading your live streams in your YouTube account, so that people can watch it later.
You can do the same live video streaming with your Facebook audience too. Facebook has recently added the new function for sharing live video streams directly from the news feed through their app. Since Facebook has the greatest share of audience than any other market, it is a great way to reach people who are interested in live video streaming for your brand.
Celebrities are using this cool feature of Facebook live video to interact directly with their fans. As you can see in the above image, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is interacting with his fans through Facebook Live. Followers enjoy live feeds, so when it comes to viewing celebrities it will is even more fascinating for them, as they will get a chance to interact with their idols directly.
Facebook also offers the Subscribe option for live streaming, so that people who are interested in watching more live streams from the people they want, they can be notified when a new stream is beginning.
Considering these points, live video feeds are becoming a great way to reach your audience, versus the traditional advertising methods.
#2 Increase your social commerce sales with the help of “Buy” buttons
Facebook announced on July 2014, that it was testing Buy Now call to action button to facilitate buying of products directly from Facebook, and without the need of leaving the popular social media site. However, in the end, this feature was limited to few small and medium sized business in US.
Later in 2015, Facebook launched pages for Shops, allowing ecommerce websites to showcase their products in Facebook pages with a buy now call to action button. This feature allows the users to buy directly from the Facebook page itself.
Following suit, Pinterest has also launched buy now button to its pins to facilitate brands to sell their products directly from Pinterest.
In June 2015, Pinterest launched its buy now buttons to its pins. This created a new opportunity for marketers who want to increase their sales through Pinterest. Since Pinterest audience is made up of around 80% females, fashion brands were given a great opportunity to market their products to these high purchasing potential customers.
Pinterest also announced that it can integrate directly with ecommerce engines like Bigcommerce and Magento.
Following the footsteps of Facebook and Pinterest, Twitter has also launched buy now buttons for their ads. This is also a great opportunity for product owners to increase their sales with buy now buttons in social media platforms.
# 3 Increase in Paid Social Media Advertising
Many people are reporting that there is decline in organic reach to their pages in Facebook. The recent study says there is around 2% decline in organic reach to the pages which contains more than 500,000 likes.
In 2016, you should expect some tweaks in algorithms of social media platforms which can affect your organic reach. In order to get more reach to your pages, businesses will need to pay for increased advertising to extend their customer base.
You don’t need to get depressed that you need to pay in order to get some good reach from social media platforms. Nearly everyone spends a significant amount of time in at least one social network, and shares good amount of information about their online activities. This information gives social media platforms a lot of data about its users. This user submitted information provides paid advertising in social media platforms many targeting options which can help you reach the right audience for your brand.
For example, in Facebook, with help of its advanced targeting options, you can target people who have recently become engaged.
You can also target audiences basing on their online activity, by using behavioral targeting. For example, you can target people who have made online purchases. This can help you target an audience who is more likely to buy your products.
#4 be more transparent to gain trust from people
With the increase of spam across internet, people are can be hesitant to purchase anything online, as they are worried that their personal information may get leaked. In one of the biggest data breaches, which happened in late 2015 with Ashley Madison website, there was 9.7 gigs of personal data made available online, putting 32 million people’s personal data at risk.
Try to be more transparent with your customers to gain trust from them. Consider displaying live reviews from your customers on your website, which can help in gaining trust from new customers by seeing old customer’s feedback.
You can also use Facebook comments on your pages, where people can honestly comment on your products with the their real social media accounts.
This, too, will help in gaining trust from your new customers.
Avoid using any marketing techniques which may hurt your rankings, and reputation. No one wants to trust your brand if you advertise on scam related sites. This means you should always try to protect your brand’s visibility by filtering shady websites in your ad campaign. If you are using RTB platform for promoting your brand, know how to properly set up your campaign by using this guide.
Include a disclaimer in your opt in forms, similar to the image below, so that people can confidently input their information in your subscription box, with the knowledge that their data will not be distributed or sold.
A recent study shows that around 58% people drop out during the checkout process. Increase your sales by setting up SSL for your checkout pages and also integrate trust badges in your checkout page. The following are some of the trust badges used by prominent checkout pages.
#5 Communicate with your customers using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger
With the increase of popularity of messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, brands can easily interact with their customers using these services. One significant brand which is already practicing this is Uber. Uber has collaborated with Facebook messenger, allowing you to call Uber without leaving the Facebook platform.
#6 Increase your reach through Interactive content
In 2014, LinkedIn launched its publishing platform where people can share great content with a more corporate-focused audience. Since then, social media giant Facebook has also launched its instant article feature, offering interactive features like embedding of videos, auto play, embedding of maps and also audio captions. With this, people can share great content across a large Facebook, increasing the opportunity to capture new audience from Facebook.
You can also share your existing stories from your content management systems to Facebook for driving more traffic to your website.
Prominent Internet marketer, Matthew Woodward shared his story on how he got 332 new subscribers by sharing his content on LinkedIn publishing platform.
Share your thoughts on these 2016 social media trends. Have any more to add?
Dheeraj Kumar is an internet marketer focusing on helping others start their internet marketing career, by sharing experiences , guides, and case studies in this blog, at DheerajKumar.com.