With over 2 billion active users on social media platforms across the globe, and the number annually growing at a tremendous rate of 25%, Social Media Marketing (SMO) was a natural outcome. It was only a short time before marketers sensed a wealth of opportunities in social media as a promotional tool. Nine out of 10 companies in the U.S are now active over social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Over half of these companies report that their efforts on social media are improving sales. Peek into some of the most important trends in SMO, which are sure to change the way businesses will use social media in 2016 and the coming years.
Focus on Faster Response Times
Real-time engagement drives social media, but the opportunity for response is getting smaller every year. However, quicker response time can one of the best ways to improve competitive edge for businesses. Due to advances in automation and social listening, customers are expecting faster responses from businesses. A Search Engine Watch report mentions that 70% of users on Twitter expect a response from brands that they communicate with, and 53% of them need a response within 1 hour.
Social Media Advertising
It has been going on for some time now. Only in 2015 social advertising saw a jump to around 24 billion USD and spending increased 33.5%. There was zilch expenditure in social media ads even a few years back. Globally, industry observers and analysts expect social media advertising to account for 16% of the total spending on digital ads in 2017. This will increase due to the availability of plenty of new apps to help startups design social media ads and pay for them quickly. The entire process is going to be very simplified, making it not just a privilege for well-heeled media buyers only.
Shorter social videos
In 2015, the daily video views on Facebook rose to 8 billion – going even past the video blogging platform YouTube. In 2015, Twitter unleashed its own native video service. At present, Snapchat enjoys 6 billion video views every day. Altogether, adult users are viewing 66 minutes of online video every day in 2016.
70% of companies report that videos are the most effectual online marketing tool for them. However, even today, most companies shy away from using social videos for brand promotion. The expense of shooting professional-grade videos is the number one reason for this reluctance. However, this is going to change very soon. There are shorter videos such as 8-second Vine videos and 15-second Instagram videos, other than streaming videos such as Meerkat and Periscope, which allow marketers to enter the domain more easily. Developing and sharing video content is fast becoming a part of crowdsourcing tools and campaigns for companies.
Live Streaming Video
Companies do not have to focus on just faster response times. Buyers also need quicker access to offline events in real time. With live streaming videos, social media marketing has become easier. With apps like Meerkat and Periscope, that revolutionized the internet in 2015, live streaming videos have become more popular. These apps allow business to broadcast live streams of their important events and messages in an unfiltered and unedited way.
For businesses, 2016 will go down in history as the year that saw the rise of marketing automation strategies for the growth of businesses. Marketing automation is actually the name given to programs created to assist businesses to simultaneously market across various channels. It can remove the need to carry out repetitive tasks like marketing or sending emails on social networking websites. It can make marketing job significantly easier. Local small businesses need to use marketing automation program, in some form or other. This is important for satisfying the increasing need for content that companies have to offer to leads and customers. There are plenty of options and businesses have to choose one that is the most suitable for their requirements and does not break their bank.
Data plays a major role in the measurement of the success of social media. This is set to play a more important role in SMO strategies in 2016. At one time, marketers did not have access to tools and programs to track consumer preferences. However, analytics tools and software programs are allowing marketers to personalize messages and concentrate on long-term engagement and better customer loyalty, instead of individual sales and temporary acquisitions.
Marketers are slowly realizing the importance of data-driven, personalized marketing plans over the bulk-target attitude. The strong suite of social media reporting and analytics tools from Sprout can assist people to comprehend strategies better, and make optimal use of efforts. They can get worthwhile insights about various platform-specific methodologies, performance of the SMO team and more. Such information can be used to devise personalized and out of the box experiences for consumers.
However, data-driven decisions do not indicate marketers should concentrate only on things such as number of Likes got by posts or follower counts to take important decisions about business. Numbers should not substitute creativity. A balance between increasing numbers and relationship building with customers is essential for ensuring success.
The year 2016 follows 2015 in the use of Social Messaging for business promotion and brand awareness. Marketers are increasingly using programs such as Kik, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp, given the fact such apps are being used more than even Instagram or Facebook. Although it remains largely unknown how much conversion is possible with the use of these apps, big brands such as HBO, Absolut and Hellman are constantly using them and trying to find out their effectiveness.
The year 2016 is set to be the year when insights and analytics on social messaging apps are going to be more easily available. These will help marketers to create comprehensive strategies to market businesses over such applications.
Social media has become omnipresent and it is hardly a matter of time before marketers scratch their heads for newer SMO strategies. Until then, these trends are likely to see them making a fast buck or two.