Trying to stay on top of the trends in social media can be like trying to herd cats. The industry changes direction frequently and strategies that worked two months ago can suddenly stop yielding results. And new platforms crop up frequently.
Social Media Marketing is constantly evolving, searching for the next big thing – some platforms start with a big bang and then fizzle out (remember Ello?) and some grow slowly at first but catch on in popularity steadily (visual media marketing platforms like Instagram for instance), becoming huge in what feels like an instant.
Knowing what trends to watch for will help you plan your social strategy to take advantage of platforms and services that are popular and growing now so that your business is not left behind. Here are some of the trends that have been big through the first half of 2016 and will continue to grow in popularity.
Social Media Marketing Trends of the First Half of 2016:
- Live Video. Videos on the internet are not new; Youtube is still the second most popular website on the internet (behind Google), but live video is the new star of the show. First it was Vine, then Periscope, then platforms like Blab came onto the scene and now Facebook Live video is making live broadcasts the newest way to authentically connect with your audience.
- Mobile Dominance. As of 2015, mobile optimization can no longer be an afterthought. Google’s search algorithm penalizes sites that are not mobile friendly and rightly so – for the first time ever mobile searches overtook desktop searching on the platform. Mobile devices are also the primary screen used by a majority of social media users – so when they’re clicking on a Facebook link, they’re probably doing it on mobile.
- Real Time Engagement. A byproduct of the trend towards live video, is that consumers are expecting engagement from brands and businesses with whom they interact on social media. Companies that use social media purely for broadcasting messages and who are not responsive risk losing business.
- Social Shopping and Influencer Marketing. Instead of relying on search engines, more and more people are turning to social media to get information about purchases. Platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter have accommodated this by incorporating buy buttons to help convert information gathering into sales. Likewise, brands are using influencer marketing as a way to build relationships with customers and potential customers without it feeling like a hard sell.
The Social Media Marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and these four marketing trends are poised to become even more important in the second half of 2016.