You should be able to draw some ideas and direction on how to improve your social media campaigns for 2017, says Qamar Zaman a Digital Marketing Expert from Dallas.
One only needs to look back at the state of social media marketing in 2016 to know that it was definitely a watershed year for the industry. It’s common for trends to come and go in the world of inbound marketing, but this year, we had a number of megatrends that made a huge impact on how brands market themselves on social media.
And as 2016 comes to an end, it helps to look back at your strategies and methods applied in 2016, evaluating if they generated positive ROI for your overall campaign.
Try to ask yourself these questions:
- How many social media platforms did you include in your SMM campaign?
- What kind of content assets received the most activity?
- Did you have a distribution strategy?
Remember these questions and your answers and see how they stack up next to the biggest social media marketing hits and trends of 2016.
- Live Streaming
Live streaming has been called “the future of social media,” a claim that marketers seem to hear time and time again whenever a new trend comes into town. But this time around, it seems to be the real thing.
Live streaming pretty much blows the notion of video having to be heavily produced and edited to be effective out of the water. With live streaming, just about anyone can leverage the power of video and share whatever they record in real time.
For marketers, it means being able to use video in real time without having to spend on graphics, editing, and other production expenditures. It’s also a great tool for interacting with audiences, especially if you were to hold a question and answer session, a contest, or an interview.
Interest in live streaming apps first started in 2015 with Persicope, which was later acquired by Twitter. And things haven’t slowed down since, with Facebook Live taking the social media world by storm and used by brands to stream events and interact with their audiences in novel ways.
If you’re still skeptical of live streaming, just look at how Buzzfeed held a live stream event where they counted how many rubber band could be wrapped around watermelon until it burst.
Silly? Sure. But it drew it 807,000 viewers in real time. That kind of engagement is the stuff of marketing dreams.
2. Social Media ‘Stories’
Snapchat’s Stories is the feature that launched the once-fledgling social media platform into the spotlight, where it would become the go-to app for young millennials. YouTube star and filmmaker Casey Neistat chalks up Snapchat’s popularity to its ephemeral nature—he points that it allows users to share a slice of their life in the moment, right then and there.
Snapchat took a while to develop the same kind of audience as Twitter or Facebook (but it does boast of a staggering 10 billion video views daily), so its Stories feature wasn’t really understood by non millennials for a while.
It did, however, receive a new surge of attention after Instagram unveiled their own Stories feature, which some would say was lifted directly from Snapchat’s.
In any case, Stories offer a new way to tell, well, stories in ways that are very different from traditional videos uploaded on YouTube or Facebook. It’s more raw, more in the now, and more real—qualities that consumers are looking for in an increasingly ad-heavy world.
3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
Research from comScore shows that digital media time spent on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices is now at a staggering 68 percent. Simply put, we’re spending more time consuming digital media on our phones than on any other platform. In contrast, people spend just a third of their total digital time on desktop computers.
We’ve arrived at a point where your next customer is probably going to visit you through a smartphone, so if you still don’t have a mobile-optimized site, you’re placing yourself at a serious disadvantage against your competition.
Mobile usage has always been on a steady rise from as early as 2008, but 2016 was a remarkable year, with several events happening on the mobile front. For example, consider the Pokémon Go craze, which caused people to spend so much time on their phones, some of them even got into car accidents.
For social media marketers, the challenge is to take advantage of this unprecedented immersion in mobile. One way to do that is by ensuring all your content is optimized for mobile devices.
Fortunately, both Google and Facebook have taken steps to make this easier for marketers, releasing Accelerated Mobile Pages and Instant Articles respectively, both of which essentially streamline website pages into faster and simpler versions for mobile screens.
Fun and games were also big factors in the success of many social media apps in 2016. Perhaps the best example can be found in Snapchat’s filters, which transformed your face into animal heads, added a variety of effects (complete with music), and basically made taking selfies much more fun.
In hindsight, it might not have been very interesting to the non-Snapchat crowd, but it was certainly new and never before seen, at least as far as mainstream social media platforms go.
We also saw Facebook with their take on gamification, unveiling a series of new emoji reactions in addition to their like buttons. Even Apple got in on the fun with a new emoji system that allowed you to supersize, predict, and replace emojis.
5. Influence and Confirmation Bias
In 2016, we also realized just how frighteningly powerful social media is as a platform. You only need to look at how social media played a role in shaping public opinion over the U.S. presidential election. It’s no secret that social media gives users more control over who and what they listen to, which in turn has led people to boxing themselves inside echo chambers where the only information they’re exposed is what they agree with.
The problem is that social media platforms are also rife with fake news—an issue that Facebook vehemently denies had anything to do with the stunning victory of Donald Trump.
In any case, we might expect to see the major social media platforms to take a more proactive approach against fake news. Most recently, we saw Facebook and Google moving to take fake news sites off their ad network. For marketers, this means more attention must be placed on content quality and accuracy if they don’t want to be kicked off or penalized.
Ultimately, by reviewing these trends and events, you should be able to draw some ideas and direction on how to improve your social media campaigns for 2017. The way things are going, social media will only continue to grow next year and beyond. Your job is to anticipate what happens next by understanding the course of social media in the past.