3 Social Media Trends to Look for in 2016

This is a guest post by Katie D’Arcy, public relations and social media strategist at Martino Flynn.

social keyboardThis is a guest post by Katie D’Arcy, public relations and social media strategist at Martino Flynn.

It seems as if social media trends change daily. In 2015, we saw major changes to the Facebook newsfeed, the dawn of live-streaming applications, and a whole bunch of content everywhere. To me, it seems clear: businesses have an issue with content. Your clients might be saying, “Wait a minute; we’re creating content just fine,” but here’s an alarming statistic: 69 percent of business-to-consumer marketers created more content in 2015, and 70 percent of business-to-business marketers also created more content.

The alarming word here is “more.” In an effort to battle 0% organic reach on platforms like Facebook, the ongoing strategy has been to create more content to cut through the clutter. But is this really the right path forward in 2016?

My answer to this is simple: quality over quantity. A brand that is too focused on the brand message as opposed to communicating with its consumer is a brand that will fail on social media in 2016. It’s time we really start to understand our consumers, because 2016 will provide brands a real opportunity to harness the power of consumer-driven content and brand affinity.

Here are three big trends I see really taking off in 2016:

1. Channel building.

Simply put, many brands are on multiple channels, but the content strategy isn’t working. Instead of cross-promoting the same content on all channels using the copy-paste model, brands will need to make the switch to a model that speaks specifically to the audience on each channel. Work to build specific audiences on the different channels—because they’re all so different.

We know that the LinkedIn audience is comprised of mostly C-level executives, so let’s help our clients understand that there is a better channel suited for community events, contests, etc. In the same vein, branded content will not generate any organic reach on Facebook unless you’re providing an awesome incentive to engage, so make sure you’re working paid budgets into the 2016 mix.

If a message is important and you want people to see it, be prepared to invest $2 in promotions for every $1 spent creating a piece of content. Don’t just drop a piece of content on a social network and hope it sticks, give each piece of content a runway to succeed.

2. Live streaming.

Content on social media that contains video is proven to be more engaging. Brands are beginning to use videos for customer service outreach and to show personality. In 2016, new applications like Periscope and Facebook’s new “Live” option will allow brands the opportunity to engage on a new level. Attending a trade show? CEO giving a keynote? Hosting a grand opening? Stream it live and give consumers a real look into your client’s brand and “who” they’re all about.

Notice I said “who” and not “what” – the sooner our clients can differentiate between the two, the faster they’ll see success on social media. It’s not about what a brand has; it’s about who they are and how consumers will identify with them. Many marketers think consumers are too busy to consume their content, but if content is relevant, the audience will consume it. Relevancy creates time.

3. Influencer marketing.

About 25 percent of all branded search results is user-generated content. That means a quarter of the content about your client’s brand is not developed by your marketing team. Yikes! Influencers, brand advocates, and even employees are talking about your brand online.

Remember the phrase: “word of mouth?” It’s happening on a massive scale, but your brand can weigh in. Businesses are making more than $6 on each $1 spent on influencer marketing.

I like to think of social media as a live 24/7/365 focus group. Get to know who is talking about your brand in 2016 and build some relationships; your efforts will surely pay off.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZ4AAAAJDU2ZDMyNjgwLTJjZTgtNGQ0YS1iZGY4LTkyZDY2ODQ2ZDZjOAKatie D’Arcy is the public relations and social media strategist at Martino Flynn, a full-service, integrated marketing communications firm in Pittsford, N.Y. She is responsible for the strategic development of integrated social media programs for several of the agency’s business-to-business and consumer accounts. You can find Katie on LinkedIn or Twitter.