Don’t you think it’s cliché to post about hot trends for the New Year? Once we hit December, every other post has proclamations about 2016. Tis the season for forward looking trends, so I’m going to perpetuate the cliché and offer some predictions about Social in 2016 (and some suggested resolutions for the New Year).
But first, let’s stay in 2015: According to eMarketer, almost nine out of ten U.S. companies are active on social media.
Now, to the future. In 2016, Social is going to continue to play a crucial role in business. That’s insightful, isn’t it? But seriously, the important questions you should be thinking about are:
- (Looking at your current social strategy) Where can you improve?
- What haven’t you thought about, but should be now?
- What are others doing well and can it translate to my business?
Let’s break this down into two perspectives of social predictions: (2) inward and (4) outward.
Prediction: Social will continue to improve worker efficiency and collaboration.
For years, we’ve been waiting for a new generation of internal social networks to limit the reliance upon email. Imagine a day when you don’t have to hunt through your inbox for information and the reply-all threads disappear.
We are already starting to see this capability built into CRM systems. Eventually every CRM will have social tools to enable cross-pillar collaboration and reduce the reliance on email. The main goals here are focused on two things:
- Collaboration and sharing through real-time conversations
- Driving purposeful social networking without the noise
- Breaking down siloes
- Information sharing: updates shared across your business
- Extending integration into your business applications
Prediction: Employee social advocacy programs will become mission critical.
Your people are your greatest (social) asset.
Employee social advocacy programs, which encourage employees to share updates about the business, have grown by 191% since 2013 and will continue to increase in 2016. When employees contribute socially, there are significant benefits to be gained from marketing, to service, sales, talent acquisition, and even product development.
Prediction: Social Ads will continue to work very well in 2016.
For anyone who’s used social media for the last few years, it’s clear that there has been an increase in ads on your social media feeds. In contrast to old-fashioned banner ads, the new generation of “native” social media ads, like sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram, and promoted tweets on Twitter, look and act a lot like normal updates from friends and followers. They’re also targeted with increasing precision. Advertisers are targeting more efficiently; they aren’t just going by age and gender, anymore. They’re able to expand into interests, location, company, role, etc. This means that the ads you get are probably the ones you actually want to see.
Prediction: Companies will realize that Social Messaging gets people to respond to you.
There are nearly 4 billion global users of messaging apps. In fact, the top five apps in the world in terms of frequency of use are all messaging apps. Users are popping them open more often than even Facebook or Instagram.
Right now, it’s kind of a mystery as to what type of content is being shared among messaging app users and how that affects web traffic and conversions. Aside from some organizations that use messaging for service, there is still untapped potential.
2016 may well be the year that analytics and insights become more readily available, allowing companies to develop full-fledged strategies around social messaging. All the major social platforms now have messaging components, and it’s only a matter of time before they figure out how to make that data available to businesses for marketing purposes.
Prediction: Social Video consumption will rise to over 95 minutes per day (avg).
Adults consume a total of 66 minutes of online video every day. That total will continue to increase.
Facebook is preparing to roll out features like Suggested Videos and maybe even a dedicated video feed, and Snapchat Stories are growing ever more popular and feature-rich. It makes sense that 70% of companies say video is the most effective tool in their online marketing belts, and two out of three businesses expect it to dominate their strategy going forward.
Despite these stats, many companies are still reluctant to get into the social video game for one reason: cost. It is really expensive for professionally shot videos. For organizations that don’t want to invest in professional video, there are alternatives. Streaming video like Periscope and Meerkat, offer an easier entrance into the arena.
Prediction: Awkwardly Social companies will be less profitable than Social ones
Organizations that have a presence on social channels to simply collect likes, followers, or subscribers are missing the point. Social is much more than a destination; it’s a continuous journey. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations fall into one of these three categories of awkwardly social:
- Talk too much without listening
- Listen, but don’t respond
- Show up, then disappear (neither listening or talking)
6 Social Resolutions for 2016
As I mentioned at the start, almost 9 out of 10 companies are active on social media, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. As we start a new year, it’s popular to have resolutions. Smart companies will resolve to improve in these 6 areas:
- Internal Social Collaboration
- Internal Social Advocacy
- Social Advertising
- Social Messaging
- Stop being awkward: Establish the right social platform: listen, engage, analyze