1. Quality not quantity
As the number of people on social media increases, so does the competition. The fight for a place in your customers' timelines is difficult, and ensuring they're seeing your posts at all is becoming harder than ever. With algorithmic changes to the big social networks meaning posts from friends are prioritised over businesses, the key to making yourself heard is quality.
What's favoured now, both in the social media realm and the rest of the internet, is good quality content. SEO is leaning towards authenticity and peer-verification, and the same is applicable to social media marketing. What companies need to do is focus their efforts on making sure what they're sharing is worthwhile, which will increase the chances of users engaging with it, which will in turn increase its reach.
2. Social media is a place for shopping?
Take a look at any big retailer's Facebook page right now, what do you notice? Most likely it's the "Shop Now" button hovering in the top right corner. The ability to buy products on social media is just starting to take hold, something helped by the prevalence of targeted advertising on social networks. People have been seeing ads applicable to them for a long time, so the idea of shopping via a website like Facebook is one we're getting more and more used to.
Companies who don't see the benefit in social media marketing need to consider this trend, as it becomes more common it may be that those who don't buy in are left behind.
3. Video content and live streaming
We all know how important video streaming is, in fact it's predicted that video will become the dominant medium of information within the next few years. If you've been paying attention, you won't have failed to notice the increase in live streaming either.
Live streaming is slowly increasing in popularity: the format appeals to our need for instant gratification and our desire to be involved in what's happening immediately. With the development of Facebook Live and the popularity of such apps as Periscope, this social media marketing medium is only going to grow.
4. Customisation is key
From the expansion of the "hide" feature on Facebook, to the recently released "reactions", 2016 has been the year of personalisation. When we react to anything on social media, we're telling the network how we feel about it. When you "hide" a post on Facebook, that reaction is logged into their algorithm, and over time the network learns what you like and what you don't like. This is excellent news for companies. The key to a successful marketing campaign is segmentation and correctly choosing a target audience, as the content people see is narrowed down to their tastes, the chances of them interacting with posts increases. This is turn means they're more likely to look at advertisements and business related content, and eventually to become a customer.
These are the trends which have dominated the year so far, it seems likely they'll inform the major Christmas and fall campaigns, so it's worth mastering them now.
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