Let’s set 7 social media trends for 2016

Playful, original, live

Let’s be trendsetters, shall we?

If you’ve already got your small business on social media, you know how hard it is to stand out. There’s a lot of noise. And it’s just going to get louder as social media continues to take a more prominent role in consumers’ day-to-day activities. The good news is that there’s a huge marketing payoff possible for SMBs that figure out how to cut through all that noise in their potential customers’ social feeds.

Let’s lead the way by setting seven social media trends for 2016.

Make your own content

You and your business are one-of-a-kind, so why aren’t your social posts original? People are following your brand because they like you and your product or service — so give them the goods.

Your business feed should feature original content that shows off the personality and awesomeness that is your company.

 

What should you be sharing? Focus on your brand, but in an informative and inspiring kind of way. Share links and other sources of information, but take it up a notch by sharing your own blogs, your own pictures, and your own quotes. Show off your products in fun new ways. Share your company’s culture by giving a glimpse into your office or showing your employees out and about.

Think about what you enjoy seeing from other companies, and come up with ways to make that kind of social content your own. Play around with apps like PicMonkey, which enables you to put text on images, and Photo Grid, which gives you fun layouts, filters and effects to liven up your pictures for social sharing.

Lights. Camera. Make a video!

Take your content up a notch and start making branded videos. Video platforms like YouTube and Vine can give a voice and personality to your business, while also providing enjoyable and sharable information.

You don’t have to come up with an elaborate concept. Shoot a quick interview with a favorite customer, give a tour of your office, offer on-camera tips relevant to your service or product, or produce a short “making of” video. When in doubt, turn your old blog posts into informative videos.

Freelancers on sites like Fiverr can put together inexpensive video content for you, or you can work with a company like Video Broadcast Services to get an affordable full video marketing package. If you’re looking for something a little more fun and DIY, check out PowToon to make simple animated videos.

Harness the power of influencers

Have you ever seen someone wearing a great piece of clothing or using a piece of tech you just loved, and decided to buy it yourself? Well, you were just persuaded by influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing can show off your business through a fresh voice.

 

Generally, influencer marketing works like this:

  • You give the chosen influencer your product or invite them to try your service (at no charge).
  • You share your goals, requirements and expectations.
  • You give the influencer all your social media links and create a hashtag for them to use when sharing so you can track their progress.
  • The influencer reviews the product or service, shares pictures of them using the product on social media, and writes a blog post or does a video review.
  • They share the content with their (many) followers.

If you want to really dive into influencer marketing and get your business into the hands of influencer experts, sites like Influenster and Clever Girls Collective have programs to help you on a grand scale.

Live broadcasting: It’s gonna be big!

Periscope and Meerkat gave the world live, raw content in 2015. Now, with Facebook rolling out Facebook Live in 2016, live video will be the biggest way to target and communicate with followers. The days of overdone and expensive productions are on the way out, in favor of authentic live conversations.

Live streaming is a perfect vehicle for community-building.

 

It enables your business to build a community while giving your followers the chance to engage and interact with your brand. With live video you can take viewers behind-the-scenes, make timely announcements, do interviews with your followers, teach something, do a demo … the possibilities are endless.

Wanna see a brand that’s making the most of live video? Royal Caribbean used Periscope to show the many adventures available on their cruises with their “Come Seek Live” campaign.

Live streaming is going to be HUGE in 2016, so start experimenting with it now.

Make it quick and sharable

You only have the swipe of a thumb to capture someone’s attention these days. So, why are you spending so much time writing blog posts and hoping that is enough? Louis Foong talks about how platforms such as Vine and Snapchat are all about “snackable content” for mobile.

By creating your own images to share on social media, you can give quick, shareable information that is playful and uplifting to get more engagement, shares and follows. Give your followers the best information in the graphic or video, and then give them the option to dive deeper on your blog or website.

Expand into more platforms

Facebook is still king for most small businesses, but why limit your social media marketing potential by sticking to only one platform? Instagram, with more than 400 million monthly active users, is a prime place to tell your business’s story through visual content. Pinterest, with over 100 million active users — 85 percent of which are female — is all about recipes, DIY projects, fashion and decor. Snapchat boasts up to 700 million videos and photos shared per day.

These are not numbers your business should be ignoring. Embrace, learn and experiment with different platforms to find new ways for your business to engage with potential customers.

Need some inspiration? Check out how Burberry used Snapchat to make the luxury brand’s Testino campaign a huge success.

Look into advertising

If you’re still under the impression that social media is free, you are sorely mistaken. Let’s put aside the fact that your time has value; it is virtually impossible to grow your business’s social media pages just by posting and hoping.

The average Facebook user has 338 friends. All of them access Facebook at different times and in different ways (desktop or mobile.) Let’s say you make a Facebook post at 10 a.m. This means that only people who are on Facebook around 10 a.m. are going to see your post. Logically, you think this means you need to post multiple times a day. Wrong! Facebook’s algorithm frowns upon posting too frequently (with the exception of news outlets) — and over-posting irritates your followers who spend a lot of time on Facebook. A small percentage of your followers are now seeing your posts.

Now, you decide to pay Facebook to make that 10 a.m. post a Promoted Post. The algorithm is happy; it realizes how important it is for your followers and other Facebook users you’ve targeted to see that post.

While it’s important to post on a regular basis, it’s just as vital to invest in promoting your most important information.

 

Having a sale? Trying to increase website views? Need more people to sign up for your email marketing? Created a funny meme you want to share? Paid options on social sites can help you get the results you want.

You don’t have to help set ALL of these social media trends for 2016 — just commit to giving your all to one or two. Your business will Like you for it.