People often refer to social media marketing as a wild animal. And yet, all I keep on seeing is a beast just coming at me, not really social media or any of its components.
The thing is, I don’t think social media is a wild animal at all. Yes, social media marketing is hard work and yes, it’s sometimes unpredictable. But hey, isn’t life pretty unpredictable. Roll with the punches homeboy.
Actually, just kidding, let’s stay away from any punching this year. Let’s prepare ourselves with some handy (and quite brilliant, if I may say) predictions.
First, which should really come to no surprise at all, is Real-Time Content. For years content calendars have been the basis of all social media marketers. However, in this shiny new year, content will need to start being more real-time. What do I mean by that? Well let’s say #TeddyBears is trending. Companies and marketers will need to quickly create a quirky post that relates their brand to a teddy bear. So let’s say I’m doing a post for, I don’t know, McDonald’s, I’ll have to scatter through storage or head out to buy a teddy bear, take a picture of it with a burger, make a funny caption, and post it across platforms. Now doesn’t that seem easy? The answer is no, if you’re wondering. BUT, real-time content will place the brand in conversation with the trending topic, create much more engagement, build brand awareness, followers and ultimately, customers. Both the client and the agency need to be prepared to make some bold (and very shareable) content.
Below are some pretty cool examples of brands that are already on top of their real-time-game.
— Ericsson Careers (@EricssonCareers) October 21, 2015
The hashtag #BackToTheFuture exploded on Twitter on October 21st. Ericsson Careers quickly jumped on the trending topic to create a punny caption and image that went with the hashtag and their brand.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
When the lights went off during the 2013 Superbowl, Oreo was one of the first to act on it. It is now one of the most talked about Tweets (especially when it comes to real-time content.)
— KITKAT (@KITKAT) September 24, 2014
KitKat made an awesome and witty tweet when people started complaining about their iPhone 6 Plus bending. Not many brands could have jumped on this bandwagon so easily. KitKat’s cleverness and quickness clearly paid off.
Social media has slowly but surely become extremely image-based. Even Twitter, which began as a text-only platform, is now filled with images. In fact, you can get a 150% increase in retweets just by including images (Source: Social Media Examiner). Content this year should focus a lot more on the image. More time should be spent creating custom images and curating client-specific photoshoots. Stock images won’t be getting you as much traction anymore. Get inspired by some examples below:
Image Recognition Monitoring Tools
While we’re on the subject of images, I should also note that experts expect a lot more monitoring tools with image recognition. What do I mean by that? It’s simple: Instead of searching a word, hashtag or a location, you search your logo. Let’s say your brand is Coca Cola. You look up Coca Cola’s different logos to search for photos of the drink. This way, you can connect with people who haven’t necessarily tagged your brand, but are still using it. Monitoring tools like Gaze are already using image recognition, but many more will come this year.
This is a recently new thing on Facebook, which we can all be equally excited and nervous about. Instant Articles are articles which can be read directly on Facebook. Why did they do this, you ask? Well, Facebook will do anything to keep you on their site. So far, they’ve partnered up with a couple news giants like the Guardian and National Geographic. The Instant Articles don’t require any additional loading time, which can be beneficial for both the user and the creator. They also allow the owners of the article to place additional ads on the page. Instant Articles or other ways to keep users on a specific platform will definitely be arising this year, especially for platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn which have a ton of links.
In the year to come, employee advocacy will be pretty significant for a brand’s success. Encouraging employees to like the brand’s Facebook page (and the content) will be more important than ever. If you have amazing content but a small number of fans, chances are it won’t be reaching anyone (not even your followers.) But if all your employees like it, then your content has the potential to reach all of their friends, and then the friends of the friends. However, the domino effect has to start from somewhere – your employees. This will be key, especially for small businesses and startups. Making sure employees understand how to properly engage and how much this will ultimately help them is key this year. Take a look at what Social Chorus is doing, while you’re at it.
A few Extra things, just because I like you:
Watch out for more ads on Snapchat, especially on the Discover and Live sections. Videos will also become extremely important. I’m talking Boomerang, Stop-Motion, Time-lapse, and Live Videos. Ads will be more expensive and getting on users News Feeds will be much harder.
Best of luck and happy New Year!