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4 Key Social Media Marketing Trends To Lead The Game in 2016

11/19/2015 03:08 pm ET | Updated Nov 19, 2015

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Image by Jason Howie via Flick Creative Commons

The same laws of attraction have never governed the social media marketing scene for too long.

Just as one Tweet changes another, so does user preferences when it comes to consuming online content. New social media rise and fall quickly and this year SnapChat and Periscope already shown a great influence on the marketing landscape. With new players entering the field and old companies rushing to introduce new features and innovations, the rules of social media play hardly ever stay the same.

In 2016 we should expect to see new exciting trends and changes in the social scene and here are the top 4.

1. In-the-moment updates will prevail


The obsession with live streaming and instant updates will continue to grow exponentially. Think SnapChat, Periscope and Blab. Virtual Reality is close to going mainstream, meaning more and more apps will battle for users' full attention and struggle to satisfy their crave for full immersion in the event. Sure, Facebook still does good job with keeping users updated on the latest news, however the platform cannot offer in-the-moment content that live steam apps offer.

What does it mean for marketers?

Unless you have already jumped on the visual marketing bandwagon, it's a high time to do so.

Get ready to show the human face of your business and start thinking of how you can leverage your brand with instant updates. Here are some ideas to get you started:

- Team at work and behind the scene snaps.
- Product updates and exclusive product sneak peeks.
- Time sensitive discounts and special offers.
- Short tutorials and webinars.
- Sweepstakes and collaborations with influencers.
- Real time Q&A sessions

2. Culture will still be king


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No matter how compelling ad messages become, people will continue to care more about the culture, rather than the product.

Having a good product is not enough. Having a brand story and unique brand values is a now a necessity.

With the rise of Big Data Internet marketers have access to huge amount of information about consumer preferences, interests and spending habits. Services become highly personalized and you already heard how important it is to build quality relationships with your users and offer them unique experiences.

Digital storytelling campaigns have won the hearts and minds of billions consumers this year. Think H&M Garment Collecting initiative, the viral video and active response on the social media. Or The Last Selfie Snapchat campaign by WWF that raised a massive buzz and resulted into a leveraged worldwide branding and drastically increased donations for the month.

What does it mean for marketers?

Your business needs a story and a shared cause with your target audience. Swipe through your online marketing persona profiles; identify the values that most of your buyers' share and that resonate with your brand.

For instance, you are marketing to millennials. You know the target group within actively supports eco friendly technologies and materials. Stress that you are using 100% recyclable packing and donate a fraction of each purchase to a sustainable development NGO in Costa Rica. Make sure those statements are not blunt. The community will be ruthless if you get caught in being fake.

Not sure what exactly your consumers crave for and what does your brand lack? Check out Kinnect2 platform that brings brands and consumers together to share their opinions and receive real feedback on their product, strategy or brand story.

3. Privacy concerns will continue to rise.


The shock of the notorious Ashley Madison hack will prevail in the society for the next year and most probably onwards.

In fact, one of the reasons for SnapChat's popularity is that the app offers a more secure and private environment for communication and engagement.

Facebook rolled out a new set of privacy awareness tools, most probably to compensate a major dissatisfaction after the forced Real name policy implementation.

What does it mean for marketers?

When offering customer support via social media, make sure you don't ask your users to disclose any private information publicly. Always use private messages only.

Respect and highlight your privacy policy and make sure you are informing your users about the use of cookies and other information they agree to share with your service.

Switching to more private and personalized communication channels e.g. email marketing is another smart move. With the estimated ROI of $40 for every $1 spent, email marketing continues to leverage the marketing game for most brands.

4. Social networks morph into search engines


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Up to 80% of consumers are influenced by online reviews and comments, created by other consumers. They are no longer typing into Google, they go straight to YouTube, Facebook, Yelp and Pinterest for advice and opinions.

In fact, 87% of recent survey respondents claimed that Pinterest helped them decide what product to purchase. As this social network is mainly dominated by woman in their 30s, known to show the most active shopping habits, no wonder the number is so high.

The holiday season is approaching more and more people scout social media directly in search of discounts, special deals and gift ideas.

What does it mean for marketers?

While SEO is not going anywhere, identifying social media as a search channel as well, means you can potentially double your revenue.

Use your social media channels to share special discounts, limited-platform promo codes and feature actual reviews and testimonials from your users.

Case studies and client success stories are now actively published by a lot of brands to show the real value of their product through the eyes of an average user, rather than a glossy promo material.

Partnering with social media influencers (bloggers, vloggers, Instagramers and creatives alike) is another trend on the rise. As users crave for peer-to-peer advice, inviting Internet famous brand ambassadors on board can drastically leverage your brand and online visibility. At the end of the day, users are now prone to the traditional advertising techniques, but are always keen to hear a friendly advice from a person they can relate to.

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