As you approach your 2016 marketing strategy, considering your past success and failures is a great start. However, its increasingly important to be in the forefront when it comes to upcoming trends and social functionalities. Determining how to best spend your marketing budget will be different for every business however, a below the line option like social media can draw many benefits when managed correctly. Here are my top tips for Social Management in 2016.
The Service Level of Social
Still viewed by many as a channel for friends and family to keep in touch, Social Media now plays a much larger, diverse role for business. Brands have seen the nature of the social user is to share stories and things of interest and taken up the opportunity to involve their brand with this act.
Recently, I was purchasing some homewares online and wanted to enquire as to when a sale was to end because this information wasn’t listed on the website. Rather than searching for a phone number and picking up the phone and calling my local store or a customer service number where I would be placed on hold for 10 minutes, I sent a direct message to the national company on Facebook. After receiving an automated response to say “someone is looking into your request, we will respond within 24hrs”, I waited but without response. Social is a great way to directly communicate with those directly interested in your business and build loyalty. My experience is like many others – the effort and time to wait on a phone call is too long and Facebook is a much more convenient way to access this information. As these consumer patterns emerge, its important businesses are catering for customers and are providing consistent service.
Social platforms played a massive part in opening a channel for people to voice their opinions, which should be used as a way to the service being delivered. It provides people a quick way of making a purchase or checkout a café menu. Businesses need to make sure they are utilizing all of the functionality available because that’s what their customers are using and expect business to know what they are using.
Utilising Employee Advocacy
Each day, your employee’s leave the workplace and go home to their families, pets or housemates. They interact with friends via Social Networking and share content as a part of their day. Companies have been seen to use this natural act by utilizing employees to increase their social reach through the development of advocacy programs. Since 2013, the use of this tactic has increased by 191% according to Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes.
Studies have shown that content shared by an employee received 8 times more engagement that when it was shared by a brand page making it an inexpensive and tactful strategy. It has been predicted that there will be an increasing amount of functionality available to increase Employee Advocacy through Social Media in 2016.
Social Advertising – Buy Buttons Take Over
If you aren’t already on the Social Advertising bandwagon – jump on! It’s increasing popular on all platforms and being much more accepted by users – providing businesses with much better results. The usability, presentation, targeting and reporting is becoming more and more sophisticated meaning that there is obvious demand from business.
2015 saw the introduction of buy buttons on various platforms – a noteworthy platform success is Pinterest. I have always thought of Pinterest as the dark horse of the platforms and 2015 was certainly its year to shine. Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have all also made this introduction to both pages and advertisements.
The Rise of Video
While Facebook has reportedly taken over Youtube in video views, Snapchat boasts 6million video views daily as of 2015. Twitter launched native video platform Periscope and has had a good response from users world wide.
While some companies are still neglecting using professional video content due to the high costs of production, there are still ways for businesses to utilise the opportunity of video while not hurting the pocket. Apps like VidClips allow you to merge video’s taken on your IPhone together with other clips. If you sift through the App store, you’re bound to find some Gems!
Facebook will soon be launching their own video platform in competition with Youtube and Periscope and this will also mean that the algorithm will favour videos. While video’s are great for creative and engagement purposes, on Facebook, it will actually improve your reach and should be a part of your digital strategy.
The last three years in social media have seen some drastic changes in usability, presentation, functionality and business application. Social Media in isolation does serve a purpose however, it is much more beneficial when integrated as a part of a larger scale marketing plan. 2016 will see some heavy technical changes proving more challenging for businesses. A thoughtful strategy will mean some creative ideas and some trial and error but the investment will be sure to pay off.