As we near the end of January, it seems that everyone is getting settled into a 2016 routine. A new year always brings new trends, and the vast world of social media is not immune to this shift. From industry rookies to veteran PR and digital marketing professionals, we all must be aware of these rapidly changing social trends – or risk being left in the ephemeral, digital dust. With February quickly approaching, a sign of 2016 in full swing, let’s focus our attention on these emerging trends before the next batch sneaks up on us.
A constant mobile connection between your brand and the consumer matters more than ever in 2016. Marketers must constantly watch changing events and stories that may affect their audiences, and make real time changes to best serve them. Red Roof Inn perfectly utilized this “immediacy” strategy, targeting customers with recently cancelled flights who were in need of a place to stay, ASAP. They saw the opening for sales, zeroed in on mobile users, and connected quickly to answer a demand.
Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram still serve their original purposes of connecting users digitally, but new uses for the outlets have recently become more mainstream. SEO has not been completely shut out, as Google and other search engines are still the most popular sources of online information, and users are now going to social accounts for general information searches, as well. Social sites tend to show more images and consumer interaction, which is a definite plus for the digitally inclined. For brands, this only goes to prove that social channels are huge assets, and that they must be fed a steady stream of rich content.
Streaming videos onto social sites is as, if not more, important than ever. When you hear “video,” perhaps YouTube first comes to mind; digital marketing is way past that. Periscope, an app used to stream video from your mobile device, now streams directly through Twitter. Because of this, a close and personal connection can be established between brand and consumer, capitalizing on a previously built social following. Brands can avoid starting from scratch on a new social platform, and the entertainment value of videos is known to boost consumer engagement. It’s a win-win from the brand perspective, and consumers don’t have it half bad, either – with Periscope they can be transported through a shared video platform to experiences as remote as, in Periscope’s words, “the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia.” Not too shabby, no matter which way you look at it.
These are just a few of the many trends this year has to offer. They are some of the most fun, the most interesting, and the most important, but they’re not inclusive of everything we, as marketers, need to be attentive to. So remain on your toes, fellow ad people and PR folk, for the next batch of social media trends. They are just around the (digital) corner!
* Annie Draper is a Public Relations Intern at CerconeBrownCompany