Whether in the city of Houston, or anywhere around the world, it’s simply mind-blowing how rapidly consumer expectation for engagement, and the online social media marketing landscape, keeps changing. It seems that there are always new platforms popping up- keeping companies on their toes with regards to social media marketing. You can’t afford to ignore social media in the current business environment, and it pays to know some of the biggest upcoming trends of 2016.
Social shopping is the trend where customers shop by seeking referrals and finding ideas on their social networks. This is probably the biggest trend to watch out for as the number of consumers using social media referrals to make purchases continues to go through the roof. The number of people making use of their favorite social platforms to buy goods and or services has more than doubled since 2013. This trend is only going to grow as more social platforms continue to adapt and make use of innovations such as “buy now” buttons.
A study of consumer behavior reveals that people are more inclined to make purchases after referrals from their social circles. In fact, the ability to make purchases through social platforms saves plenty of time and effort that would have otherwise been spent on researching a product before making a purchase. The city of Houston is not immune to this phenomenon and companies in the area should take advantage of such social media capabilities.
Visual content literally defines social media today. A simple move, such as, updating a font can have significant value to an entire social media marketing campaign. Whether video, photo or interactive design, marketers in Houston should be drafting plans to improve the visual appeal of their brands.
Thanks to the launch of streaming tools on various social platforms, video content dominated the social media landscape in 2015. That was barely a tip of the iceberg. Industry leaders believe video marketing will become one of the most powerful marketing media tools in 2016. Video marketing is actually growing in importance online as well. Various surveys have established that video content tends to generate better engagement than any other kind of media.
Video can be integrated at every single stage of the buyer’s journey; and depending on the content, it can be used to create a connection with customers or potential clients. Video is one of the best ways to create awareness about your product and or service while at the same time creating personal connections with viewers. Young consumers are especially preoccupied with gifs and micro videos as a form of expression. The popularity of video content has resulted in increased engagement. As a result, social platforms are all inventing ingenious ways to incorporate video and integrate gif content. You can expect to see a growing trend in more immersive moving video content in 2016.
The perception of video has also changed. Many companies think that video translates to promotional content, and that a video doesn’t hold value if there is no form to fill out beforehand or call to action. Well, there’s nothing further from the truth. The digital space is saturated with video ads, and more users are beginning to respect brands that focus on building stories rather than just generating leads.
Location Marketing Technology
Statistics suggest that an estimated two billion people will own a Smartphone in 2016. This means more than just easy access to a wider market. Brands are taking location-based marketing up a notch, by going beyond basic sites and apps to play up location. Location marketing technology is not entirely new, but the prospects of this innovation are predicted to grow in 2016. This technology enables marketers to gauge how many customers they can reach via social media marketing. Transmitters can detect a nearby device and do anything from welcoming a customer to sending push notifications for deals and offers based on a shopper’s location in a store.
Focus on Engagement
Social media is maturing. There is a shift from viral content and more towards creating content that engages the audience. This move is based on building social brands by starting with the already existing core fans. People who are more likely to see your content on social media are those who already like your brand. The process involves understanding key audiences and their expectations. Once you deliver, they become your brand ambassadors. They’ll like, comment, and/or share your content among their networks, and that’s how you increase your reach. The passionate consumer has a stronger voice and a greater ability to impact public opinion and sales. This trend can be very useful in Houston, where companies can study their customer preferences to eventually grow their businesses.
Social Media Optimization
As social shopping gains more significance, social media marketing platforms are rapidly catching up with search engines as the “go to place” for reviews, referrals or information on products and services. While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) remains the first target of any company’s online marketing campaign, things are fast changing. The rise of social shopping means Social Media Optimization (SMO) is on its way to partnering with SEO in 2016.
Privacy is a Great Concern
Following high-profile security breaches in 2015, privacy is becoming one of the biggest concerns for online shoppers and consumers. In their effort to deliver personalized messages, marketers have the challenge to track consumer preferences and behavior without being too intrusive. User demand for more private and secure methods of engagement have seen the popularity of social media platforms with enhanced security features. As tension continues to rise, only social platforms with a high degree of security and privacy will continue to thrive. This means marketers have to come up with different ways to engage the relatively more aware consumer, and back off intrusive forms of advertising.
The bottom line is that the social media marketing landscape is constantly evolving. It has been over the years, and 2016 is no different. What doesn’t change is the fact that businesses will have to figure out how to get the best results from a channel that’s getting more attention and resources.
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