As a new year begins, social media continues to dominate business marketing. The right social media campaign can affordably reach more customers than any other form of advertising. While businesses are using the same social platforms to market to the public, the landscape changes slightly each year as marketers realize some techniques are more productive than others. For small online businesses, we see four top trends that will rule social media marketing in 2016.
Unlike traditional marketing, social media allows brands to communicate instantly with their customers. Updates can be made in real time, with little planning or forethought. Although most successful businesses carefully strategize their social media marketing efforts, the instantaneousness of social media means that brands can take advantage of breaking news and trending topics to promote their products. Small business owners have watched big brands expertly use real-time marketing to expand their reach, and in 2016, they’ll find ways to bring this approach to their own campaigns.
Several years ago, TechCrunch called integrated advertising “the future of advertising.” Well, the future is here. Original methods of online advertising such as banners and pop-ups have long been deemed ineffective. Instead, websites are realizing the benefits of integrating ads with their content. Social media sites are the latest to adopt this technique — standardizing “sponsored posts” that appear in a user’s newsfeed. In 2016, ads will become even more closely matched to customer interests to get the most ROI possible for advertisers.
Video is the direction that the Internet is heading, with a report from Cisco predicting that by 2019, video will account for 80 percent of global online traffic. Compounding that statistic is the recent report from Facebook that the social media site is generating 8 billion video views per day. Last October, the company began rolling out a feature that lets members change their profile pictures to a short looping video. Both Facebook and Twitter now set videos to auto play in newsfeeds unless members opt out, so 2016 will be the year that brands begin taking advantage of this feature to reach customers.
Even the best social media post will be ineffective if the customer can’t easily take action. This is especially true in today’s mobile environment, where consumers are likely to see ads while on their smartphones. Buy buttons are designed to make it easy for customers to purchase directly from a posted photo or video on a social media site. While Pinterest already has this feature, adoption for Facebook and Twitter has been slower. Facebook announced last year that it would begin testing the feature within pages, while Twitter offers the feature to brands that sell through sites like Bigcommerce, Demandware and Shopify. As social media sites become more comfortable with buy buttons, brands will see them as an option across all of their social platforms.
For small online businesses, social media marketing is the best way to reach customers quickly. By studying the latest trends, businesses can make sure their efforts are as effective as possible. With so many businesses competing for the consumer’s attention, it’s important to find ways to stand out in the crowd. News feeds that use real-time marketing, integrated advertising, video and buy buttons are some of the best ways to do that.
For more information on ecommerce trends, check out our Ecommerce Tips and Trends page.