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Social Media Trends for 2016

The Great Social Gulf:
The divide between content that’s thoughtful, beautiful and deep, and content of the instantaneous, short and simple variety is growing. In 2016, we’ll see more content at the extremes of quality and length, and much less in between.

  • Long Form Content: Medium, Facebook Notes, LinkedIn Publishing, 10k character tweets.
  • Micro Content: Twitter’s Vine, Instagram’s Boomerang, GIFs.
  • High Quality: More DSLR’s, fewer iPhones. More copywriters, fewer interns.
  • Lower Quality: “What works on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube likely will not generate the same success on Snapchat.”

Voice Shift – It doesn’t matter if you’re “on fleek:”

Too often, brands try to relate to followers by speaking in a language they THINK will resonate. Many end up sound like teenagers, using words like “bae,” “on fleek” and “turnt.” In 2016, brands will finally realize it’s more important for their social media voice to be authentic than cool. According to data crunched by Brandwatch, there have been nearly 17,000 mentions by brands and consumers of the word “bae” or “fleek” online. Among the culprits tweeting the #bae hashtag: Taco Bell, Burger King, Chili’s and Applebee’s to name just a few.

Employee Advocacy and Amplification:
We all know that “Brands aren’t people.” On social, this is especially true. In 2016, brands will begin to make use of their employee’s personal connections and digital networks. Tools like Bambu, EveryoneSocial, Dynamic Signal and LinkedIn Elevate are all intended to help brands take advantage of these facts:

  • Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Source: Social Media Today)
  • Employees have on average 10x more social connections than a brand does (Source: Social Chorus)
  • An employee advocate is 2x more trusted than a CEO (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2014)

Live Content Aggregation:
In 2015, each of the big three social networks tested, launched, or tweaked their “live content aggregators” in attempts to put eyes on the best of their networks’ content. In 2016, consumer content consumption will take place in live aggregators in addition, and as an alternative to newsfeeds.

  • Twitter Moments: “the best of what’s happening on Twitter in an instant.”
  • Instagram Search & Explore: “The new Explore now surfaces trends as they emerge in real-time, connecting you to events and conversations both near you and around the globe.”
  • Snapchat Stories: “It’s the first time you’ll be able to experience that incredible game-winning dunk from thousands of perspectives throughout the stadium – or feel like you’re right there on the scene when breaking news unfolds. “

Personalized Content:
Social media targeting options, both organic and paid, grew by leaps and bounds in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, social media publishers will take advantage of these new tools to create highly personalized content targeted to specific groups and individuals. (61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy, according to a study by Demand Metric.)

Shift of Organic vs. Paid Reach:
Social media is quickly becoming a “pay-to-play” channel for brands. The shift of organic to paid reach is nearly complete. In 2016, brands will be forced to continually re-evaluate organic vs. paid reach strategies to compensate.

  • In 2015, the average organic reach for posts from Facebook pages dropped to below 3%.
  • Twitter is testing non-linear/chronological news feeds, giving credence to rumors of a more algorithmic approach to content.
  • According to 2014-2015 data from SocialBakers, Videos are now the most effective post type on Facebook for maximizing reach.

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