At the end of 2015, we published our “Top 5 Social Media Trends Dominating 2016” post. As a recap, our top 5 social media trend predictions for 2016 included:
- Channeling your message.
- Use video more and authentically.
- Search + social = buy now – the start of the buy-now button.
- Allow workplace communication that mirrors natural social communication (i.e. use of emojis and social media platforms).
- Adopt influencer marketing.
We are now two-thirds of the way through 2016 as we revisit this topic to share some updates and recommendations. The last third of the year is crucial for B2C e-commerce marketers, and is also their time to shine. With the holidays around the corner, marketers need to revamp their social media marketing in order to stay on their game.
Below are the social media trends to watch for as we approach the end of 2016 and beyond:
The Buy Now/Install Now Trend
The brilliant minds behind social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have created an equally, if not more, brilliant feature with B2C e-commerce marketers in mind: The “Buy Now” button, and it’s taking social media by storm. Looking back on our predictions for 2016, we’re realizing we’re already off to a solid start!
How had no one thought of this before?
This button makes it easier than ever for consumers to purchase products with just a click. New social media feed algorithms take into account the browsing patterns of users and then adjusts what appears on their feeds. These tailored feeds include targeted ads, which include tactically placed buy now buttons. The button capitalizes on heightened engagement and relevance, and transitions users from subconscious scrolling to actively moving through the buying cycle. This is one of the social media trends that is here to stay. Marketers should get involved with this new channel to help eliminate their abandoned-cart problems.
Inject Personality & Humor with Employee Advocacy
According to Cisco, employees have over 10 times the number of followers that a typical company does, and their posts generate around 8 times more engagement. Employees are a company’s largest social media marketing asset, so it’s important for marketers to question whether they have tapped into this opportunity. Employees are a living, breathing testimonial to a company’s brand.
Marketers can provide them with general guidelines but need to allow them to inject their own personality and humor into their individual messages. For consumers, it can be hard to believe that there are real human beings behind advocating a brand in their spare time. By allowing employees to be advocates with their own personal flair a brand can bd humanized, and customer relationships strengthened.
Actively Engage with Social Customer Service
Consumers use social media as a direct, and public feedback mechanism, which includes singing a company’s praises, and unfortunately airing grievances. Social media has completely flipped the way brands interact with customers. Customer service lines no longer ring off the hook when a crisis strikes, but instead social media mentions flare up. Marketers should invest in transforming their social to also cope with customer service, so that their businesses prepared for all ranges of crises. According to research performed by Payfirma, 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company altogether after a poor customer experience.
Marketing teams need to be prepared to provide exceptional customer service via social media to capitalize on this new retention opportunity. This is one of the social media trends that can make or break a company. Marketers should create a course of action for negative social media interactions and find situations where they can win back and delight customers! This personifies brands and fosters a better relationship between the consumer and the company. But be careful! Social media can be a dangerous place as this disastrous customer service experience shows, where a brand’s reputation took a hit thanks to a disgruntled social media manager.
Don’t Knock Facebook
Facebook is still the by-and-large social media platform leader for B2C e-commerce marketers, having invested big in the social media algorithm trend. As mentioned earlier, their social media feed algorithm takes into account the browsing patterns of users and adjusts what appears on their feeds accordingly.
According to this article by MarketingProfs, 96% of B2C marketers said their business used Facebook as a marketing tool. Of this group, 66% of B2C marketers reported that Facebook is the most important social media platform for their business, with 87% of B2C marketers using Facebook’s paid ads. Facebook is clearly here to stay and should not be ignored, so Marketers should ramp up their efforts by posting engaging photos and graphics.
Video, Video, Video
Another prediction from our 2015 post was video. Video is the perfect example of the biggest trend we’re living in right now: RealityTV finally got real! Video is everywhere. In terms of this social media trend for businesses, showcasing authentic, script-free, unexpected, unpredictable reality. Meghan Litchfield, the Head of Global e-commerce at GoPro, quipped, “Telling great customer stories is much better coming from the customer instead of the brand.”
An excellent example of this kind of ground-up brand advocacy is the Apple “Shot on iPhone” video concept. Apple’s YouTube channel features a multitude of customer-shot videos, with some that have over a quarter of a million views. Beyond Apple’s own YouTube channel, users from around the globe have filmed themselves unboxing their new Apple products. These videos show genuine and script-free reactions, generating honest and meaningful PR for Apple – for free!
As you can see, social media trends have skyrocketed their way into dominating the remainder of 2016. Brands have to be on their toes if they want to keep up with the social media trends happening around them. By buying into these trends and revamping their social media efforts, they will be sure to dominate this crucial upcoming holiday season.