Article

Ben Hollom
Ben Hollom 16 August 2016

The State Of Social Media In 2016

Social media will always keep us on our toes. We kind of like it that way, although it can be frustrating for brands. Just as you think you’ve got it pinned down, the goalposts are moved, requiring you to adapt your approach.

If you don’t give social media marketing due time and thought, you can quickly find your practices out-of-date and your posts bereft of responses.

It’s one of the reasons brands choose to outsource their social media marketing to specialists, whose job it is to stay on top of the trends and changes in user behaviour.

At the moment, there are six specific trends forcing brands to adapt their social media practices, according to marketing guru Jayson DeMers, who writes for Forbes.

1. Diminishing organic reach

Brands have not been best pleased with Facebook of late, over its decision to decrease the organic reach companies and organisations are able to achieve on the network.

We’re a little more pragmatic about it than most. It’s hard to criticise Facebook for ensuring that individual users get to see the content they log in to see – that being content from their friends.

That doesn’t make reading that Facebook’s latest algorithm resulted in publishers reaching 42% fewer people any easier, but we now know that we have to pay for the privilege of ensuring our content is being received.

2. In-the-moment favouritism

I’ll admit it, I was one of the people who said “live streaming video on social? I’m not sure about that” when Periscope and Meerkat first came on the scene. However, it looks like it might just take off, you know.

While it’s still somewhat rare to see a brand use Periscope and Facebook Live as part of their social media campaign, there are signs that it won’t be long before we’re all using the live-streaming apps for the purpose of marketing.

Cast your minds back to the start of the year, when 50,000 people tuned in to Periscope to watch a puddle of water in Newcastle. Users are excited by in-the-moment content, which necessitates being shared with friends and followers immediately.

3. Less content, higher quality

We’ve long championed quality over quantity when it comes to social posts, wary not to bombard users with more content than they can cope with. Reply to tweets until your heart’s content, but avoid re-sharing previous content too often.

With Twitter on something of a downward spiral in terms of users, and many transitioning across to Instagram instead, it suggests people prefer it when their social timelines are not quite so crowded. In their minds too, it seems that less is more.

4. More varied reactions

At the start of the year, users on Facebook were still only able to “like” content – but it wasn’t always fitting of how people were genuinely reacting to the content they were viewing.

Now, however, users can hit “sad” or “angry” after reading a post on Facebook, in addition to “like”.

Naturally, this has prompted posters to find new ways to engage. Brands are no longer worried about posting a piece of content that is difficult to “like”, with users able to react accordingly based on the tone of the content. While research suggests that users are still most likely to hit “like” – it’s what they’ve become accustomed to, after all – there is now greater scope for more real reactions.

5. Shorter, faster exchanges

Writing an extended response on a mobile device is still a somewhat laborious task – it’s much easier to get straight to the point, using emojis and visual content to keeps things fluid.

Ending a post with a question, then, will probably prove fruitless, unless users can respond in a short, sharp fashion, ideally with emojis, visuals or video. You just need to look at the responses to any tweet from a Premier League football club for evidence of this – users are using GIFS, in particular, like they just been invented.

Brands, therefore, are tasked with posting social content that is conducive to shorter, faster and more concise conversations.

6. Dying clickbait

We’re delighted to see that clickbait-style articles – those pieces which rarely live up to their headlines – are seeing significantly lower rates of success and engagement these days.

Too many times users have been burned from clicking on an article that promised so much, but delivered so little. If you’re going to use a bold, promise-the-world headline, you’ve got to make sure the content itself lives up to expectations.

If it doesn’t, your followers will not bother clicking through to your website the next time you try to tempt them in.

Are these trends representative of your social media efforts? If not, you’d be wise to arrange a strategy meeting in quick-time!

Original Article

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