If you do a quick Google search right now for “2016 Social Media Trends,” you’ll find enough information to keep you reading until 2017. The lists, the tips and tricks, the four new updates you must know to conquer Snapchat in the New Year. We get it, things change. Over time, platforms’ potential and users’ expectations mold how marketers can get out our messages. But let’s just take a minute and examine this, “out with the old, in with the new” mentality. We’ve been doing this online branding thing for a while now and, despite many media updates, the central goal here hasn’t changed all that much. I’m not saying we shouldn’t keep an eye out for new tools and tactics- but I’d like to take a moment to focus on what we’re already doing well. Those tools and tactics we should make sure to expand upon in the New Year as opposed to leaving them in the dust with 2015.
Focus on the consumer
I know- this seems like relearning the alphabet once you’ve already conquered algebra. But think about it: one of the most central things we, as creators, have learned from our experience with social media marketing is the importance of focusing on the consumer. People don’t get on Facebook because they want to see your company’s ads. Instead, they’re logging in for entertainment, interaction, and distraction. So, when you’re crafting content for your feeds, you’re asking yourself “what do they want to see?” What will give consumers in your target market the entertainment, interaction, or distraction they’re looking for? Don’t be pushy with your branded material. Instead, humanize your brand online by becoming a personality that consumers can follow and interact with. Be interesting, make them care, then they might be more likely to connect with you as a brand.
Become part of important conversations
Whether it’s the presidential debates or Drake’s ridiculous dancing in the Hotline Bling video (but really, we can’t tell if he was being serious..,) there are always important conversations happening online. It may not always be easy to start conversations, but it’s easy to find out what’s important to your target, develop an understanding of why it’s important, and get to talking. Ask questions, be open, and learn from each opportunity. Your brand comes to light in the way you interact. Obviously, there are some sticky situations you might not want to stick your hands in- but you also can’t be the guy at the party who is awkwardly slapping his knee and looking around for approval because he doesn’t get the joke. There is a very fine line- it’s all about finding the balance.
There are a million ways you can optimize your social media content to best work for you. Okay, maybe not actually a million ways but there are quite a few. Even with all the new tools and tricks that have surface over the years, optimization is still key. First and foremost, you want to make sure that whatever strictly branded content you are putting out there on social media actually links back to your website or more information elsewhere. This way, those consumers you’ve already convinced to interact with you can turn into website hits and future buyers. Another important thing to remember in the world of optimization is that each social media site is different for a reason. You can’t post the exact same content to Twitter and Facebook, or to Instagram and Vine. Each of these platforms has its own set of regulations as well as a unique set of users. Optimize your images for fit and flow on a Facebook timeline versus Instagram, and don’t Tweet with a #MCM if you’re trying to reach 35 year old men (#duh).
Instead of thinking of all these skills we’ve learned over the years as old news, remember to keep them central to each campaign and each piece of content. We can continue to use and strengthen these skills in 2016 which will make us all more prepared for whatever new and crazy ideas the year has to throw at us. Stay savvy, friends.