social media marketingSocial media has taken the world by storm, and this has become a great advantage for businesses all over the world. Whether you own a small, local business in San Antonio or a multi-million dollar company serving an international market, it can take your marketing to the next level.

Social media marketing has never been so popular, and it is to become even more popular in 2016. As technologies shift and develop in time, new ways of social media and online marketing are always becoming available for both small and large businesses. Using social media platforms to engage with consumers has become one of the biggest ways for companies to gain customers and expand their establishments. Whether your trying to build your own audience or you use a social media marketing expert, your business will benefit and grow using social media marketing.

Real-Time Engagement

Real-time engagement is something that social media thrives on, but as it has become more popular, the window for responses has grown smaller. Twitter users who contact brands expect a response and the majority of them want it in less than an hour.

If a business is on a social media platform, then they are expected to keep up with their social media pages. Social media is huge, and it just keeps growing, more and more people are joining these platforms every day. This year, your marketing expert will need to be able to respond quickly to any customer queries.

Live Streaming Video

Live streaming video is going to be the new big thing for social media marketing. Apps such as Snapchat, Meerkat, and Periscope have helped to make live streaming video popular, and consumers love it. Live stream video lets customers have an insight and a more authentic outlook on a business; it’s a much more intimate communication between the customer and the brand.

The apps to use:

Snapchat: Snapchat is available on iOS and Android. Among 18-34-year-olds, it’s the third most popular social app.

Meerkat: Meerkat is available on Android and iOS, but only available in one language; English. There are two million users registered and over 100,000 live videos are streamed.

Periscope: Periscope is owned by Twitter and is available on both iOS and Android. Every day there is around 40 years worth of live video watched, and there are around 2 million users active daily. It’s also available in 25 different languages.

Social Commerce

Social media plays a crucial role in engaging customers, and engaged customers mean better sales for a business. In 2014, $3.3 billion sales were tracked back to social media and that was just in the US. It has even been found out through research that social media sites have more influence on shoppers’ buying than the retail websites. Due to this information, more commerce-focused features were created for marketers and advertisers. Here are just some examples:

– Twitter created a ‘Buy Now’ button.
– Youtube added Ads to videos.
– Facebook also added Ads for users to see.
– Pinterest introduced Buyable Pins.

For 2016, businesses should do some research into how they can combine some of these features into their social media pages.

Search Engine Optimization

Content is still the main factor when it comes to social media. The mediums are developing in many different ways, for example throughout 2015 there was a big transfer from text to media. Since this shift has happened, more big and small businesses are developing and altering the ways in which they can get their content viewed. This means the advertising costs are on the rise and optimization of existing content is at a very high demand.

Social content is also becoming a lot more evident in search results. Google has deals with Facebook and Twitter where content from these sights will be a lot higher up on search results. Consumers these days are highly influenced by online reviews and comments. Businesses should take advantage of hashtags and keywords when it comes to Facebook posts, Tweets, etc.

Mobile First

Most social media users access platforms through their mobile phones. If a business doesn’t have an app or a mobile-friendly site, then they are very behind. The majority of internet users now own smartphones, and they are never without them, so businesses should make sure that consumers can access their website on a mobile site or on an app.

Data-Driven Decisions

Data is a big part of social media success, but in 2016, it’s going to start to play an even more significant role. Marketers now have so much data on consumer preferences and this information helps businesses to build a stronger loyalty with customers and can help with personalized messages focused on the customers’ preferences. This, in turn, helps to increase sales.

When consumers are getting married, buying a new house or having a baby, their purchasing habits can often increase. If businesses can determine when consumers are going through these events, then they can send an advertisement that is suitable for those users, potentially resulting in earning the loyalty of those customers. Brands can create social media content to target people who are more likely to make a purchase from them.

Social Media Analytics

Mass-target approaches are not so popular these days; instead, businesses are focusing on personalized, data-driven marketing. Data-driven decisions shouldn’t be based on how many followers a business has or how many likes they receive on their posts.

To be successful, companies need to keep the right balance between relationship building and the more analytic side of things. There are a variety of social media management platform such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and BuzzBundle which helps businesses to communicate through publishing, engagement and analytics. They provide the ability to integrate with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others. A business can find out what is trending, look at their team’s performance, and use this information to create personalized experiences for their customers.

Consumer Influences

Social media has given the chance for everyday consumers, often bloggers, to build a large follower base. They can promote businesses by posting images of their purchases and due to their large amount of followers, influence others to buy these products.

For businesses in 2016, it’s important that they look back over their previous social media marketing strategies. This will help them to figure out what has worked best in the past and what new social media marketing strategies they bring into play. As social media keeps growing, there are going to be greater and greater changes for businesses.