Ready for one last social media prognostication for 2016? (Yes I know it's mid-January 2016, but that's just how I roll. *sunglasses drop in slowly over eyes*)
Good, because there are social media trends that are starting and 2016 will see many changes in the landscape. And the sooner you see them, the sooner you'll be ahead of everyone else. And topicality is what social media is all about, right?
- Social Media is now just media. This should not be a big revelation because to be honest, it has always been just another form of communications it's just that the terms public relations, marketing, and advertising were already taken. When you launch a new product, or in this case, a new medium, you need to simply explain what it is, how it differs with similar products, and list its benefits. At risk of sounding like a famous premature declaration let me just say: Mission Accomplished.
The change has been gradual but more and more media outlets are avoiding the term signifying social media is part of the collective consciousness. The terms "Like Us on" or "Follow us on" have been replaced by the relevant social media badge. Auto companies just program it into their software whether you Tweet or not. Social media is no longer an option, and resistance seems futile.
- Business & Facebook part ways. If your business had a relationship status on Facebook it would most likely read: "It's Complicated". Not me though. I love Facebook, have written a few columns defending it, and lately with my lack of Tweets and Instagram posts we've been pretty monogamous. But for many businesses, it's not Facebook, it's them.
When social media first came around I think one of the most common sentences I heard by company execs was "I don't know what Facebook is, but we need one." So people scrambled to create company pages so they would be indexed on Google. New add-in apps were popping up like tabs for coupons and surveys and polls and -- oh wait. Facebook killed all those. Yes because it was cannibalizing on its plans for Facebook Ads.
Today, there are several companies doing quite well generating revenues on Facebook. But I suspect most are not, because the once must destination has lost its allure for buyers. Plus many products and services are just not suited for the social networking site. As more and more people use ad blockers, the less of a tool it becomes. In short, if people want to find you, they want your website, not your Facebook web page.
What your company page on Facebook is good for is posting videos and articles that can go viral. But that requires thought and planning, which brings us to...
- Social Media management will move in-house. As a person who offers outsourced social media as one of his services, file this one under "Cuts Off Nose to Spite Face" but it is what it is. This third trend is a natural outcome based on the first two.
Social Media management is frankly too important to outsource anymore. Let's be honest, when social media just meant "Say something the millennials will like on Facebook and Twitter," you didn't need to outsource it.
But as more and more companies learned (or better, feared) the power of social media they outsourced it. Hmm. I'm already starting to feel reminiscent with the lack of my nose. OK I suppose you don't need to bring your social media in-house, but make sure you outsource it to those who specialize in it.
Since social media is just media, it needs to come under the marketing umbrella. It requires setting and adhering to strategies, plans and integrated campaigns that are monitored, adjusted, and leveraged like any other. Do this and you'll be ahead of the game. Stay tuned for more!
Follow Frank Bocchino, a digital marketer who helps brands use strategic digital marketing tactics to exceed their business, and marketing communications goals using the latest tools for marketing automation, SEO, and social media.
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