If you’re just now deciding whether or not to start a new social media marketing strategy, make sure you catch up on the latest social media news and updates before you start planning for the New Year. Check out our 2015 year in review to see the overarching social media trends that defined the year!
2015 was a big year for video. With live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope launching early in the year, other networks worked hard to integrate those capabilities or create their own version (see Facebook’s Live product for public figures). In late June, Facebook announced that it will take into account video actions such as turning on sound or playing the video in full screen to prioritize videos in the News Feed. Pinterest even took steps to join the video game, though not quite as far as Facebook; user testing showed that Pinterest users found auto-play ads interruptive, so instead they released animated Cinematic Pins to take advantage of the full-motion trend.
What this means for you: Make it a priority to create more video in 2016. Statistics show that 73% of all U.S. adults are more likely to purchase a product or service after watching an online video. Don’t let your wedding business fall behind – use our infographic to learn the six keys to video marketing success from our video partner, Animoto, so your business can start creating and sharing more videos.
After releasing a few minor updates to the balance of friends and pages in April, Facebook announced in July that would be giving users more control over their News Feeds by allowing users to select friends and pages they’d like to see first. By allowing users to self-select what they’re most interested in, Facebook can serve up more personal and relevant content. In an effort to get more men using the female-dominated social network, Pinterest followed suit on personalization by updating its internal search feature to display personalized results based on users’ gender selections.
When Twitter launched audience insights in May of this year, advertisers gained access to additional targeting methods for reaching demographic groups. In July, the network began to allow businesses to apply those demographics to their ad campaigns and tailored audiences. A new persona targeting feature was also added to enable brands to target shorthand categories of audiences, including Millennials and small businesses.
What this means for you: Social media is getting closer and closer to becoming a one-to-one channel, where your business can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time in their decision-making process. Think about how you can segment your audience to start taking advantage of these new features. Perhaps you know that couples tend to book you within the same time frame during the planning process, or that certain regions/cities tend to book one of your services over others. Use whatever data you have to deliver more personalization marketing messages!
Social advertising exploded in 2015. All of the big networks released new advertising offerings or made significant updates this year, which only fueled the popularity of social advertising. Advanced targeting options and improved conversion tracking played a big part in the rising adoption rates, but practical updates like Facebook Product Ads and Pinterest’s engagement and click-based ad products helped pave the way for more credibility.
In August, Twitter expanded its platform to run advertisements on other publisher sites and apps and added new ad objectives and ad formats to help advertisers accomplish a variety of goals across the Twitter Audience Platform. Then in September, Instagram announced that it would begin offering self-service advertising options to any brand across 30 countries. Offered through Facebook’s ad platform, Instagram self-service ads allow businesses to drive clicks to their website, app installs, or video views.
What this means for you: Social media advertising is only getting more sophisticated, so dedicate time in the off-season to look into your options. Facebook ads are a great place to start, since required budgets start very low, but consider where you think your audience is spending the most time and try creating ads on that platform. You may find that all your prospects are finding you on Instagram, or maybe they’re heavy Twitter users who are constantly engaging with the platform. Learn more about your social advertising options from WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly’s post in Marketing Land.
Discovery and search
Another big trend in social media this year was to make it easier than ever to discover other people and businesses through the networks themselves. Instagram updated its Explore tab to include Places Search, where users can view images by other users from any location they want. Trending tags and trending places suggest popular pictures for users in real-time. Shortly after, the mobile-based network also added search capabilities to its desktop experience so that users could search hashtags, users, and locations on any device.
Pinterest updated its mobile experience to highlight more recent pins and make your content easier to find. The new profile design highlights the user’s six more recent pins, and it also added the ability to sort pins alphabetically or by topic so that users can easily find their products and projects for later use. Then in October, Twitter released a new responsive grid display which you can use to highlight multiple tweets at once in an immersive experience that goes beyond a stacked layout of tweets – making it easier for users to see the content they’re looking for.
What this means for you: Social networks are no longer the end point in a user’s discovery journey – they’re now the beginning! A bride or groom interacting with their friends on social media now has more opportunity than ever to discover your business and learn more about it. And with 74% of internet users active on social media and 89% between the ages of 18-29, there’s little doubt that your target demographic is waiting! Resolve to spend more time in 2016 optimizing your social networks to put your best foot forward for prospects you may not even be aware of yet.
Going beyond social…
It’s official: Social media has gone beyond social. You can now use the social network of your choice to do a variety of online actions, including activities related to making purchases and navigation. Following the backlash from users after Facebook separated its core app from its messaging functionality in 2014, the network was able to turn the public’s perception around. Facebook announced early this year that its Messenger app now allows users to tie their debit cards to their Facebook accounts in order to send money to peers through messaging. Then, more recently, Facebook introduced the ability to order transportation via Uber directly through the Messenger app, with more transportation services to come in 2016.
Pinterest released two products this year that integrate outside online activities. First was the release of Buyable Pins in June, which allow users to see prices, select details about the product (like color), and purchase products with one tap of a button without clicking through to the retailer’s site. Second was the release of updated Place Pins in October, when the social network announced its plan to add more location information like a map preview, address, phone number, and hours of operation to Place Pins so that users operating the network from their phones will be able to take action without switching to a new app (like Google Maps, for instance).
Twitter also took a page out of Pinterest’s book this year with Product Pages and Collections. These new features include multiple tweets from a brand, but they also have basic product information and the ability to actually purchase those products. Collections look like normal tweets with multiple images, but when a user opens it they get more information and more images which all link to actual product pages.
What this means for you: Your social audience no longer needs to click through to your website to contact you, learn more about your business, or actually make a purchase – they can do it all through their favorite social network. It’s more important than ever that your business information on social media is accurate and persuasive! Spend some time looking through your profile options to see if there’s anything you could be doing better to bring potential customers to you.