Thank me later for getting you started on this 5 months ahead of time!
A very popular, unattributable internet quote says: "Facebook is for the people you used to know, LinkedIn is for the people you know now, and Twitter is for the people you want to know". In this statement lies a very important trait of social media outlets: You need to know the network you want to promote your message on, because part of that knowledge includes having an understanding of the target audience that exists there!
A true list of everything you should be thinking about in your Social Media Marketing Plan for 2016 could fill a book, but for brevity’s sake, I’ve provided 16 quick-and-dirty things you should know about social media (by topic) as you start gearing up for the New Year:
- Websites & Blogs: As you move forward, be sure to make your website/blog the focal point of your Social Media Marketing activities. Why? Because at the end of the day, this is something you own outright, as opposed to social platforms whose Terms of Service pretty much give them the right to giveth and taketh away on their own whims (with or without notice).
- Facebook: Facebook is looking to integrate video better into its platform and to optimize the mobile experience (given that most people now access The Web via a mobile device). As they also seek to make money (as most businesses do), be on the lookout for a further lockdown on the ways that you can access folks for free.
- Twitter: Over 300,000,000 users are tweeting half a billion tweets a day in order to share information and ideas instantly, without geographic barriers. The platform is continually changing, and they’re working to do what they can to enhance their user’s experience with rich media (i.e. visual content).
- LinkedIn: Still the more professional of the “social networks”, LinkedIn is looking to keep its users engaged and further solidify themselves as the go-to network for professional and career opportunities. You’ll continue to see more use of Company Pages and Sponsored Updates as people figure out how best to use this network to reach their target audience.
- YouTube: Without question, YouTube is THE video sharing website garnering billions of views per day and 300 hours of video uploaded every minute! The average person that visits YouTube spends between 15-40 minutes there, so this is a great way to create content in another medium and increase the likelihood of expanding your audience.
- Podcasting: The average daily commute in the U.S. is 26 minutes, and most people that belong to a gym (and visit it) spend at least 2 hours there a week. All those people need something to listen to; Why not your podcast? A recent survey showed that podcasting is only being used by 10% of marketers, and this presents an opportunity, especially as people look for ways to differentiate themselves in other crowded digital spaces.
- E-Newsletters & Email Marketing: Similar to your website and blog, your email marketing mailing list database is something you own and have hopefully cultivated earnestly over the years, so it’s something you can use to your advantage to continually enhance your relationship with your stakeholders. Don’t believe what anyone says if they’ve told you “email is dead”.
- Google+ (or whatever new iteration it takes over the next few months): Google’s social network offering has been a point of contention pretty much since it debuted. Both novices and knowledgeable folks have debated the relevance of Google in the social realm, and the only thing that’s clear: Google isn’t going anywhere. They’ve got too much information on me (and you) to just go silently into the night and not find a way to capitalize it. For this reason, I implore you: Don’t count Google out, and don’t take your eye of whatever they’re doing!
- Instagram: You have to love Instagram as the “perfect marriage” of Facebook’s social ties and Twitter’s active mobile-friendly, visually stunning style! Those with a need to deliver “real-time” photo or short video-based messages can easily find a home here.
- Pinterest: Choosey moms choose Pinterest! Ok, it’s more than just moms; This pinboard-style photo-sharing website and mobile app lets users create theme-based image collections surrounding interests, hobbies, and events. And people that use Pinterest, LOVE IT! If you’ve got a message that can be articulated into a collage-style image board, then this is your new place!
- Tumblr: Tumblr lets users post text, images, videos, links, and audio to their tumblelog (a short-form blog), and is very popular among the under 35 crowd. From a social marketing standpoint, one of the best things about Tumblr is that content there is often the catalyst for things that go viral! Remember The Dress That Broke The Internet, or colloquially #ThatDress? It all started on Tumblr!
- SnapChat: With content intended to be temporary, SnapChat is really big among 13 – 34 year olds who believe their content magically goes away forever after their 10 second “snap” has expired. The company touts itself as the best way to reach users in the aforementioned age group, and they’ve recently introduced advertising that’s supposed to be game-changing and super-effective. We’ll see!
- Mobile Marketing (Users): Mobile marketing is such a huge topic, that you can’t really do it justice in a few brief remarks in a blog post – but I’ll try. I’ve broken it into three (3) parts, to make it easier to digest in such small blurbs. Mobile Marketing: Users – More than 60% of adults in the U.S. & Canada have a smartphone, many with more than one device. Android holds 52.4% of the marketshare, with Apple trailing at 42.6%, and Microsoft at 3.3%. Not sure how (if at all) Windows 10 will effect these numbers, but it’ll be interesting to watch this trend as 2016 gets underway!
- Mobile Marketing (Trends) – Users are going to be thinking mobile first, so you should design your webspaces with this mindset. Think about how voice search and handheld devices change the nature of how people will interact with your websites and social content, and work on the best ways to optimize this experience. Also, don’t forget to factor in the use of mobile payments and wearables, and keep your eye on The Internet of Things (IoT), because the Apple Watch and FitBits are only the tip of the iceberg!
- Mobile Marketing (Apps): Mobile Apps are cheaper to build than they once were, but more expensive to maintain in the long-run. However, if you’d like a mobile app for your brand, it continues to be a great way to engage your audience over a significant period of time. A mobile app can keep people coming back, and keep you in their minds for a long time to come.
- Location-Based Marketing: Location-Based Marketing (LBM) is an off-shoot of mobile marketing that certainly falls under its umbrella, however LBM’s strategy is based on a mobile device’s location. With the ability to target your audience based on the user’s location, you can provide a more personalized experience tailored to their personal preferences and traits. This means things like pushing location notification messages to nearby stakeholders, or providing turn-by-turn navigation instructions to guide visitors right to your location! Location-based marketing is a great bridge from “the digital world” into “the real world”, and the possibilities are endless!
Did you find this quick review helpful? Great! Over the next few weeks, I’ll elaborate on each of these topics more in-depth, but in the meantime, for your own edification, I would suggest checking out “The 2015 State of Social Marketing Report” by Kevin Shively over at Simply Measured and the “2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” from the Social Media Examiner.
Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to leave your comments below.