Our social media 2016 wish list

When you’re deep in the trenches of social media marketing, your wish list is practical: you long for the hands-on help that makes day to day life easier. If you’re a LinkedIn devotee, you may find yourself wishing that applying backgrounds to LinkedIn groups was possible, or that its newsfeed was searchable. For some, it’s a newfound “dislike” of Twitter’s new heart icon over the star so long used to “favourite” great tweets, and for others, it’s wishing that Instagram would just let you easily tag people who’ve commented on your photos.

Outside of the trenches however, I have a different wish list that’s getting longer day by day. Social media is evolving rapidly, but possibly the biggest bugbear marketers experience is that users’ attitudes toward social media are not evolving quite as quickly.

In 2016, here are five trends that I’d like to see move in to the mainstream.

The social savvy B2B C-Suite

As an agency, we often get asked how B2B companies can better leverage social media. Top of our wish list is to get the C-suite using social. The reason for this is simple: once the leadership team is sharing the company news and interacting on social media, the rest of the company will follow suit.

B2B is trailing behind B2C when it comes to this sort of company-wide use of social media to help spread the company word. We’re lucky to be dealing with some truly social savvy CEOs who are using LinkedIn and Twitter to really engage with influencers and prospects, but in 2016 we’d love to see more examples of the C-suite making better use of the channels and to really begin to interact and distribute company news and achievements.

Remember, journalists and analysts are great active users of social media, and they like nothing more than to see a socially active CEO. A social CEO can really help grow a niche community as well. Communities driven by the likes of CleverTouch are doing a great job of connecting the marketing automation community, while players like Preservica are bringing together the likes of archivists and corporates.

The Rise of the Practical SoMe Marketer

Social media is often seen as an “extra” layer of marketing and one not often allocated any budget. This is where we are seeing B2B marketers get down to using really practical tools that show obvious value. Possibly one of the best tools we’ve seen recently are Twitter’s new polls, which allow marketers an easy platform with which to ask relevant questions so that people can weigh in on topics they care about.

Given how costly market research can be, we’re pleased to see that savvy B2B marketers are making real use of the polls, and are able to show their companies easily collected market intelligence they offer. Twitter polls are set to become one of the most useful tools of 2016, and we hope to see more and more marketers make use of them. 

Let’s get visual

We’ve been told time and time again that image based social media posts get shared much more frequently than those that rely on text only. There has been a good effort across the board to start using more images in social media, but we’d love it if 2016 was the year that people started sharing more images and less text.

According to Buffer, (one of our favourite social media sharing tools) tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without, which should be all the evidence you need to start including images in nearly every tweet. In 2016, you may want to think about quality over quantity, spending more time constructing posts with images as opposed to composed more frequent text based posts.

Short on images? The new year is a great time to look in to some of the great free tools that are available to marketers. Top of the list is Canva, a standalone traditional app as well as a browser-based application that lets users log in and access hundreds of templates to create images for blogs, Twitter/Facebook backgrounds, presentation slides and basically any other type of diagram that you can think of. There are hundreds of free images that you can use to get you started, or you can import your own images from your computer or Facebook.

Marketing Automation Magic

A growing number of B2B firms have a marketing automation system in place, but what we’d really love to see in 2016 is more of these organisations use the built in social media creation and analysis tools these platforms feature.

When you create social media posts from within your marketing automation platform, you’re able to track these and to get insight as to which identified prospects are reading and engaging with your posts. This is great intelligence to have, and all it takes is a little effort to route your social media campaigns through your MA system. We’ve been really pleased to see over the past few years several examples where clients have learned more from their social media efforts via MA than they would have otherwise, and it would be great to see more B2B companies leveraging the power of their MA platforms to make social media interaction a more meaningful stream of marketing intelligence.

An End to Blunders

Marketers are not exempt from mishaps and miscommunications at work, but we hope they don’t filter down to social media quite as much in 2016! This past year has seen its fair share of horrific hashtags and spell checking gone wrong, with both Hilary Clinton’s “powered by pizza” campaign going terribly wrong and the #yourTaxi campaign on Twitter showing that you really need to know who you’re up against when you confront Uber!

Here’s to 2016

Whether you’re in the social media trenches or part of a team that is advising clients on social media strategy for 2016, we hope you’ve found these tips useful and interesting.

Here’s to 2016 being a great year where social media continues to help you gain greater insight into your audience, and to moving social media higher up the corporate agenda using the ever-increasing toolkit available.