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5 Ways to Make Big Bets on Social in 2016

2016 Social + Digital Marketing Predictions

You want to think outside the box in 2016 for your brand on social, but you're not clear on where you should focus that bold energy. So you came here. So you came to the right place. We've scanned the social horizon and uncovered the big bets you should consider investing in this year -- and are worth requesting extra budget for.

1. Target Better

This means giving yourself the gift of quality social analytics, and building the in-house resources (whether that means a web developer, paid media manager, digital analyst, or another role entirely) to execute on what you learn about targeting for your ideal audience -- not just according to marketing persona, but also according to trend.

Want an example of a brand actually doing this? Time Inc. is leading the way by developing a product for its advertisers to leverage trending social media content. The product is called "Real Time," and provides advertisers “100 percent share of voice on trending content across Time Inc.’s domestic Web sites in addition to integration within the social promotion." "Real Time":

  • Tracks trending content
  • Re-targets that content to Time Inc.'s most active social audiences
  • Pushes out promotional units from Time Inc.'s own social platforms to “maximize further user engagement” ( key in attracting ad dollars.)

Time Inc. has built “dozens of custom content segments,” including beauty, food, and travel content. Advertisers can tap into these lifestyle groups to customize or choose their own audience segments.

Your brand might not have the budget and infrastructure to put a large-scale system like this one into place, but you can begin the first step: running the all-important analytics to find out what's trending, who your most active social audiences are, how to maximize user engagement, and how to break down your social audiences into vertical segments.

2. "Force" a Holistic View of Media Efforts

Make a big bet in 2016 by ending the silo-ing. We know from our 2015 survey of social marketers that measuring ROI and bridging the gap between departments which should be in sync when it comes to campaigns are the primary challenges which social marketers face, and 2016 is the year to end this madness.

Get the teams that matter together however you can, whether it's organizing a happy hour or calling an official meeting, and show them the benefits of staying in sync on campaigns when it comes to budget and brand voice. Mega agency Ogilvy put it this way, and we know you all feel similar pain:

The media landscape over the past 5 years has become fragmented, with a greater number of media outlets in which to communicate a brand message. This has created a huge opportunity for marketers to harness different types of channels to speak to consumers at different moments. But this has also created a challenge: how to retain a consistent and clear message across multiple media channels. I predict that marketers will have to work harder to create messages and marketing campaigns that work across the fragmented media landscape in order to communicate a clear brand positioning and message to consumers.

This is the year that your brand must get on the same page at all costs -- because the rewards are so great.


3. Invest in Understanding Your Purchase Path

The DataRank blog just had a great post about this. Invest the time and resources in understanding your purchase path before you plan your next campaign and pray that it hits right. Yes, this means money and training and maybe even a hire request for an analyst -- but it also means a level of insight into your brand and your target audience that you've never experienced before.

It is important for businesses to know the strengths and weaknesses of their consumers path to purchasing their products so that they can improve on steps where consumers are not progressing.

By understanding this cycle before you do anything else -- and inserting the necessary analytics to know where your brand's process and campaigns are broken -- you might be hit with a rude awakening, but you'll also make significant headway in 2016 towards slimming the distance between spark of interest and dollars on the table.

4. Buy the Gadgets

Of course, you shouldn't be throwing money in the garbage. But if you want your brand to make high-quality video in 2016, buy a high-quality video camera. This one's my personal favorite -- you can edit material right on the device and it's not even that expensive.

If you want your brand to partner with an influencer in 2016, consider hiring an agency so you find the exact right for your brand. If you want your brand to take down one of its competitors specifically, make sure you have the analytics solution which will give you the edge. Remember that old adage, you've got to spend money to make money? Yup. Now's the time.

5. Try Out Facebook Live (And Other New Stuff)

Try something new. Take (informed) risks. This can mean experimenting with Facebook Live (video should definitely be on your planning schedule this year, whether you plan to invest in Facebook Live or not).

Looking for more ideas about how to think (and plan) big in 2016? Download our practical guide to building out your social media calendar below.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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