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How to Start Your Social Marketing Plan for 2016

2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide

It can be tough to plan the new year’s strategy for your brand on social, weeding through all your great ideas and trending concepts or coming up with new ones if you’re feeling a tad depleted — but we’ve got a fine place to start right here.

When it comes to planning a social strategy, there are a lot of moving pieces. Start with what’s worked before.

Step 1: Take a Look Back

Before we look forward, let’s take a look back and find out which 2015 trends are going strong and which are on their way out.

Video Is Still the Most Popular Kid at the Party: As Mary Meeker reported in her annual 2015 Internet Trends Report, video consumption is growing steadily.

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Video consumption shows no sign of slowing, and will continue into 2015. Brands are beginning to understand that they have to use high-quality multimedia to cut through the social noise and grab attention.

Brands will continue to raise the bar on creativity as new technologies become available to them, debuting engagement-generating campaigns like Target’s spooky YouTube 360 video.

Speed from Ads to Buying Will Continue to Increase: Social networks like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter are continuing to bake stronger call-to-action buttons and conversion mechanisms into their products.

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This trend will only grow stronger as brands (especially retail and e-commerce brands) request a shorter distance between their social content and a purchase point for social users, and social networks will expand features to accommodate them.

Follower Count as Your Primary KPI Is So Over: Promoted Accounts on Twitter (where your account shows up as a suggested account to follow) have fallen by the wayside. This is symptomatic of a larger change: marketers have moved away from caring about follower count as a primary KPI, unless their business goals are directly tied to audience size. For instance, if you are a blogger who gets paid to wear clothes and post pictures on Instagram, then Instagram follower count still matters because that’s how you sell ads.

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Senior Marketing Manager of Paid Media at Simply Measured, Danie Pote

Follower count just isn’t as important anymore, so people are less willing to pay for followers because they’re finding more valuable areas to invest that ad spend in.

Step 2: Think About Fresh Trends

As with any new development, the key to success is testing and experimentation. Here are the fresh trends heating up in 2016, and some guidance on how your brand can harness them.

More Ad Options for B2B Marketers: In 2016, social ad platforms are going to get more focused on B2B. Twitter and Facebook are going to focus more on B2B ad products. B2B marketers will have more options that align with their business goals in 2016.

What Your Brand Can Try: If you’re a B2B marketer, experiment with new offerings from social networks in 2016, even if you haven’t been successful on that network in the past.

Remember that channels, platforms, and tactics that were unsuccessful for other or even most marketers might be your bread and butter. When you hear “X doesn’t work for B2B,” immediately add it to your list of things to test. A lot of “big wins” come from channels where there aren’t a lot of other B2B advertisers (more for you!).

Brands Will Have Expanded Reach with Facebook Search: Facebook’s new Search FYI leverages the over 1.5 billion searches per day and over 2 trillion posts in their index to help Facebook users find out what the world is saying about various topics. What does this mean in layman’s terms?

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What Your Brand Can Try: Just as we recommended in our 2015 planning guide when it came to taking advantage of Facebook Trending Topics, if you’re a B2B marketer, you can leverage Facebook’s expanded search feature by jumping on breaking news and giving your own brand’s spin on what people are talking about now.

Step 3: Find the Right Resources

Need resources like Twitter lists, email newsletters, and blogs you should be paying attention to? Check out our 2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide, which includes handy lists like this one.

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Looking to our industry’s thought leaders and LinkedIn groups (essentially, social marketing think tanks) is an invaluable way to stay abreast of the latest and greatest — and make sure your planning is on the right track.


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2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide


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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