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The Trends That Deserve Your Social Media Dollars in 2016

2016 promises to be an exciting year for brands and social.

2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide

Areas for both testing and budget spend are numerous. We have surveyed the landscape, and we present you with some hot spots to consider.

Livecasting Video Goes Mainstream

Periscope, acquired by Twitter and launched less than a year ago, is the most popular livecasting app so far. It has great promise as a live video platform and is starting to be used by brands. Demonstrating the power of partnership for brands with the burgeoning social network, Periscope’s CEO Kavyon Beykpour announced, “BMW literally launched a car on Periscope.”

Both citizen and major news outlets will embrace livecasting this year. When an important event happens, Beykpour also noted that people who typically look to Twitter and other social media outlets first are now following along on Periscope, too:

When the tragic events in Paris happened, the first thing I did was just zoom into Paris, and you saw hundreds if not thousands of broadcasts from all around the city.

Periscope has become a primary video source for users seeking information on both news events and brands. Periscope’s real-time appeal will only deepen brand and user interest in 2016.

Virtual Reality Is Here 

2016 could be the year for VR and social. With pre-orders being taken for the Oculus Rift from the lucky few brands that have the scratch post-holidays and can beat the pack before the website crashes (again), we may see some very interesting applications soon after the delivery date of March 28 (though preorders are open now).

Oculus Rift is expected to experience primary adoption with gamers, but trailblazing marketers will use the headset to develop content for Facebook, which is all but a given, and possibly some interesting livecasting of events.

For instance, imagine participating in an enhanced Periscope of a concert or sporting event with a Rift. Also, we can expect to see more experiments from the likes of VR early-adopters, such as Sky News and The New York Times.

Longform Content Makes a Comeback

LinkedIn Pulse, Facebook and now Twitter are encouraging longer format blog-type posts on their respective platforms. A Tweet could be displayed in the normal 140-character format, but also include a call-to-action link which reveals the full text in your timeline. Keeping users on-site and for longer time periods can be facilitated by lengthier, high-quality content.

Medium is also a great distribution platform for your content marketing efforts. More than just another blogging site, it is easy to use and has a clean, modern design. John Battelle expects 2016 to be Medium’s “breakout year,” with the addition of a way to monetize the platform for publishers.

Social Commerce Buy Buttons Catch On

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram all rolled out “buy” buttons in 2015. Social media users want them, and retailers are expecting an increase in 2016 revenues.

In fact, 34 percent of those surveyed expect to see a rise in this year attributed to social. But so far, only between 9 and 14 percent of users want to use them, depending on the social network.


Shoppers still seem to prefer buying from an e-commerce store than within their newsfeeds. Eventually we could see the advent of the first purely social store, but until then this looks like more of a test than an institution.

Wearable Tech Proliferates with Social

Apple Watch and Fitbit are two leading examples of the potential for social media to integrate with wearables. For now, watered-down versions of the leading social networks are available via apps for the Watch. A newly-unveiled Fitbit device called Blaze is set to compete with Apple, adding watch-like capabilities at a lower price point. It is compatible with Windows, iOS, and Android.

More apps and new devices are expected this year. Uber’s Andrew Chen is “Waiting for the Watch-first killer app.” This will likely be an app that takes advantage of the unique features of a wearable, and goes beyond notifications. Maybe an entirely new platform will emerge, or a livecasting app with the addition of a camera.

Start experimenting with at least one of the five trends covered here, and get the jump on your competition now. Brands that take the initiative and perform tests in these areas will have a leg up in 2016 and beyond.

If you want still more social and digital marketing predictions for 2016, download the guide below for one-of-a-kind insight.

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2016 Social + Digital Marketing Predictions


Peter Trapasso

Peter Trapasso is a social media consultant specializing in social media management, content curation, and community.

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