What Will Happen In Social Media In 2016?

by Graham Day December 11, 2015
December 11, 2015

2016Believe it or not, 2016 is almost here! Scary, right?


You probably already know that, because you’re probably still wading your way through 2016 planning meetings and numerous budget spreadsheets to work out what your marketing plan for the next 12 months is going to look like (well done you if you’ve already finished it off and can smugly see out what’s left of 2015 with your feet up).


But, how much thought have you given to what changes are on the horizon for the social media landscape? Here are my predictions for some of what you should expect to see in 2016.


BYE BYE ORGANIC REACH


It’s been coming, but 2016 looks like the final death knell is ringing for organic reach on Facebook. The number of people that see each post has plummeted from an already low level in the last month or so with many pages now seeing just 1-2% organic reach. At that level, it’s already a big concern – on a page with 30,000 fans we’re reaching about 150 people even on posts with above average engagement rates. In 2016, you need to make plans for what happens when organic reach is gone.


LESS POSTING, MORE QUALITY


With organic reach declining to near zero, then promoted content is essential. If you’re posting every day, you’re not going to want to pay to promote every one of those posts. But what’s the point in creating content, and spending your budget on creating that content, that only a handful of people will see?


Brands will take different approaches to this, but I think we’ll see a lot of brands significantly cut down on the amount of content they’re putting out there, instead focusing budget and effort on bigger pieces that will have more budget behind them.


FACEBOOK TABS 2.0


It’s the return of the Facebook tab! Well, kinda… Remember a few years ago, when every brand page had a Facebook tab that either let you browse their products through Facebook, find out contact details, and in general gave you the information you needed without leaving Facebook? Well, it seems Facebook is somewhat revisiting that strategy, with the rise of Instant Articles and now Canvas as an extended ad platform – all designed to house content within Facebook so the user doesn’t need to leave the app.


It’s a smart idea from Facebook – personally I’d never noticed much problem with the time it takes to load a link from Facebook, but now the more companies that use Instant Articles, the more obvious a slow loading external website is, which in turn encourages more people to use Instant Articles!


Be warned on this though – Facebook Tabs were a useful feature at the time and a lot of companies used them heavily, until they became irrelevant very suddenly due to mobile usage and changes to Facebook’s layout.


PLETHORA OF NEW INSTAGRAM FEATURES


With Instagram advertising launching to the masses in 2015, expect this to grow a lot in 2016. It took them a long time to roll out advertising to everyone, but now it’s out there it doesn’t seem like there’s been too much backlash. Expect Instagram advertising to develop rapidly in 2016, as I’m sure they’ll be looking to roll out more of Facebook’s advertising options to Instagram, as well as developing new ad products specifically for the platform.


LIVE STREAM EVERYTHING!


Periscope and Meerkat came along in 2015 and gave everyone the power to live stream from their own mobile. Both platforms have already been hugely popular, but with Facebook Live coming soon to everyone then live streaming will spin into hyperdrive in 2016 – hopefully for more interesting uses than the “what’s in my fridge” craze.


BBC’s Match of the Day has been using Facebook Live during the latest football season to preview the always debated running order for that night’s show (and I love to hear that Leicester City are on first again!) and I think we’ll see a lot more brands using it for this kind of behind the scenes access – as well as consumers sharing their experiences.


Where else will we see Live Streaming? It could be a great feature for LinkedIn – we’d love to live stream our HPS Masterclasses for example.


AND WHAT ABOUT TWITTER?


2016 is an interesting year for Twitter – they’re losing a lot to Facebook in the advertising war as right now the advertising options just don’t seem to compete. Will this cause brands to lose interest in the platform in 2016? Or will brands take to Twitter in search of organic reach once it’s died out on Facebook?


Alongside all this, no doubt a new social network will pop up out of nowhere and grab everyone’s attention, at least for a little while, and I’m sure the big players will pop up with some surprises too.


What do you expect or hope to see change in social media during 2016? We’d love to hear your thoughts – send us a tweet @TheHPSGroup.

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