This column is the fifth in an 11-part series on the Top Ten 2016 Marketing Trends. Check back for the remainder of the series and a deep dive into each of these trends.
With the New Year almost upon us, it's time to adjust your marketing strategy to propel your company's growth in 2016. Reflect on what worked and what didn't with your 2015 plan, and consider trends on the horizon that could further amplify your results.
One trend to consider is the next evolution of social media. For the last several years, we've seen at least a few dozen new social media platforms rise up quickly and then settle in as middle-of-the-road contenders -- no longer garnering attention but also not dying out. Did you know Myspace still exists?
An industry-wide shakeout began in 2015. Social sites are now either rising quickly enough in popularity to get acquired by Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or dying a quick death. Consumers have too many choices to contend with sites without critical mass. So in 2016, expect to see fewer small platforms, as the big players race to gobble up the most promising small fries. You'll have fewer sites to contend with and the cost to advertise will increase as competition wanes.
As of August, Facebook continued to dominate with 1.5 billion active monthly users. Twitter holds the second position with 316 million users. Third place is a tie between Instagram and Google+, both with 300 million users. Surprisingly, Snapchat came in next at 200 million, and LinkedIn rounds out the list with 97 million users.
Expect Facebook to become increasingly dominant this next year. The continued growth in mobile Internet usage will only boost Facebook's user base given its users' preference for mobile access. Today, a shocking one out of every five minutes we spend on smart phones is on Facebook. If your target market is active on Facebook and you haven't figured out how to leverage this tool in your marketing efforts, now is the time.
Niche platforms Instagram and Snapchat are now mainstream and worthy of consideration in your 2016 plan. Who would have thought we'd have presidential candidates turning to Snapchat to connect with young voters?
The big social sites will get a boost in 2016 as they improve search and purchasing functionality -- operating like all-in-one platforms with traditional web traffic taking a hit as a result. These evolved platforms will allow consumers to seamlessly make a purchase, chat with friends about what they bought, and post the social proof of their purchase much more easily. Give thought to how you will build out your social media storefront accordingly.
Ensure you are prepared for this next evolution in social media by adapting your strategy for the realities ahead.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.