It’s that time of year again. Time for predictions. The last two years I have been pretty close to predicting the future of marketing and social media. You can see them both here and be the judge for yourself.
This year has been even more exciting and as we approach the new year, I am looking back into my crystal ball with some thoughts, predictions and ideas that may shake up your current strategy. Here’s what I think will be huge in Internet & Social Media Marketing in 2016.
16 Internet Marketing & Social Media Predictions for 2016
1. Location Targeting Is Power
With more and more apps and GPS connected devices out there, marketing will rely on connecting to people when they are out and about based on exactly where they are. Scrolling Facebook at the mall? It’s a perfect time for a push notification or update from a store within the vicinity. Is your friend at the mall too? You’ll start seeing more of his updates in the feed. Location targeting is power and it isn’t only for huge retailers. Local businesses can tap into this too.
2. Employee Advocacy Is About To Take Off
Strength in numbers is what makes employee advocacy so important. What is it? It is getting your employees to be an active part of the social media game and empowering them to share about your business to create a ripple effect on the web. Because brand pages get less action than personal pages, you can really optimize your reach through personal connections. Check out SocialChorus for more information. They are awesome!
3. Search Is Getting Smarter
Search is always getting smarter. Those who try to trick and game the system will really fail. They have been failing miserably anyway. Now, with AI and machine learning technology we are going to see a return to real content leading the way. So how do you make sure you are doing the right thing? Start with a content marketing SEO program that relies on good content that people actually want to read and consume.
4. Social Media Is A Search Channel
Not only are people using social media to search for products, services and content, social networks are using the most popular and relevant content as part of their internal search. The more social your content, or the more times it has been shared, the more likely it is to show up on social search. Plus, social and search are so integrated that the future of organic search won’t be completely dependent on Google and traditional search engines. It’s all about being everywhere at all times.
5. Social Selling Will Be All About Personal Branding
That’s right. If you want to sell online you will have to make a name for yourself. Now, don’t get discouraged. You don’t have to be the industry leader, but you do have to have some sort of online credibility and transparency. Don’t forget, personal connections create professional opportunities. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. If you get criticism, it's a good thing. Here are some tips from Neil Patel on how to deal with that when the time comes.
6. Reach Is Not Dead, It Just Changed
2015 proved to be the year that Facebook died. And yes, reach is harder to come across if you are doing the same old things that you have done for years. Post and run. Post and run. That’s just not going to cut it anymore. Reach will rely on really great content that connects to your audience and that is shareable. The more people that share, the more people you reach. Simple equation, but often overlooked. Think about your influencers and how you can empower them to share on your behalf.
7. Lead Generation Is Not A Contact Form
Contact us pages are simply not enough. You need to be active in your lead generation tactics and do whatever it takes to get people’s information. Consumers are pulled from every angle and especially online. You need to be capturing leads on your website, on your blog, through your social channels, and every other way you can. Why are leads so important? Because email still rocks.
8. Email Marketing Is Still A Sales Channel
Email Marketing will continue to decline for those doing only “basic” email newsletter blasts. But for those who are using it as a personalized channel for specific actions will see huge engagement and sales. Yes, sales come through email and when you can hit someone right between the eyes with your email marketing strategy you better believe they will take action.
9. Content Is Still King
Content is and always will be king. And your story is important. This year think about putting it in the right place at the right time. That means distribution matters.
10. Blogging Is Necessary
Blogging is not going anywhere. It’s not going to be replaced by video. It’s not going to be replaced by email. Nor will it be replaced by social media. Not only does it help you with your SEO efforts, it also gives you content for social media and gives others content to share on their channels. If you aren’t blogging yet, now is really the time to get on the train.
11. SEO Will Make A Big Comeback
Social Media has dominated the Web Marketing scene for the last few years, but the glitter is quickly wearing off. Yes, there are still big opportunities on social but business owners are looking for clearly measurable R.O.I. where they’re investing time & money. Of course, SEO has long been a small business ROI favorite because it’s really easy to measure progress & results. Now that the dust has settled on Google’s infamous Panda & Penguin updates, a renewed faith in SEO is bound to return in 2016.
12. Content Diversification Is Key
There is a reason that 31 Flavors is so successful. People like a variety. Online users are no different. We want to consume video, text, images, and everything in between. Your content needs to vary to reach different types of people. Content diversification will also help you diversify your social media presence which will help you reach more people. Plus, we know links on social are a good thing. It’s a win, win situation.
13. Paid Social Will Conquer
Not only is paid social highly targeted, it can also be very affordable to reach those right people. With Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter offering unique options, it's time to consider a small budget to promote your content. But use it for lead generation.
14. Less Is Sometimes More
Worry less about how many people you are reaching and more about how many of the RIGHT people are you reaching. I’d rather reach 10 new real customers a month than 100 random people who will never buy from me. With that said, think about looking into more niche sites and blogs to spread your story and your message. They will help you reach those who are actual buyers.
15. Video Will Play A Larger Role Than Ever
People want to know the faces behind the message. Video is the best way to deliver this. Whether you decide that live streaming sites and apps like Periscope and Meerkat are the medium for you, or you want to stick to video customer services is up to you. But do yourself a favor and start creating and sharing video.
16. Personalization Goes Digital
Gone are the days of generalized content and here are the days of talking to your customer and potentials one on one. Even if it is automated through a service like Infusionsoft, it is still all about making the person on the other side of the message feel like you really know them. That’s where the true value comes to play.
BONUS FOR GOOD LUCK — Amazon Will Dominate The E-Commerce World
As more consumers work to streamline their online shopping experience, Amazon will expand its reach and penetration. Fire TV was a big hit in 2015 and with the launch of Amazon Prime “instant ordering buttons” and the much-loved Amazon Echo, you can expect more online retailers to move more of their goods to Amazon warehouses in the coming year.
Cheers to a happy, healthy and successful 2016!
What do you think will take over?