Tagged: customer

Looking into the Future: 7 Social Media Predictions for 2016

 

2015 was a huge year for social media innovations. Marketers once again saw changes to their algorithms, leading to a need for increased paid promotions. Facebook also continued their policy of curtailing posts that seem too promotional, making the number one social media site even more difficult to to budget for.

Twitter’s growth really began to stall in 2015 after seeing its peak growth in August 2014. Marketers began to shift their focus from this platform to another emerging and popular site, Instagram. With its 400 million monthly active users, Instagram became the new hot spot for reaching an audience in 2015.

But 2015 has come to an end and the changes to the social media landscape happening more and more frequently. Here’s what to expect for 2016.

     1. More Powerful Social Media Searches

In November, Pinterest announced a new search tool allowing users to zoom in on specific objects in a Pin’s image and search for similar objects or patterns. It works like Google Image search, allowing users to find products in a new way. In 2016, expect other platforms to catch on to the idea of new and improved ways to search for content and technologies to change the way we use these sites.

     2. Live Social Broadcasts

Periscope didn’t exist in 2014, but by the end of 2015 it had become Apple’s iPhone App of the Year. With more than 10 million users, Periscope’s unique live broadcast abilities have become the new way to interact with consumers. In 2016, Periscope will continue to grow, so expect to see other sites (Facebook!) to find ways to capitalize on this new technology.

     3. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Leave it to Facebook to find a new way to take our cash. In 2014, Facebook started a trend in social media that we felt through last year. Buy Buttons have recently become part of the interface of Instagram and Pinterest, so expect to start seeing these ads more often in your feeds and your budget.

     4. Video at the Forefront

Humans are visual beings, and we like videos. It’s the easiest way for us to learn and retain knowledge. Cisco estimates that by the beginning of 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video, so marketers need to be starting a budget for video production for 2016.

     5. User Privacy Concerns

In 2015, about 32 million Ashley Madison users found out the hard way that privacy isn’t necessarily guaranteed online. With one of the largest hacks on record still fresh in their minds, social media users are now looking for assurances that their private information is, in fact, private. Expect to see major increase in protections offered from Facebook, Instagram and any other sites that store personal information like birthdates and credit card info.

     6. Incoming Messages

According to Forbes, the frequency of incoming messages are up almost one third from 2014. Consumers are catching on to a new way of connecting with companies, so expect to keep seeing an increase on incoming messages throughout the platforms. Don’t be one of the estimated 82% of brands who do not respond. Pay attention in 2016 and engage in a new way.

     7. Easier Publishing on Instagram

Instagram can be a time-consuming nightmare for social marketers simply because it must be used in real-time and is exclusive to mobile devices. If nothing else changes from last year, let’s hope Instagram has made Post Scheduling their New Year’s Resolution for 2016.

How Social Media Can Be A Nightmare For Businesses

Social Media can be one of the greatest marketing tools a company has at its disposal, but it can also create nightmares if used incorrectly.

In 2014, American Apparel came under fire for their July 4th Tumblr posts meant to celebrate the holiday. What the company thought was an image of a firework exploding across the sky in a patriotic plume was actually a press photo of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986, which took the lives of all 7 astronauts onboard. Although the company removed the post and apologized, American Apparel continues to suffer long-standing backlash from the flub.

But not all social media nightmares are as easy to spot as that news-maker. Failures on Social Media outlets can be a headache for companies in ways they may not have expected. Small details can mean the difference between a successful social presence and a negative image being presented to your target consumers.

Avoiding these costly mistakes and pitfalls is crucial when launching a successful social media marketing campaign. Be sure to be wary of the top 5 mistakes companies make when managing their social media pages, and help avoid welcoming the wrong kind of attention to your company.

  1. Failure to Continue Posting

The biggest mistake a company can make after establishing Social Media pages is to stop updating these pages regularly. For customers and potential customers, this makes a page look empty and uninviting. The page then becomes a billboard shouting “We Aren’t Here” rather than an way to invite new customers to your storefront.

Not staying current suggests that not only your pages, but your company, may not be up-to-date. Why would a customer think that you are accessible, current and the best place to take their business if their Facebook page hasn’t been updated in 6 months? The customer may assume you are lackadaisical or lazy and it’s likely they may think you are no longer in business.

  1. Posting Too Often and On Too Tight a Schedule

While posting too infrequently can cause a page to look barren, posting too often can cause content engagement to drop dramatically. An important post, such as a new sale or product, can get lost in a sea of less important content. Likewise, creating too much content can flood customers’ News Feeds, leading them to tune out the excess noise by unfollowing your page.

Once you discover what constitutes a healthy number of posts for each of your Social Media platforms, it is necessary to ensure that these posts go out in regular, yet organic intervals. Social Media is unique in that it allows individuals to present information in real-time. Publishing content at the same time on the same day and at the same interval will dispel this image. A customer should feel they are looking at a page managed by a human, not a robot. Mix it up.

  1. Not Responding to Questions

Social media outlets can be excellent places to present new products and information to a targeted audience, but your responsibility to the pages does not end with posting content. These pages also create a 24-hour hotline for customers to interact with your company. For example, midnight owls and early risers can ask direct questions to your company without the constraints of “Open” hours.

Problems arise when these questions go unanswered. Missed questions leave a customer feeling as if they are not being heard. It also removes the appearance of an active and engaged company. Social media pages are a unique way to present a personalized, accessible image of your company and ignoring customers on your pages dispels this image in a very public way.

  1. Not Responding to Feedback

Social Media is an extension of your customer service abilities, so failing to respond to customer feedback including comments, can give consumers the impression of an apathetic company. Just as your customer service professionals wouldn’t simply ignore a customer’s call, your pages shouldn’t ignore customer feedback either.

Companies who reply to customer comments, both good and bad, appear engaged. They appear to not only care about their customers, but their brand as well. They seem trustworthy. A customer knows if they chose to purchase a product from that company that they will have somewhere to turn if they need further assistance, such as returns or repairs.

Negative feedback left unanswered on a page creates another problem. It can distract potential customers from all other content. One negative review can dissuade customers from further engagement with your company, but a well thought-out response to negative feedback can both re-engage the dissatisfied customer and promote trust that when consumers do have a problem, you are prepared to take care of it.

  1. Using the Wrong Medium/Platform to Drive Business

Just because a social media platform is available doesn’t mean that it is the right fit for your company. Using the wrong content on the wrong social media platform can not only make you look desperate, but cause disengagement and a bad taste in consumers’ mouths.

In a recent study, researchers revealed that nearly 71% of adult internet users are on Facebook, which suggests that’s a great place to start promoting your company. But not every company lends itself to Facebook. A funeral home, for example, may appear less professional if offering sales and specials on Facebook, and garner the wrong kind of attention when such posts show up on customer’s News Feeds. It’s not to say this cannot be done, but posts should keep in mind the audience and be appropriate for the industry and platform.

Each company is an individual, and not every social page is going to work. Finding the right fit for you is integral to ensuring your reaching your target audience. Remember, a post can only be impressionable and drive sales if your customer sees it. Make sure it’s going where it needs to go.

At the end of the day, Social Media is a great way to engage with your customers and potential customers, but managing your social media pages is time-consuming. Be prepared to take a little time everyday (or sometimes many times a day) to ensure you are paying attention to those customers who are engaging with you, and that you are reciprocating. Social media works both ways — make sure it’s working for you.