6 Trends That Will Change How Brands Use Social Media In 2016

Zoella With A Camera

2016 is upon us and with it will come new trends, challenges and innovations in how to engage with our audiences on social media.

Here are my 6 predictions for what will happen on social media in 2016:

1.  Live video streaming will dominate online content

The average human attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish. If you've got 7 seconds to grab someone's attention on the news feed, you need highly engaging and easily-digestible content. This made video the content phenomenon of 2015, accounting for 50% of all mobile traffic, as marketers leveraged the newsfeed auto-play function to reel their audience in.

I predict that 2016 will see video become even bigger, as live streaming video features start making their way into people's most-loved apps. Generation Z have grown up being able to connect to the world from the comfort of their own home - video streaming will become the most instant and accessible way to do this, allowing you to see the world live through the eye's of someone else.


2.  A wave of big brands will join Snapchat

Snapchat is the fastest-growing social media channel and I feel that 2016 will be the year that marketers actually catch up and include the channel in their social media strategies. In a world of public networks, over-saturated with content, the private nature of Snapchat has a big appeal. Brands can play up to this for better cut-through with their audience. WWF saw massive success using Snapchat for their #LastSelfie campaign, one of the most innovative uses of the channel I've seen from a brand so far.


3.  Influencer marketing will be crucial in all marketing strategies

Influencer marketing places a focus on key individuals with a significant following and therefore power to sway potential buyers. Influencers don't have to be A-list celebrities, but increasingly will be YouTubers or bloggers; the power of the internet has given so many new people a platform and a voice. YouTubers are not just kids sat in their bedrooms making videos anymore, they're millionaires with best-selling books, feature films and social media followings to rival Obama.


4.  Emojis will be 🔝

For the first time ever, Oxford Dictionary's word of the year in 2015 was an emoji - the crying with laughter face. 2015 was also the year that Domino's allowed you to order a pizza simply by tweeting a pizza emoji.

Brands are working hard to fit in with the conventions of regular social media users and regular social media users love emojis. 2016 will see emojis become an even larger part of online conversations.


5.  Paid adverts will have to up their game

How many users get annoyed by ads filling their news feeds? The vast majority do, unfortunately for social media marketers.

In 2016, marketers need to focus on creating adverts which fit more seamlessly into the newsfeed - looking like something your friend might say. Messaging needs to be less sales-orientated and imagery needs to be created especially for the channel.

Facebook are reportedly looking into how they can monetise their Messenger feature, so similarly to LinkedIn, you could soon start receiving paid adverts in your Facebook inbox.


6.  Social media at work will become acceptable (sort of)

Last but not least is a social trend that I think will have a big impact on how companies communicate internally.

Working in youth marketing, I sit in a lot of meetings where we talk about the 'email fatigue' which 16-24 year olds are suffering. I am feeling this email fatigue too! It's said that the average employee checks their emails 30 times an hour, which doesn't make for a productive working day.

Social apps such as Slack, Yammer and Facebook for Work are a new wave of communication apps gaining traction in the workplace, particularly in the tech and start-up industries. The apps allow colleagues to discuss projects, organise ideas, share files and send messages in a much more efficient way than email.

What are your predictions for social media in 2016?