We’re well into the month of January in this New Year. And while it may be too late to make predictions, it’s not too soon to look forward and make plans for the rest of the year. In this case, I am referring to planning on how you can utilize social media in your business based on current trends.

TREND: SOCIAL LISTENING
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: LEARN TO LISTEN

What may seem like a trend, should’ve really always been a staple from the beginning, in my opinion. It’s true that Social Media allows us to broadcast and amplify our message out to the world. But, the real challenge is learning to use it to LISTEN and provide customer service. This is known as social listening and it is now essential for businesses to do in order to connect with their customers. Some companies have gone beyond passive listening and are starting to use chatbots to engage with customers. But you don’t need a fancy chatbot, just some time to monitor your feeds and read what people are saying not just about your brand, but also about your competitors. Expect a rise in the use of messaging apps — like Facebook Messenger — for businesses to connect with their customers, too.

TREND: VR AND AR
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: START WITH 360 VIDEO WHEN APPROPRIATE

That’s virtual reality (think video games) and augmented reality (think Pokemon Go!) VR is the latest buzzword around but we’ll have to wait and see to truly find out its place in marketing. The VR equipment prices can be quite steep, right now, so we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out. However, I recommend, you use Facebook’s 360 video to test out the waters.

TREND: LIVE VIDEO
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: GO LIVE AT LEAST ONCE!

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter via Periscope and even Instagram now have Live Video broadcasting capabilities. On Facebook, the algorithm favors Live Video over other content — so take advantage! Consider creating a Facebook Live show that you can broadcast weekly. You can create your own show, on your own page, to talk about your own products to your own audience.

TREND: INFLUENCERS
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: CONNECT WITH RELEVANT INFLUENCERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY

Thanks to their ability to produce original content, connect with their fan base (who may also be yours) and truly engage with other influencers, influencers are impacting and changing marketing like no other force. You may have seen the #spon and #ad disclosures from non-celebrities influencers attached to product, service or experience on their social media posts. These hashtags indicate they are being compensated for their coverage.

Your assignment: Find two influencers in your industry and develop a plan to work with them. Do not just choose them solely based on their number of followers but rather, based on the quality and reach of their engagement.

— Social Smarts Media Director,
Marcie Taylor

Copyright © 2016 Social Smarts Media, LLC • Site Design & Development by MARGAUX, A Creative Design Agency