2015 was a huge year for marketing and branding but 2016 looks to be even bigger. As we count down to a brand new year, I’m sharing 10 game changing trends that you’ll want to be on the lookout for as they are sure to shake things up for your company, blog or business.
You’ll definitely see a bunch of trend forecasts between now and the start of the new year. So what makes mine different? With a background in both corporate America and as an entrepreneur for the last eight years, I’ve definitely amassed a ton of knowledge and mistakes that hopefully will help you as you navigate your marketing and outreach plans for 2016.
In no particular order…
1. INFLUENCE: Everyone in some way has influence these days. Now, it’s about what you choose to do with it. Where will your influence lead you in 2016? The time is now for a more aggressive approach.
2. MEN: When we think of the big social platforms, a lot of marketers tend to focus their energy and analysis on female users because for the most part, that’s who’s doing a lot of the engaging and sharing…or so we thought. Let’s take Pinterest, a platform with a solid reputation for catering to its predominately female users. Earlier this year, the five-year-old San Francisco startup announced that men are actually its fastest-growing user demographic, with the number of men pinning and re-pinning doubling in 2014.What does this mean for all social channels? I think it’s important to not forget about male users when you’re working on your marketing or event strategies for next year.
3. RIP PRESS RELEASES – I think we will always need those media experts; those individuals who specialize in media relations and the overall news cycle, but moving forward, I think we should begin to phase out the traditional press release as the primary tool for connecting with the media. Unless. You’re Apple or have a massive game-changing announcement. But for the most part, I just think they aren’t going to be the best use of time, energy and resources. Building relationships with key industry leaders and influencers, investing in visually stimulating graphics and content that get people talking, that’s where our focus should be. The process of sending and receiving information and news continues to evolve; the media outlets still serve as a big foundation of the process but that is changing as social media users and their legions of followers impact the current landscape.
4. ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT – When was the last time you did a Google search of your name? Yes, it sounds super narcissistic but that’s social media for you lol. But honestly, we assess quality, value and credibiliy by what we find in those searches so it only makes sense that managing how you are perceived online has epic importance. Setting up Google Alerts are a great way to stay on top of what’s being said about you. In 2016, it’s about putting a continuous management plan in place to ensure what people read online matches what they meet offline.
5. MARKETING AUTOMATION – I may not be the biggest fan of the Kardashian ladies but I do respect their hustle. What the ladies do better than anyone is generate fresh, original, daily content that keeps us plugged in to see what happens next. And the content is different from channel to channel and they post different times throughout the day. And in 2016, that’s just gotta be the norm if you intend on using your social platforms for anything other than just the random post. You will no longer be able to afford to only post once a week at 5am because that’s the time that works best for you. It’s borderline lazy and we just owe our connections much more than that. Each social channel has its own flavor and purpose so your content should be modified and customized according to the channel you are using. And that’s just social media. We haven’t even touched your other marketing efforts that must be addressed as well. Marketing automation refers to software that automates your marketing for you. The software is designed to help you prioritize and execute your marketing tasks in a more streamlined and efficient way in an effort to make you more efficient and reach your goals faster.
6. THINK GLOBAL NOT LOCAL – With one simple tweet or blog post, your communication has the ability to go global. Applying a global approach, whether it’s with our careers, our businesses or our blogs, is going to be crucial in 2016. Technology has removed the barriers that were formerly in place when it came to networking and discovering opportunities. I am so passionate about this that I’m on a mission to help women think in a more global way next year. Click HERE for more info on a very cool project.
7. MOBILE FIRST – When it comes to crafting any sort of brand or marketing strategy, my number rule is to “follow the money.” Let me explain lol. A recent report stated that 75% of Facebook’s revenue last came from mobile advertising. 75% of a bajillion, bazillion billion dollars. This makes sense as we see Facebook put features into place to support this. Everything from this point forward must be designed or branded with mobile in mind first. People use their smartphones. A lot. So why not make the experience for the user fun, fast and easy to navigate. Mobile first, desktop second when it comes to creating anything online these days.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA WAS FREE – There was a time, about seven years ago, when there wasn’t a cost to use social media. Times have now changed. Sure, you can log on to your favorite social channel right now and you aren’t charged a fee for usage. But if you want your content to actually be seen by others, you’ve got to pay to play these days. Yes, I believe social media channels were initially created to bring communities together, but over time, the mission has expanded to include monetization as well. Pay-to-play has a negative connotation, I get that. But I’d rather live in reality than get caught up in fantasy. It is what it is and as active social media users must adapt accordingly.
9. HASHTAGS – Many of us explored and experimented with hashtags in 2015. We created sentences out of them, formed new words, used 20 of them at one time. I’m guilty too. Out of that exploration, will come a bit more targeted, purposeful usage.
10. APPS – By now, hopefully, you’ve embraced the fact that we are living in a web by mobile society and that are goal these days is to ensure that we are providing complete, user-friendly mobile experiences for our communities and followers. What better way to do this than with your very own personalized app? Apps are no longer massively complex and expensive. You can get a basic one done pretty reasonably these days.
These are just a few trends headed your way. Some aren’t entirely new, but definitely deserve a second glance as you plan for the new year. Happy New Year!