November 18, 2015

It's that time of year where everyone is making "bold" and "shocking" predictions about changes and expectations for social media marketing in 2016. I'm not here to do that.

First of all, I hate making "predictions". Yes, I participate in some of these round up posts out there listing a group of experts' predictions. But, in general, I'm not one to "predict" the future.

Instead, I like to look at what is trending, what is currently affecting the industry, and then make calculated determinations about a possible trajectory forward. Ok, simply put, I'm safely guessing. 😉

I don't think any of us can really predict what 2016 will hold. Some freakishly awesome new platform could pop up. Or one of the major players could experience a drastic drop in popularity. Or everything could maintain the status quo. We really just don't know.

But.... with that being said, here are the main things I see continuing or changing in the coming year.

Be Prepared to Invest

You will have to invest more time and more money into social media marketing in 2016.

There's no way around it.

Whether it's finally paying for ads, or adding more to your ad budget, or hiring someone to help you manage your social media, or investing in more training for yourself - you WILL be investing more in 2016.

We've reached the day and age where you can't ignore social media for your business. So, whether you're starting out, catching up, or plan to significantly grow your current strategy, it's going to take time and money this year.

Start thinking about this and start budgeting for it. You'll thank me later.


Transparency and authenticity have always been major aspects of social media. It's allowed businesses, celebrities, politicians, non-profits, and everyone else to connect with their audience and grow in unprecedented ways.

This will only continue to be even more true in 2016.

Are there unexpected delays? Are you working on new products or services? How are you helping your community this year? These are all things your audience wants to know.

Your customers want to see you. See your face. See your company. Understand the values behind your company. Watch you own up to mistakes. Share your learned lessons. Offer help. Talk to you.

That's why they're here! That's what you need to give them. Open up and be more transparent!

Customer Service

In addition to being more transparent, you can expect to handle more customer service issues via social media.

I've heard a recent story about how after a whole flight was cancelled and the entire plane-load of passengers waited in line at the ticketing booth, while one savvy flyer tweeted the airline and had himself rebooked immediately - without hassle!

Get ready. Whatever your potential customer service issues are, they are going to be coming via social media. It could be Facebook messages, it could be tweets, it could be @ mentions in a rant or complaint. Or - hopefully - a positive comment! But either way, you will hear about it on social media and you will be expected to respond.

I can personally vouch that when I reach out to a company or @ mention them and they don't respond, it is noticed and makes me think twice about that company.

Better Visual Content

Let's face it "visual marketing" has been the biggest prediction in social media every year. Do it. Do more of it. Try different types of visual content. Yada yada yada!

But, it's true. And it's not going anywhere.

So, this year, you will need to create BETTER visual content. Gone are the days of slapping together a quick graphic or posting a photo taken in poor lighting. Nope. You need to seriously up your game this year.

It's an intensely saturated market and "just another" photo ain't gonna cut it. You won't cut through the noise and you won't appeal to your audience.

Start planning strategically when it comes to your visual content this year. Literally put time on your calendar to shoot photos and videos or design graphics. I'm that serious!


Ugh, I know. The same thing we keep hearing - it's all about videos.

But, you know what? It is all about videos.

Videos are dominating. You literally can't look at Facebook anymore without scrolling past more videos than text and photo updates. If you want to get seen, you need videos.

And, videos take the whole transparency and customer service thing to a whole new level. So if you get clever with your video marketing, you can tackle multiple "trends" for 2016 in one! 😉

And, yes, even I - who really doesn't like videos (watching or making them) - am planning to add videos to my 2016 strategy...

Live Streaming

The idea of live streaming blew up in 2015 and it's only going to get bigger and broader in 2016.

It takes video, transparency, customer service, and authenticity to a seriously whole new level! So get on board. Or be left behind.

If you can't do your own live streaming, consider being interviewed by someone who has a well-developed audience or platform. Whatever it takes, get out there, try it, and use it to your advantage to connect with and grow your audience.

A couple popular tools came into play in 2015 in regards to live streaming. I honestly don't know if they'll survive past 2016, being overtaken by a new one or one an existing one. Or they may explode that much further, putting current major players (like Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram) in jeopardy. I just don't know. But I do know that live streaming will impact your life and your business in ways you never knew possible.

More Controls, Oversight, and Rules

I think we can all agree that the "rules" of social media have significantly lagged behind the growth of social media. Government agencies can't update laws and legislation fast enough. Platform rules are challenged and deemed insufficient almost as quickly as they're drafted.

Conferences and paid events now have to deal with live streaming - for free - to the mass population, jeopardizing their ticket sales and protected content.

Contests and giveaways run the risk of being considered illegal gambling.

Sharing someone's pretty picture can get you sued.

It's an extremely complicated world with little precedent to learn from and such rapid growth that precedent is antiquated anyways.

So, I highly expect there to be more lawyers, laws, rules, legislation, litigation, and business resources dedicated to the proper management and oversight of social media marketing. Just because you did it in the past, or because everyone else is doing it... this won't cut it anymore. You're going to have to get smart to the rules and start abiding by them. BUT this is going to make it more fair for all involved and I'm looking forward to some better control and guidance.


So, there you have it.

My list of what you can expect to see in social media marketing in 2016.

What do you think? Did I miss something that you think will be significant this year? Or do you disagree with something I foresee? I'd love to hear your comments below!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. I always want to grow my business the right way on social media! Thank you so much Jenn for all your tips and insights! Ugh, videos though…..I need to just get over it and start doing them!

    1. lol – I feel the same way, Michele! I’ve dragged my feet with regards to videos but we really can’t ignore them anymore…
      Like you said, just start doing them!

  2. Thanks, Jenn.

    These are rarely realistic and down-to-earth predictions ( or as you said – guesses). I am glad to hear these.

    I have noticed that videos are gaining more and more attention ( and conversion) lately, so I am also scheduling extra time to produce video content in 2016.

    1. Thanks Gundars! I’m glad you agree and happy to hear you’ll commit more time to videos in 2016.

  3. Your article covers great points and touches on the rules and legal of social media, which I too believe will be changing. I’m glad that you are bringing it to people’s attention.

  4. I’m really excited to see how live streaming will shape customer service. Having worked in a forward-thinking online only retailer selling bathroom and exploring ways it could revolutionise that one business was very exciting. Many customers have difficulty replacing part is toilets, for example. With live streaming, customer service advisers will be able to demonstrate how to fit parts so the customer can do it themselves- saves them money and builds brand trust and loyalty. It goes hand in hand with your other prediction-transparency. Live streaming will help consumers feel closer to brands. Bring on 2016!

    1. I agree, Jenni. Using live streaming for customer service and those types of tutorials could be very valuable. Hoping you have a great 2016!

  5. As far as video content goes, as a publicist I can offer a few suggestions for those that really dread the thought of creating them.

    Given these predictions will likely be scooped up and used by literally thousand of people, that means too many videos to watch. No one has time to watch an avalanche of mediocre content just because the trend dictates you should.

    1) Do an audit of your competitors and see what’s happening across the board.
    2) Create a strategy that will make your company stand above your competitors.
    3) Be really smart, in the methods you choose in the creation of video content. If you create videos just like everyone else, you’ve wasted everyone’s time.
    4) Use music from musicians whose repertoire complements your business and video message. There are literally thousands of musicians who need exposure for their work. A small fee can be paid, or perhaps a bartered agreement is feasible. In any event, put the agreement in writing with signatures from all parties.
    5. Keep the videos short, literally the shorter the better. Hire a freelance writer to write your copy because no one wants to sit through any amount of time with long, boring monologues.
    6. Use humor whenever possible.
    7. Keep it real. Stiff, stuffy content especially on video is agonizing. Staging things too heavily looks and feels phoney.
    8. Editing is the best skill you can bring to this task. Be merciless. There’s ample opportunity to create more.

    Some of the best videos I’ve seen are viewed in our household on a topic of no interest to me. But what I’ve learned is the masterful strategy Jimmy DiResta uses in the creation of video content has created a well-deserved reputation for his work, and now I really enjoy watching his stuff. Compared to his competitors whose videos I refuse to spend time viewing, DiResta is the king of video content in his particular niche.

    If videos are really repulsive in terms of getting them out there….find a different way. We’re all going to be blurry-eyed from so much stuff, not to mention the advertising we have to fight through to watch.

    Feel free to be in touch if I can be of any help. [email protected]

    1. You bring up a great point, Janet – and one that we’ve all encountered with images. It’s going to get saturated and we need to stand out with quality videos, not “just” videos.
      And thank you for adding a great list of things to consider when creating videos. This is great information to share!

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