20 Things Social Media Professionals Can’t Ignore In 2016

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The last year in social media has been insanely busy for professional marketers all around the world. If you manage any aspect of social media marketing for your brand or your clients, you know how hard it can be to keep pace.

If you’re currently stressing about how you’re going to pull your social strategy together for next year or balance the time and resources you do have for social marketing, you’re not alone.

Here’s a quick guide of advanced tactics and social media strategies more than 60 expert speakers covered at our recent #SocialPro Conference for social media professionals. We’ve also included highlights of some of this year’s hottest stories here on Marketing Land, and recaps from the event are linked at the bottom of this article.

1.  Playing Within The FTC Rules For Social Endorsements

The big story of 2015 is the FTC’s crackdown on disclosure of “sponsored” social media content. In our recent SocialPro keynote preview, Danny Sullivan summarized the top reasons social media marketers need to adhere to FTC guidelines.

2. Advanced Facebook Ad Tactics

New ad formats are rolling out furiously, and it feels like many marketers are constantly playing catch-up on the platform. With recent reports that advertiser budgets continue to rise, particularly for mobile ad spend on Facebook, the challenge is on to capture audience attention and maximize ROI.

Adding Facebook inventory lifted overall impression reach by 92%. Overall CPC to dropped by 28%, and click CPA fell by 33% — Sept. 2015

At SocialPro, speakers dug into innovative and advanced tactics to meet specific performance goals from current (and future) opportunities in Facebook advertising.

3. Competing With Social Video Superstars

On the content creation side of things, beating out YouTube’s original stars and media moguls like Buzzfeed, Jimmy Fallon and the WWE seems like a near-impossible task.

Yet rising video marketing opportunities on other platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat means marketers will continue to tweak their approach to video creation and optimization. Is it time to refresh your efforts, too?

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4. Real-Time Marketing Moments

At this point, it’s a fact of life for large companies and agencies to have war rooms stacked with social strategists ready to push out crafted quips, generate GIFs on the fly and drop on-brand messaging during mainstream media and live sporting events.

It’s one thing to engage in the conversation around such popular events; it’s another thing to turn a culturally relevant moment into real return. As we learned with Landy Award winner Mophie, it’s not only possible, but profitable.

For companies of any size, there are opportunities to make real-time moments happen, and we often see case studies from the brands and agencies seeing social success in real time. Contributors Ben Spiegel of MMI Agency and Chris Kerns of Spredfast will walk us through them.

5. An Expanding Social Ad Landscape

Just when you’ve got basic to advanced advertising on Twitter and Facebook under control, here come new ad units and audience targeting tools to test out on secondary platforms, including Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr and more.

Make it your 2016 New Year’s Resolution to set aside some budget and time to create campaigns for these platforms after learning how effective these social advertising options can be.

6. Coping With The Facebook News Feed

Continual changes to the Facebook News Feed over the last year have not only tested the patience of social marketers but also frustrated users. With the sheer amount of content being shared on Facebook and a shift to share trending news, it’s not all that surprising to hear just three percent of all news feed content is generated by paid advertising.

We what we know for sure is that an algorithm of more than 100,000 variables determines what users see when they log into Facebook. But darned if most of us know how to unlock the secret to getting our content included.

That doesn’t mean marketers will stop trying to figure it out. Our expert contributors will continue to provide tips for creating the kind of “quality” content that Facebook engineers seem to favor in today’s news feed recipe.

7. Next Level Twitter Ads

On the topic of real-time engagement, there’s no better place to take advantage of trending topics and engaged audiences than Twitter during a live event. With the new Promoted Moments native ad product rolling out, plus event targeting, advanced retargeting and new native video ads options, there’s significant opportunity for advertisers in 2016.

Marketing Land contributor Sahil Jain of AdStage shared in-depth tactics to take advantage of the innovative ad products Twitter has been rolling out.

8. Scoring Sales With Social Commerce

Between Facebook’s new Canvas Ad format, the Twitter Buy Button and buyable pins, 2015 was a year of significant growth for online retailers, and there’s every reason to expect that trend to continue into next year.

To that end, this topic is so hot for social marketers that we had a power lineup of speakers dive into making social commerce work for you.

9. Wrangling Your Social Metrics

Unless you are in a position where you’re using social to leverage direct sales via social e-commerce in near real time, you likely have a huge challenge with social analytics and attribution as part of your mix.

Whether you’re an in-house marketer or an agency managing social for clients, proving ROI via social and getting more budget in 2016 to support your social activities should be at the top of your list. After this session, packed with analytics tools and measurement methods from the pros, you’ll be able to conclusively demonstrate the value social media brings to the marketing mix.

10. Maximizing Social Markup

It’s usually responsible for the first impression you make on social media, so you have to get it right the first time. Dealing with social metadata can often be tricky, but every social media team needs to ensure they are making the most of their content sharing with well-optimized elements to take advantage of Open Graph Protocol, Twitter Cards and Pinterest Rich Pins. In this general session, all attendees will learn the value of getting social markup dialed in to help your content go viral.

11. The Rise of Real-Time Video

Twitter’s fast acquisition of Periscope signaled that this quickly uprising form of mobile video was something to pay attention to, and marketers are working overtime to fit the platform and its competitors like Meerkat into social strategies. Right now, Periscope is pulling far ahead, with Ten Million Accounts With 40 Years Of Watch Time Daily, yet Meerkat still has cornered the market on celebrity influencers.

As the battle between them and others continues, we’ll help marketers navigate how to use real-time video platforms to grow and engage with audiences.

12. Building Time & Budget For Snapchat Into The Social Cycle

Since the launch of Snapchat Discover earlier this year, this platform is sending significant traffic to brand and media sites, and it is now reporting four BILLION video views daily. Coupled with its recent announcement of “Sponsored Lenses” on Snapchat selfies, it looks like serious marketers can’t ignore this platform in 2016.

If you’re still behind the times on this one, start with our Marketer’s Guide To Snapchat & How Brands Can Build Followers Through “Stories,” but make sure you catch contributor Nick Cicero’s What You Need To Know About Snapchat article at SocialPro, all about working within the platform.

13. New Engagement Opps On Instagram

Recently topping 400 million monthly active users, the Instagram platform continues to get significant attention from social media marketers, and even more so now, with expanded ad options and continued growth in video. And let’s not forget about the new standalone app, Boomerang, for looping one-second videos.

Meanwhile, we’re having a little bit of fun with it for the @SocialPro Conference account.

14. Integrating Social With Other Channels

At the CMO level, this is a key area of focus as social continues to require resources, though by many executive accounts, integrating social media activation alongside traditional advertising and other marketing channels has resulted in significant amplification for many brands. In 2016, we’ll continue the conversation about how social fits into the “big picture.”

15. Using The Right Social Tools

With seemingly hundreds of social media tools available for social content production, publishing, ad optimization and measurement, one of the most frequently asked questions we get from attendees is “What Tools Should I Use?

This year, the Social Tools Super Session returned as a general session, and now you can get the synopsis with this great roundup of social media tools.

16. Creating Fresh Content for Social

The cornerstone of all social media marketing is content creation. One of our top contributors here and on Search Engine Land, Eric Enge, regularly teaches readers how to craft a content strategy that not only helps boost their social presence but also aids organic search visibility.

17. The Expanding Social Ad Landscape & LinkedIn Ads For B2B

Social marketers dealing in B2B-focused verticals often lament that using the major social media platforms just doesn’t work with “boring business-to-business” content. With increasing targeting opportunities coming from Pinterest, Tumblr and YouTube and LinkedIn’s continued dominance in the B2B sphere, social media marketers are turning to paid social to drive leads and sales effectively.

Our expert contributors regularly provide insight into all the paid social advertising opportunities available on these platforms and talking about advanced targeting tactics. Get started with these primer articles on Promoted Pins, Linkedin Ads and persona targeting for Tumblr sponsored posts.

CMO's Guide To Mastering Internet Marketing: Social Media

18. Do You Know How CMOs Really Feel About Social?

Are you a social media marketer trying to prove real value and ROI through social media, or are you a CMO yourself, still struggling to justify budget and resources dedicated to social media?

Whichever camp you’re in, it’s always good to find validation in others’ successes and failures across social media. If you haven’t been reading our CMO Zone regularly, here are a few recent gems:

19. Pinterest Is A Powerball

If you’ve made it this far, you might have noticed Pinterest has been mentioned about a zillion times. Beyond its usefulness for pinning recipes, DIY projects and fashion, the platform continues to allure users with the promise of living an inspired life. And that means real return for social marketers, as we learned from how Intel turns pinners into profits.

Now’s the time for you to also explore content optimization for the Pinterest platform.

20. Growth-Hacking Your Paid Social Efforts

If 2016 is already the year you’ve decided to invest more in paid social advertising, then you can’t afford to miss this in-the-trenches session by Marketing Land contributor Larry Kim.

The tactics you’ll take back to the office to implement will help your team drive exponential qualified traffic from paid social and provide practical conversion optimization tips. Focusing your efforts on converting three to times more paid social clicks into leads and increased sales is the most critical step of seeing return on your social media investment.

With all of these social marketing opportunities to prioritize in your strategy for 2016, it’s hard to know where to begin, and it’s our job to help you sort it out. With all of the content here on Marketing Land to review daily, you should be on the right track.

If you’re not already subscribed Marketing Land’s Social Media Marketing newsletter, sign up now to receive weekly updates from our experts. If you take away even just a few key tips each week, you’ll look like a social media superstar this time next year.


About The Author

Elisabeth Osmeloski is VP of Audience Development for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. In addition, she assists in programming sessions at Third Door Media’s Search Marketing Expo conference and the Marketing Land Events series and manages speaking engagements for editorial staff. Follow her on Twitter @elisabethos.

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