6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2016

by Kelly McDonald

For social marketers, 2015 was an exciting year. New platforms, software and consumer preferences brought about a host of changes and opportunities. As a result, social media—and subsequently your strategy—has evolved and will continue to do so.

It’s impossible to predict how the social media landscape will change over the course of a year, but here are six social media trends marketers should keep an eye on in 2016:

1. Real Real-Time Engagement
Social media thrives on real-time engagement, but each year the window for response becomes smaller and smaller. According to Search Engine Watch, 70% of Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to, and 53% want a response in less than an hour. That number jumps to 72% when they’re issuing a complaint.

In 2014, consumers complained about brands 879 million times on social media. What’ssocial_media-1 worse is that in 2015, brands still weren’t responding as 7 in 8 messages to them went unanswered within 72 hours.

One of the key strategies marketers need to implement in 2016 is faster response times. Thanks to advances made to social listening and automation tools, if you’re not quick to respond one of your competitors might be. Social media is moving fast, and if your business has a presence on any of the platforms then you’re expected to keep up.

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And They’re Back!

by Kelly McDonald

Living with one’s parents, once a stigmatized state of cohabitation, is now an acceptable state of location, in part due to the sheer number of individuals who are now doing so. Members of what is being referred to as the Boomerang Generation, since successfully leaving the nest have, in recent years, returned and stayed.

Is this Boomer-Boomerang household the new marketing demographic? On the whole, the return to the nest has had an interesting impact on segments of the economy, in particular on real estate and the offshoot markets that spring from home ownership. Washers, Dryers, knick knacks, and other items for living are dropping in sales because Boomerangs simply don’t need them – they use their parents’ items. If Boomerangs are the newest consumer group to whom marketing campaigns are looking to reach, then to which member of the household should marketers be advertising? The parents or the kids?

This begs the question: when the two previously separate homes combine, who becomes the principal consumer?  Both the Boomer and Boomerangs have brand loyalties and though many overlap, several won’t. So when the two merge, who becomes the purchasing decision maker? Previously, parents of the Boomerang Generation have looked to their offspring for advice on new products, new websites, and in particular, new technology. Due to their influence in these categories, these young adults have substantial say when it comes to what products are purchased and when. That said, even though the Boomerangs have a strong influence in many of the retail areas, it does not mean that the Boomers are without substantial input, as they tend to be the party with the funds to actually make the purchases.

Given this balance of power, how do you think companies can best market to these two demographics who have now become one?

Have you noticed any campaigns that are specifically marketed to this group?

Move Over Eden Wood

by Kelly McDonald

Earlier this year, I blogged about a model, Ryan Langstrom, a child with special needs, who was featured in ads for Target and Nordstrom. What I found to be remarkable was that, other than having the child in the fashion layout, they did nothing to further call attention to that inclusion, no additional retail or philanthropic call-to-action. Such subtlety speaks volumes about the strides the advertising world has taken to actually understand their audiences. Audiences are real people, and they want to see themselves represented. And it seems that message is coming through loud and clear.

These inclusive tendencies are carrying over to the world of children’s fashion. Valetina Guerrero, a girl with Down syndrome, made her debut as the face of Spanish swimwear, DC Kids, 2013 children’s swimwear collection.

I don’t believe that entire campaigns need to be created to center on the special needs community; I feel that it’s important that the community is represented in ongoing, everyday ad campaigns. The DC Kids campaign took that presence an enormous step forward, because it not only includes the special needs market, but allows it to shine, with Miss Valentina Guerrero as the the first child with Down syndrome to ever land such a sizable campaign.

Unlike its predecessors, this campaign does call out its altruism, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Downs Syndrome Association of Miami. This brings up the topic of cause-related marketing, but that is a blog for another day

If You Build It, Will They Come?

by Kelly McDonald

How many times can the same thing be written?  It seems that the topic of conversation in every publication or blog over the last few months has been about how to reach the youth market. This marketing attempt at a “youth invasion” is nearly always focused on the integration of social media into existing campaigns.

So with all that said, how refreshing is it to see Fast Company’s article,Millennials Don’t Think Like Their Parents. How Do You Design For Them?

The magazine hits this over-hit topic from a new angle by specifically focusing on Chevy’s efforts to reach this demographic through its automotive design aesthetic. Chevy has spent significant dollars and time studying Millennials and has run numerous small and creative campaigns to learn more about them.

So what did they learn?

To sum up Chevy’s “youth guru”, John McFarland, Millennials are more interested in the sum of the whole than their Gen X predecessors. So what does this mean? It means that Millennials aren’t the rebels that Gen Xers were, that the current youth market is content to integrate their own identities with those that came before.

The Code 130 R and the Tru 140S are the two vehicles whose designs are based on Chevy’s findings. Both automobiles pay homage to vehicular predecessors, one being sleek and sporty like a European sedan and the other designed in the vein of the American muscle car. But most importantly, Chevy listened to the unifying find from all of their youth market campaigns and both cars will be priced at under $20,000.

Isn’t it interesting that perhaps the best way to market to the Millennial audience is to create a product that they may actually have an interest in? It is such a simple idea, a duh-factor so to speak, but does it work? Will Chevy seen an increase in sales from this demographic for these cars?