By Cara Friedman When working in an industry like social media you can't create strategies for the present. By the time you complete your marketing strategy, all the tools and networks you rely on will have changed. In order to be strategic and be ahead of your competitors, you have to look into the future. What trends are on the horizon for social media? What's coming next that we need to prepare for? Here's what we think:
1. Video Killed the Social Media Star. Or better yet... video is the social media star. YouTube has been around for ages but now video and rich media is becoming more and more necessary as part of your content strategy. Networks like Vine and now Instagram have jumped on the bandwagon and have realized short, clips are the future. They can bring your brand to life like no static image or infographic ever could.
2. It's not about who's best, it's about who's first. In most cases, it is important to start any project with a well thought out strategy identifying goals, KPIs, best practices, etc. But what if you don't know that yet? What if the platform is so new and growing so fast that you don't have data and numbers to back up your gut instinct that you need to be in that space? Sometimes you don't have time to come up with a solid strategy. The people who act the fastest are often recognized as the best even if they are still learning as they go. Take risks and dive in!
3. Good Content > Branded Content. The days of content that is all about you are over. Engagement is more important than community size in most cases. If you want high engagement, you need to have really great content. Everything doesn't need to have a logo on it. Create content about your brand or related to your brand that is shareable and not necessarily completely branded.
4. Mobile is Permission to Play. Mobile is not optional. If your page, website, promotion, etc. doesn't have the same user experience/benefit on mobile that it does on the web, don't bother. Mobile users have grown at a staggering rate and there is no inclination that these numbers will fall. It is important that any initiative your brand does included a mobile strategy.
5. Welcome to the Social Media Funhouse. Facebook has hashtags. Instagram has video. More and more all these networks are starting to look the same. When a new feature comes out on a platform, we don't need to re-invent the wheel. If you have a solid video strategy for YouTube, adapt that strategy for Vine, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Don't stress to make a completely new one. It's okay that all the networks are overlapping. It will now make it easier for you to have one unified strategy across all your social networks.