A New Year means a new start, and for marketers that means overhauling - or at least refreshing - your social media strategy as much as your eating habits and exercise regime.
Thankfully, a recent Forbes article listed the top five social media efforts that both B2B and B2C marketers should be leveraging over the next 12 months to improve their relationships with their audience, and make even more of an impact.
So, what five things should be on your in 2016 to-do list:
1. Engaging with bloggers and other influencers
If 2015 proved anything, it's that partnering with bloggers and influencers works. Figures from RhythmOne show that in the US alone, marketers made almost $7 in earned media value for every $1 they spent on influencer marketing; what's more, Nielsen research shows that 92% of consumers trust recommendations and earned media more than any other type of advertising. So this trend only looks set to grow bigger and better over the year ahead.
2. Live streaming
Live streaming can be a highly effective marketing tool for any company. Whether it's a B2C company offering customers a 'behind-the-scenes' glimpse; a B2C company streaming helpful information on their product or service, or tips on how to use it; or a non-profit showing the impact they are making in real time, live streaming provides businesses with a unique chance to connect with their audiences and boost engagement.
3. Social media advertising
It's important first of all to understand the difference between organic social media activity - i.e. posting on your brand's social page - and paid social efforts, such as paid advertising on sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Both practices can be used together, so it's not about one replacing the other - but if marketers aren't already adopting paid social advertising, they should get their strategy and budget in place ASAP.
Any B2B business that isn't already taking advantage of Linkedin 'Sponsored Updates', for example, is missing out on one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching vast new audiences in a highly-targeted and cost-effective way.
4. Deals and promotions
Giving your social media followers the occasional special offer is one of the most effective ways to gain more followers and expand your audience base, meaning you'll increase brand awareness, too. According to eMarketer, most social media users don't just follow a brand because they like them, but because they hope to receive an added incentive or promotion - so give the people what they want!
5. Employee advocacy initiatives
If you're having trouble getting outside parties to talk about your brand, why not use the people who know it best - your staff? Employee advocacy is usually cheaper and easier than other types of advocacy campaigns, and people tend to trust word-of-mouth recommendations even if it is coming from a member of staff. There are now several platforms that are used solely for this type of activity (my personal favorite is 'Everyone Social' ), so there's no excuse not to give it a try in 2016.
What else will you be adding to your marketing to-do list in 2016?