Lauren Bates

Social media is one of our favorite trends to watch this year. But social is not easily defined. It is a chameleon of sorts, evolving and changing form to match the current environment. At its core, like we mentioned here, social is about developing strategies around people. If your audience isn’t interested, you won’t convert and you might turn people away without knowing it.

According to Social Media Examiner, there are four ways to keep a people-minded focus when creating a social marketing strategy. First is Influencer Marketing. Influencer marketing takes marketing initiatives and turns them around to support the needs of influencers. This tactic acknowledges the fact that these relationships need to be fostered for longevity as your customers value the opinions of industry leaders in the space.

Another strategy is Employee Advocacy. This tactic can be a struggle for brands because often times your target market doesn’t totally match your ideal employee, and that is ok. But realizing that employees are your biggest advocates and adapting to employee behaviors will result in a greater reach and an authentic trust in your brand. Create a social strategy specifically for your employees. In addition, this is a great chance to boost morale by inviting your employees to be a part of the conversation.

The third way to adapt your social strategy around people is with Social Selling. It has always been a challenge to convert through social media, but some brands are starting to figure it out. Start from scratch instead of using your own network to push out content. In other words, customize the content you share based on customers’ needs not brand needs. And don’t be afraid to use external content.

Last, but never least, is Content Marketing. Content is king, and for the foreseeable future that fact will remain. So be sure that you are using it to the most of the individual platforms’ abilities. Take into account which social channel you are using. If you are sharing content between social platforms, use language that audience is accustomed to. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn do not use the same tone. So do your research and tailor your content’s tone to what your audience expects.

Having a people-minded strategy is a big one because without it, your other social initiatives won’t get far. But there are other social trends that we are looking at in 2016, visual content and video content. Arguably those could really be lumped together. So let’s. Visual marketing became relevant last year, but it will only continue to gain momentum in 2016. This is something that is probably already on your radar, but this year it will be even more important to focus on how you present yourself visually.

Gone are the days of slapping a picture onto a blog post and calling it good. That image needs to translate across your social channels, or you need to have several images. As stated earlier, what works on one platform might not perform on another, same goes for visual content.

We cannot stress enough the importance of video content. Video builds trust and brand loyalty. With social platforms incorporating video into their structures, video is the easiest way for your audience to consume your content.

So, to recap, content (visual and copy) enhances your social strategy, and that strategy needs to be people-centered. Remember, content is king. So leverage it on your social channels to start the conversation and build brand loyalty.