4 big Social Media Changes Coming To a Business Near You in 2016

Social media is evolving and business had better get on board or be left behind. The social media skills gap in both small and large business is becoming a real thing. Even the so called digital natives, the kids who grew up online, are struggling to keep up with the ever changing landscape of business online. So what can you expect to find this year ....

Platforms will make it easier for you to do business on social media

Both Facebook and Twitter are working to make business communication with clients online more streamlined. Twitter recently removed the mutual follow requirement for its Direct Messaging (DM) functionality, as well as lifting its 140 character limit on same offering businesses a great one-on-one platform to talk privately and intimately with clients.

While Facebook upped the ante by introducing their messaging service by offering a beta version of Messenger Business to assist with real time business interaction. Another initiative that has been rumoured for over 15 months is Facebook at work. A nearly identical version of the platform is currently in closed beta, which will be a dedicated business network to assist with colleague communication.

More emphasis will be placed on getting social media right

With social media blunders a plenty online from poorly utilised hashtags (like #WhyIStayed) , to the awry execution of scheduled posts and the shocking use of global mourning and disasters to sell products (see 8 examples of how brands used the death of David Bowie to spruik their wares) the list goes on.

It will become imperative for all aspects of a business to be social media savvy and take on more of a customer service role, as opposed to a traditional sales role. This can only be achieved if the business takes a whole of operation approach to understanding social media conversations and communities.

Expect social media training to become part of the organisational structure

Leading social organisations like Hootsuite and Facebook are already offering free training  to help close the social skills gap. The ability for people to learn at their own pace, gain marketable skills and learn from leaders in the industry means that education can be undertaken anywhere anytime, even at work. In fact, it should be encouraged by work.

Compiled to assist every learning style, you can watch, listen or read your way to better social skills. Management should be encouraging every single staff member to engage in learning, because everything they do online is directly and indirectly a showcase of the business they work for. Understanding how to effectively use and manage social media for both personal and business use, is now a must have skill set.

Buying products direct from your favourite platform is about to explode

Most platforms have introduced advertising … sure, but this is not what the future looks like. Over the last 12 months Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have all launched in-line “buy now” options. Following our Asian counterparts, who have long had eCommerce incorporated into their functionality, users will be able to purchase products without even leaving the platform, offering big advantages to business and easier purchasing for consumers.

It has long been heralded that conversations around products convert to sales both online and in-store as friends and colleagues like, comment or endorse freely across the web. Basically we are more likely to purchase a product when people we trust approve or recommend it. With the advent of social retail, social media will now wrap the conversation between trusted friends around products and then tie a bow on it with embedded retail functionality.

So strap yourselves in, 2016 is going to be a big shift especially for those still desperately clinging to the traditional web way of business. All I can say is embrace the change and thrive.

Guest Post Bio: Lauren Neilson runs SIVACOM Brisbane based marketing and corporate communications specialists and has extensive experience and training in managing proactive marketing and public relations strategies for clients throughout Brisbane and nationally. SIVACOM have designed and implemented targeted marketing strategies for a range of big and small businesses , as well as for state government, education, transport, health, hospitality and property development companies. Their team also includes members with expertise in planning and scheduling, graphic design, website development and promotion coupled with copywriting and journalism to complete your full business marketing requirements. If you need help with your digital marketing, email social@sivacom.com.au today!