Social media trends and predictions 2016

social media trends 2016

Happy New Year!

I recently asked a few social media experts from a range of backgrounds what their top social media trends from 2015 were – and what their social media predictions for 2016 are.

Meet the experts

Brid O’Connell is the Social Media Manager at Zoopla, one of the UK’s most popular property portals.

Julian Miller is Charity Lead at Hootsuite, a social media management system.

Kirsty Marrins is a freelance digital communications consultant and trainer.

Social media trends in 2015

Live streaming

“A big trend in 2015 was live streaming, with apps such as Periscope, Meerkat and Blab all launching in 2015. Periscope was named iPhone App of the Year by Apple and I think that is the one that will stand the test of time and really explode in 2016.”

Brid O’Connell

Native video

“2015 was all about native video as Facebook took on YouTube. Twitter soon followed and the result is a seamless experience for users and an easier way for marketeers to keep their content on one platform.”

Kirsty Marrins


“We all have one and we all want websites to be mobile optimised. Mobile is more effective than any other channel as it enables brands to create and take advantage of their existing customers. So now, digital marketers can connect social engagement to purchasing actions – especially as many social networks are integrating buy buttons on their mobile ads.”

Julian Miller


“Emojis were another hot trend with Oxford Dictionaries announcing the emoji ( ‘Face with Tears of Joy’) as its word of 2015. WWF ran a hugely successful #EndangeredEmoji campaign and Instagram launched an Emoji search function.”

Kirsty Marrins

Social media predictions for 2016

Customer experience

“There is massive potential to engage audiences of all industries with Periscope – fashion brands taking you backstage, tech companies doing product demos, property companies bringing you virtual tours, celebrities hosting Q&A sessions and the list goes on. For 2016 it will be interesting to see if companies bring this into their customer service offering for a next level customer care experience.”

Brid O’Connell

Instant messaging

“More businesses will tap into apps like WhatsApp and Kik. This phase is in limbo at the moment but I suspect progress towards the end of the year.”

Julian Miller


“I predict that brands will invest more in social listening and create content based on what people are talking about/interested in or even what they’re saying about them. I also predict that content will become more personalised, in the form of videos or photos.”

Kirsty Marrins

Utilising staff

“More businesses will enable staff to integrate social networks into their jobs, using employees to raise awareness of products and services. Additionally I expect more sales professionals to utilise LinkedIn and Twitter to help them achieve their goals.”

Julian Miller

What are your social media predictions for 2016?


How businesses can use Twitter’s new poll feature

Over the next few days you’ll be able to start creating polls on Twitter. You’ll be able to create two-choice polls that will be live for 24 hours.

Here’s a short video explaining how they’ll work:


Todd Sherman, a Product Manager at Twitter, suggested a few of the benefits for businesses in his blog post about Twitter Polls. He said:

“If you want the public’s opinion on anything — what to name your dog, who will win tonight’s game, which election issue people care most about — there’s no better place to get answers than on Twitter. For poll creators, it’s a new way to engage with Twitter’s massive audience and understand exactly what people think. For those participating, it’s a very easy way to make your voice heard.”

Polls will enable further engagement between brands and their community if used correctly. Community managers need to think carefully about what questions and responses will add value to their audience in order to reap the benefits of the new feature.

Weekly reads: Bill Gates, Zappos, Reid Hoffman, Scientology and student newspapers

weekly reads

Today I want to share a few articles I’ve read recently that captured my attention and kept me interested for the entirety of my commute. I hope you find them as insightful as I did, and if you’ve read anything great recently please do leave a comment with a recommendation.

The Network Man

The New Yorker

Fascinating profile of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. I’m particularly taken with his ritual of beginning all meals (or coffees, depending on your networking budget) by writing down or bringing along a list of the topics both individuals want to discuss.

Read more

The plot against student newspapers?

The Atlantic

As Editor of my former university newspaper I faced numerous freedom of speech issues. It seems the situation in American colleges is considerably worse.

Read more

15 Accurate Predictions Bill Gates Made About the Future in 1999

Time Magazine

Re: Interest-based online sites

Gates’ prediction: “Online communities will not be influenced by your location, but rather, your interest.”

What we see now: All kinds of news sites and online communities focus on single topics. Many news sites expand to separate verticals, offering more in-depth coverage on a given topic.

Read more

How the Church of Scientology fought the Internet—and why it lost

The Kernel

Another reminder that you can’t pick a fight with the internet and win.

Read more

First, let’s get rid of all the bosses

New Republic

“New Zappos employees typically undergo several weeks of training and education in the culture and traditions of the company, a period that includes at least one week working in the call center, or CLT (Customer Loyalty Team). At that point, new hires have the option to accept the offer: a no-questions-asked $3,000 payment if they’d simply like to walk away.”

Read more

Image: Unsplash

70% of Brits prefer to engage with brands on Facebook

facebook research uk

A few social media statistics for your perusal:

  • 33% of UK adults advised that they are frustrated by brands’ social media updates that are too irrelevant or impersonal
  • 28% of UK adults advised that they were unhappy with social media updates from brands that are too ‘salesy’ with a strong focus on products
  • 70% of respondents feel most comfortable engaging with a brand on Facebook than other social media channels
  • 35% of people would create content about a brand if they really loved the product or service experience

Research: Headstream

A few of my thoughts on the stats…

  • 33% of UK adults advised that they are frustrated by brands’ social media updates that are too irrelevant or impersonal

Irrelevant and impersonal are two separate issues; impersonal suggests a desire for further personalisation, perhaps the same level of personalisation UK adults are experiencing with email marketing

  • 28% of UK adults advised that they were unhappy with social media updates from brands that are too ‘salesy’ with a strong focus on products

This statistic surprises me. Firstly, I think it’s too low – I’d imagine way more than 1 in 4 people are unhappy to see a constant stream of ‘salesy’ product related content. That said, not only do we follow brands knowing they’re going to push products, but we follow them because we want to see those products too. It’s just about delivering that in a palatable way.

  • 70% of respondents feel most comfortable engaging with a brand on Facebook than other social media channels

Again, slightly surprised by this statistic, and I think a lot of that has to do with how we define engagement. At the very least, I suspect that most UK adults with both Twitter and Facebook accounts are likely to turn to Twitter seeking engagement.

  • 35% of people would create content about a brand if they really loved the product or service experience

This is great news for user generated content. Pitch content challenges perfectly and you may be surprised how much engagement you can generate.

You don’t have to be a company with a great product to make this work either; asking customers to create content can be successful in service industries too, as we’ve proved with the #WhampPlanet challenge.

LinkedIn updates it’s messaging experience

apple mac

LinkedIn is an incredible interface but until now it’s messaging experience has been poor. It’s hard to see if you have replied to messages and there’s no way to attach a document – a feature that would greatly improve the connecting experience.

That changes today (or in the coming weeks depending where you are in the world).

Here’s what’s new:

  • Chat-style interface
  • Messages organised around the people that matter to you
  • Improved push and email notifications
  • Ability to attach photos and documents to your messages
  • Stickers, emojis and GIFs functionality

Read more on the LinkedIn blog

Image: Unsplash

You can now post landscape and portrait images on Instagram

instagram landscape portrait images

Another day, another Instagram update.

Today’s Instagram update is a major one; the social network now allows you to share portrait and landscape photos and videos.

We’re especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram, which in widescreen can be more cinematic than ever. While we’ve historically had separate filters for photos and for videos, all filters will now work on all types of moments. You can also adjust the intensity of filters on videos, too.


The square format will still be supported, and landscape and portrait posts will still appear as a centre-cropped square on profile grids.

Instagram remove custom location functionality

Instagram have removed the custom location functionality in their latest app update. According to Instagram, ’custom locations created in the past will still appear on existing posts, but you can’t add custom location to new posts’.

Over the last few months Instagram have been pushing the places feature within the app. This latest update suggests that location continues to be at the heart of their strategy as users will no longer be able to include URLs or creative content in the location field.