According to Fast Company, there are now more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide, and that sum is growing at a brisk clip of 25% each year. The social media landscape is constantly evolving and growing to meet the demands of the savvy social users and advertisers. In this article, we will outline some of the bigger trends in 2015 and share our thoughts on where things are heading in 2016 and how this will impact your hotel social media marketing.
Search and Social
We’ve seen that social signals impact search. The highest impact can be seen through social shares; social shares validate a page’s authority and thus allow it to rank higher. Social posts are currently showing up in search results but this will continue to increase. Google will likely add additional platforms muddling the line between web and social, as they have already partnered with Twitter to share tweets in search results. Social platforms are beginning to morph into mini search engines. Rather than going to Google to search for information, users are searching directly in Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube to find the information they are seeking. A study by Pew Research highlights 63% of both Twitter and Facebook say the platform serves as a source of news and events outside the realm of friends and family. Additionally, a recent survey showed 87% of the respondents said that Pinterest played a large factor in their purchase decision. This does not imply your hotel will take over CNN as a news source, but if there is a relevant news story tying your content into that will increase the likelihood of social shares.
Local Events and Local Search
Facebook announced an update for iOS Facebook app users that allows users to see events around their location. You can view events sorted by category: music, food & drink, nightlife, sports, etc. The 10 cities have access: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Miami, Houston and Washington, DC. We believe this beta will be a success and more markets will be added in 2016.
Facebook has also expanded its Place Tips functionality. In the past, you had to check into a location to see tips, but now as long as your location services are turned on you can view the Place Tips while on property. This will be interesting to see the effect on check-ins.
Video has emerged as a stronger priority for all social platforms. According to a recent TechCrunch article, with its focus on video, Facebook video viewership is skyrocketing. Facebook averages 8 billion daily video views. The company is trying to figure out a way to manage intellectual property and once it does, it could directly compete with YouTube by showcasing their videos with ads and sharing ad revenue profits with content creators.
With the success of Periscope (owned by Twitter), Vine and Snapchat, Facebook recently rolled out live streaming for its platform. The ability to stream live events can cut down costs (and expectations) of production-quality videos, allowing businesses to create videos without big budgets. Once a live stream is over, it’s available on the timeline for users to view it after it is over. With Facebook jumping aboard, we believe it is safe to say Live Streaming will have staying power and businesses will likely catch on due to the low marketing cost.
Facebook conducted a beta test last year using beacon technologies at local businesses. The Facebook beacon connects to the business’ wi-fi and when users open their Facebook app while on property, they are prompted to check-in, they can see other posts from users at the business/property and they see can see information from the business. Businesses can offer welcome messages, tips, incentives, offers, etc to engage with onsite visitors. Based on the initial success, they are rolling out beacons to more cities as this is a wonderful way to increase on property engagement for companies across the country.
Facebook and Twitter are both largely pay to play platforms now. The old days of free social channels are long gone and “native” advertising is creating the traction necessary for advertisers to see results, not to mention the ease of advertising has greatly improved. The Facebook newsfeed has become more competitive over time, the algorithm now only allows a small percentage of brand posts to appear in their fan’s newsfeeds. Facebook has indicated that reach for organic posts will drop to 0% and it’s slowly working its way to that point, we think 2016 will be the year. In order to gain true reach and engagement in Facebook, a paid strategy is necessary. In regards to Twitter, the speed in which tweets fly into the newsfeed requires a paid strategy to have any morsel of a shelf life.
As the user numbers rise for larger platforms, users (especially Millennials) are moving away from posting on social channels where everything is broadcasted out to the masses and opting for more private messaging options. Snapchat and messaging apps have been growing in popularity as a result. It’s an untapped market for most brands but if it is possible to break through, there is an opportunity to reach 1.4 billion users across the globe. 2016 will see more users on private social channels, and this year will lead the way for advertisers as well.
Have you noticed these trends in your market or in your newsfeed? Please share your thoughts with us today, or call us directly to discuss social strategies and trends, 408-492-9055.
Nisha Thakkar, Director of Client Services
Sara Linton, Product Marketing Specialist