Social media marketing is a peculiar field. It changes regularly and unexpectedly, there are new platforms and tools coming on the scene every day, and what delivers results one day could fail spectacularly the next.

It is our role as marketers to constantly educate ourselves about the new opportunities – and accurately predict which changes will be flashes-in-the-pan and which are game-changers. Here are the trends that emerged in 2015 which we believe will continue to deliver results in 2016.

Blogging on LinkedIn is a win. Gone are the days when LinkedIn was only used by job-seekers. Now, blogs on LinkedIn are becoming a major force in content marketing and thought leadership development. A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that LinkedIn is the most effective social platform when it comes to content distribution. If you aren’t blogging on the space, you’re missing an opportunity  that will continue to deliver results this year. One caveat: LinkedIn appears to be limiting reach on re-purposed content. Giving those blogs fresh titles and a slight face-lift should solve the problem.

Facebook matters less for brands. Facebook is still a great place to connect with friends and family, but it’s a less valuable space for brands. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your presence; just put less energy there, unless you are ready to jump into live video or are interested in buying ads. Facebook ads continue to deliver in a powerful way.

Live, streaming video is big and getting bigger. Michael Hyatt calls Periscope the “greatest leadership tool ever invented.” People and brands are flocking to the Twitter-owned platform; in fact, there were more than 1 million users in the first 10 days, and more than 10 million now.

Forget traditional media: podcasts are the new king. Everyone wants coverage in big media and a hit on Forbes can be powerful, but more and more podcasts are delivering staggering results for thought leaders. Guest appearances can drive web traffic, email list growth, and social engagement. The difference between a major media appearance and a podcast guest spot often comes down to depth. If you’re featured in a mainstream publication, you’ll likely get a couple of lines of copy. On a podcast, you could get anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours of time to share your message. That level of intimacy drives greater interest and conversion.

The takeaway is that social media marketing is still delivering substantial results, but the rules are changing and will continue to change. The most successful brands and thought leaders will be those who are nimble and agile and ready to try new ways of sharing their work with the world.

As we head into 2016, it’s a good time to take stock of what worked in your digital marketing in the past, and determine which new directions might be worth trying now. Periscope, anyone?

Tell me something! Which social media trend are you ready to try out?


Image credit: JuanitaClarke