What 2015 Taught Us: The Social Media Edition

December 28, 2015

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Can you believe in a few days we will be ringing in 2016? In the ever-changing world of digital media, a lot has happened in the past 365 days. In last year’s social media recap, we talked about the push towards integrated media and taking risks when engaging with fans. These trends will continue to gain momentum, so what else do we expect to see in the world of social media in 2016?

Connecting through Content

You’ve heard this buzz word thousands of times in 2015, but what exactly is ‘content?’ It’s ever-changing, so the definition is bound to change throughout the coming year.

Content in 2015: creating and distributing valuable, relevant, consistent, and useful brand media to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.

One of the biggest trends we will be seeing in 2016 is brands connecting with consumers on a deeper level—this does not mean inundating them with social media posts, but creating valuable material that will resonate with your audience. Less is more in 2016, and emotion will play a huge role in how brands engage. Be mindful about what you post and ensure it connects with your fans. We know your New Year’s resolution is to have a stronger presence on social, but focus on quality, not quantity of the content.

How many of you have seen the John Lewis Christmas ad? If you haven’t and are looking for a good cry, check it out. People want to view content that plays on their emotions or reminds them of a time when they experienced something similar, and it’s more important to your brand than you think….

John Lewis partnered with Age UK on this PSA creating awareness for the lonely elderly who may go a month without speaking to anyone. This campaign created the hashtag #ManOnTheMoon in order to encourage engagements with their viral video, and the campaign received over 23 million views, 11,000 comments and 1 million shares as of December 20th.

Exercising empathy will be the key to engagement in 2016– the more brands focus on how they make consumers feel, the more they are likely to share the story. The John Lewis ad was relatable to over one million viewers, and who wouldn’t want to share this story after watching their heartfelt PSA?

In other words, people like consuming content that is personal and relatable. Content will continue to be at the center of how brands will find new ways to engage with consumers in 2016—it is the type of content that is evolving.


Great, so now you’ve got your content game nailed down. Next order of business is to get plenty of eyes on it. How, you ask? Video and live streaming.

In early 2015, Periscope and Meerkat broke onto the scene and introduced live video broadcasts to the world. Elsewhere in the social universe, users were busy consuming more video content than ever before, across all social platforms. And to top it off, earlier this month, Periscope was named Apple’s app of the year. Need any other proof that video is where it’s at? Let’s take a look at an example, shall we?

Red Bull is a brand known for their adrenaline rush-inducing videos and of-the-moment music recommendations. Oh and they also sell energy drinks. Thanks to the power of live video feed, consumers were able to get a sneak peek of Red Bull’s live events during Miami Music Week at the Red Bull Guest House. Red Bull is an energy drink, but they have branded themselves as so much more. Consumers feel like they are a part of the event without actually being present, and this is how Red Bull effectively engages with its audience. Periscope is Red Bull’s perfect medium.


Twenty-five percent of all branded content is user generated—AKA content that was NOT created by your brand’s internal marketing team. The online conversation surrounding your brand is important, so be sure you’re giving your audience as many opportunities to engage with your content as possible.

So what exactly is engagement? Simply put, it is defined as the acts of talking to, messaging, or otherwise interacting with a brand or user.

As social media continues to grow, influencers are going to become more and more important. With 57.6 million Twitters users and 161.4 million Facebook users in 2015, it is important to have brand advocates out there to have a hand in the conversation. Influencer marketing is more engaging – it gives users a relatable face to connect to a brand. People like engaging with content that feels natural and honest, is useful to them, and is not invasive. Give your followers a conversation leader.

We saw a rise in influencer marketing in 2015, and only expect more brands to catch on. In additional to bloggers, YouTube and Instagram have become important channels for influencers to connect with their audiences (have we mentioned video?) and will continue to gain popularity in 2016.

Maybelline New York leveraged the power of video and influencer marketing in their 2015 ‘Go Nude’ campaign. The brand partnered with 13 leading beauty vloggers to create a series of YouTube videos encouraging consumers to create a fresh makeup look with the new line. Maybelline successfully gave followers a face to connect to the brand, and a more personal experience for the consumers. The campaign received 1.46 million clicks from YouTube alone.

As content continues to evolve each year, it is no longer enough to just create content, but to create more meaningful content that will resonate with each and every follower. Keep calm and content on, and ring in the New Year armed with a killer social strategy.

Oh, and don’t forget to engage with us in 2016 @Norbella!