Social Media Trends Changing the Game (Again)

Throughout the first half of 2016 we saw social media trends shift dramatically as platforms merged offerings, played copy cat with features and gained and lost audiences faster than we could blink. 

Every day at Pierpont, we help our clients keep pace with the latest social media trends and changes and adjust their communications strategies around them. So where are the platforms heading during the latter half of the year and what does it mean for your marketing plan?

Facebook's Reign as King

Remember a few years ago when everyone thought Facebook had reached its heydey and was doomed to drop in popularity? Instead, the social media giant went on to grow in spades by continuously adapting to changing markets and taking risks. First, they purchased Instagram and took on one of the strongest mobile players at the time. More recently, Facebook launched live streamed content, initiated Instant Articles, and started utilizing Instagram's massive reach to implement the Stories feature (and doing so arguably better than Snapchat). In fact, Nike shared with AdAge that it generated 800,000 views in 24 hours on one of its first Instagram Stories compared to 66,000 views of its highest-performing video on Snapchat.

Twitter's Slow Demise

In contrast to Facebook's upward trend, Twitter is falling fast and went from 9 percent of total shares in 2014 when compared with Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, to 6 percent of shares in 2016 (according to Contently). At Pierpont, we began seeing this drop in Twitter traction across the board with most of our clients (and our own marketing efforts) starting in 2014. As a result, we shifted the majority of focus to LinkedIn and Facebook where social conversions have nearly tripled. Although rumors that the platform might be purchased are dwindling, Twitter did win the bid to stream NFL games. So it remains to be seen if the channel's future is still in flux.

LinkedIn's Steady Growth

Reaching an older audience, LinkedIn has remained one of the most important platforms for the B2B marketing teams we work with and we've seen increasing success with sponsored content and LinkedIn Pulse. Not surprisingly, Search Engine Journal recently reported that 41 percent of B2B marketers place LinkedIn at the top of their social list, compared to 30 percent who consider Facebook as most important.

Here's a how-to guide from HubSpot for help with publishing content through LinkedIn Pulse. We recommend testing it out through one of your core subject matter experts who aligns with your target audience. This provides the opportunity to voice your content through your people in a more authentic way, ultimately making stronger one-on-one connections.

Overall, the first half of 2016 was almost as exciting as the early days when Facebook and Twitter were first gaining traction. For more social media trends plus predictions for the rest of the year, check out this article from Contently with "5 Charts That'll Make You Realize How Much Social Media Has Changed Since 2014."

Kristen James supports digital strategy for Pierpont Communications. Connect with her on LinkedIn.