Why You Should Change the Way You Think About Social Media in 2016

By Jeff Barrett


Two weeks into 2016 and it has become increasingly clear that the roadmap to success has changed. Social media, organic content, Snapchat, Instagram, and influencers have all gone from add-ons to key customer acquisition strategy.

Last year I saw astronomically good response rates to organic content. Snapchat evolved from a hobby to an ad strategy and it confirmed where I thought we had been heading since 2011 in social media: we want to buy from our friends, not from celebrities or brands.

We trust who we follow on social media. We don’t trust advertisements. This is especially true for the under 30 crowd.

The new social media roadmap

Social media, by most brands, has been considered an amplifier. The common strategy being that you create the campaign and then use social to sustain engagement, get consumer feedback, and create more brand loyalty. All of that is good.

But what would happen if you let social media do everything? What would happen if you jumped out of a plane without a parachute like Travis Pastrana did a few years ago?

The answer is, if you created the right network, you would succeed.

Last week I was talking to a business, Vapejoose, that made $1.5 million in its first 12 months. The impressive part is they did it with zero spent on advertising or marketing. The entire growth was due to social and almost entirely Instagram. They created a great community, engaged with their fans and created a sophisticated brand ambassador system that turned their biggest fans in to their best salespeople.

That’s the new roadmap.

There are hundreds of those stories nationwide. Brands are further understanding the ROI of utilizing their fans instead of paying for media. In 2015, a lot of startups used Instagram influencers and organic content to drive sales. That will only be more relevant in 2016.

From amplification to customer acquisition

Instagram isn’t the only channel. If your brand demographic is under 30 and your business isn’t leveraging Snapchat in 2016, expect to be left behind.

Twitter is adding a blogging platform. That 10,000 character limit doesn’t mean longer Tweets, it means more expression. It’s actually not a bad thing. If bloggers, who carry a lot of customer sway, embrace this new platform, then Twitter becomes a very important part of the way businesses acquire customers. In 2016, being strategic on how your brand is using Twitter can pay dividends.

Katie Lance, CEO of Katie Lance Consulting, uses Twitter for customer relationship management: “For each of our clients we are able to help them get much more intentional about their Twitter feed by creating lists of customers, clients, and influencers through Hootsuite streams.”

So why all of this information? Because in 2016 you should be thinking differently about social media. It’s not an amplifier anymore. It can—and should—wind up being at the core of your customer acquisition strategy.

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