The digital era is here.
Social Media is now the part of our personal and business lives.
The dawn of social media is changing the landscape. A lot of the things that worked in the past no longer work today.
They are a distant but fond memory. The social web, micro blogging and digital marketing are all new skills we have to learn.
This means un-learning and letting go of knowledge we spent a lot of time learning.
I know it hurts but sticking to what we know is no longer an option in the digital world.
To succeed in the digital world we need to learn from the experts who have honed and refined their skills.
I have put together a team of social media super heroes to share with us their social media predictions and trends for 2016 from a Zimbabwean perspective.
Trend: Visual Content to dominate
Visual content is set to dominate content marketing in 2016.
This is due to the fact that there is so much clutter in the traditional blog posts space and it is visual content that helps branded content to stand out.
Additionally, Youtube is unstoppable on its ascendancy as the 2nd biggest search engine. Visual content works very well in the attention economy where the competition for eyeballs is fierce and unforgiving.
This is especially true in a mobile context where visual content performs very well. Mobile users like snackable content in their streams and visual content fits this bill perfectly.
Kundai is the community manager at the Digital Marketing agency TBWA.
Prediction: Content Marketing to be Big
2016 is going to be a great year for digital marketing in Zimbabwe.
With the cost data and devices becoming lower, there will be more users who have access to the internet than ever before.
With regards to social media, we are going to see more brands get on board from household brands to utilities and service industries. There will be no excuse not to be on social media.
Sadly though, not many are going to be doing it right.
My big bet is going to be on content marketing. In 2015 we saw what great content can do especially with the P.O. Box Team. 2016 it’s going to be bigger and more targeted to meet business goals.
At least that is what I and my team are gearing up for here at TBWA\ Zimbabwe. We going to go beyond just social media but rather the content itself and social media will be just about one of the distribution channels.
Delta is the social media editor at Zimpapers. In 2014 she was recognised as one of The Top 50 African Woman to follow on Twitter.
Trend: Social media becomes de facto news ‘beat’ in local newsrooms
Transformation in Local Media Practice: The incorporation of social media in local print news will become firmly established as a newsgathering technique thus cementing cyber-dialogues as legitimate forms of expression among print readers.
This growing reliance on social media to harvest story ideas, views and debates points to a transformation in terms of local media’s sourcing practices.
Social media will become entrenched as a ‘beat’ in its own right – where reporters deliberately camp and ‘gate-watch’ for news.
Plays the keyboard in the band called the internet and hangs her hat at Beacham Group in Perth, Australia. You can read about her thoughts on the use of social media here.
Trend: Video to become more prominent
Off the top of my head I would go with any video related prediction, particularly leaning towards Periscope because that hasn’t had it’s big boom yet but it’s been there for a while now. It’s like the Snapchat for business (or at least I think it should be).
Trend: 2016 is going to be the year of “Search”.
Consumers will increasingly turn to search engines to seek for information, deals, promotions etc within their respective locations.
The scenario will in turn force companies to improve their search visibility to take advantage of this surge.
Year 2016 will be the year where having a simple Facebook or Twitter page is not going to cut it but companies will be forced to evolve in their thinking and approach to doing business.
The world has gone digital, consumers have gone digital and if your company is still in the stone age, no prizes for guessing that one!
Trend: Applications and Search to dominate
Apps to take over Applications as we know are nothing new but with Google now increasing the complexity and nuances of its ranking of apps, 2016 should see an explosion of apps for individual businesses.
There’s very little your mobile-friendly website can do which an app can’t do too, often better and with that bit more punch and panache.
With time or maybe even in the very near future it wouldn’t be surprising to see mobile-friendly (responsive) websites being phased out in favour of apps.
2016 should be an important year during which more and more business owners recognize the benefits of creating an app for their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) The IoT is the concept of everyday items — your mobile phone, your TV, your air conditioner, your car — all being “online” and able to share and use data. Adoption of wearable technology is expected to reach really high levels during 2016, and the IoT is fast becoming a reality.
This creates a whole new set of possibilities for digital marketers, who will be able to use data about people’s lifestyles, habits and likes in a way never before possible.
Expect 2016 to hold some interesting developments in this area.
My cry for Zim
There is a huge demand for digital marketers in the country at the moment and that demand should double in 2016 as business finally see the power of online especially social media marketing.
However the problem we have is that most suppliers don’t have the right credentials to provide the services required, most don’t even have them.
I am really hoping that in 2016 we begin to see some education institutions begin to provide digital marketing courses.
Universities themselves really need to adopt this powerful marketing technology to help with this demand. Digital is not a fad but it is here to stay and stay it will for a very long time.
Trend: Live Streaming to take off!
I think a lot of changes are a continuation of what we experienced at the end of 2015. Live video streaming will obviously take over with a lot of social media platforms that offer video platforms becoming more popular.
We are already seeing Snapchat doing quite well as a social network; I predict that it will rule in 2016 and also extend to the Zimbabwean audience.
Whatsapp, which will also introduce video calling will be a big hit this year! We just pray bandwidth locally becomes more and more affordable for best user experiences.
Trend: Paid Advertising to lead the way
Facebook is still King when it comes to building communities and driving traffic to offers on your website, that’s not going to change in 2016. What will change is that many more people and companies who have been frustrated with organic results on page posts will wake up to the gold mine that is paid advertising on Facebook.
Those who ignore this will have a very disappointing year as Facebooks organic reach is only going to continue to drop.
Thanks to multiple forces, 2016 will see so many more Zimbabweans creating digital content and attempt to brand themselves. The winners will be the ones who invest in understanding not just the dynamics of creating epic content, but how content become visible to targeted audiences online.
The debate between organic vs paid traffic is over. Paid won a long time ago. In 2016 the second wave of smart marketers will realize it.
What are your Social Media Thoughts about Zimbabwe?
What about you? What do you think about the state of social media in Zimbabwe and where it is headed. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments in the comments section below. I would really appreciate of you could share this article with your friends and family.