Monday, January 4, 2016

Social Media in 2016

By Mwebya Fred
It’s a great moment that we are able to share with you our deep analysis and vision on what road the Social Media industry is Taking in 2016. First and foremost allow me to welcome you and wish you a blessed year full of success and victory in every aspect of your life. The year 2015 has seen social media stand to the challenge of solving commercial and social challenges through development of various features for Example the Facebook safety mark that is used in times of catastrophe like floods, extreme terrorist attacks etc.

Twitter and Snapchat also came up with features that simplified and saved on the readers time used in search of the major stories by activating highly curated content that suits your industry.  Twitter adopted Twitter Highlights and Snapchat adopted Story explorer which offer users a closer look at significant events in their city as they happen. LinkedIn revealed an all brand mobile app that has massively grown engagement and the platform is likely to leverage on this app in 2016 to bring more numbers to LinkedIn.

During the last month of 2015, I witnessed many Ugandan companies place job adverts for Social Media managers; however companies also need to identify what trends are going to be working for 2016. Banks, Telecoms, Utility organizations and Health Service Providers all need to be on top of their A class-social media game so as to remain relevant and competitive in the current Social Media Noise.  Blogging, email marketing and search engine optimization are very crucial pillars to attaining successful Social Media Key Performance Indicators (KPI’S) for any given industry.

Many analysts have had arguments as to whether blogging and podcasting are slowly but steadily dying out; I stand to differ with those that insinuate that because video and other visual content are deeply getting adopted therefore blogging and podcasting are on the losing end. To me this is very misleading because blogging does not stand to only mean long written articles on a given subject matter but it can take different forms such as Photo blogging, Video blogging, Info- graphics and the traditional written articles. It’s true there have been a few limited platforms totally dedicated to video and photo blogging as compared to the long written articles that have for long dominated the blogging space.

Here is what my take is on the above issue; I steadily visualize many publishing platforms shift from the traditional publishing of articles to more of video and photo content in 2016. However those that are industry experts will continue to succeed at providing deep insights in the form of long and detailed articles. Due to the ever increasing number of individuals and organizations providing content, there is likely to be increased noise on the internet in terms of content published but only those that have deep industry expertise and knowledge plus experience will thrive.

There is no doubt that Video and visual content is going to rule 2016 social media content however businesses cannot skip levels of creating awareness and clearly elaborating their values in the industry. This means that those businesses and organizations whose  goal and objective is to adopt the social web in 2016 have got to be steady fast at creating both the traditional blogs that involve detailed explanations of who they are and what makes them unique in their industry. In addition to developing the capacity to create fast and steady content, organizations must also be prepared to adopt the video content strategies to play the catch up game.

Since 2010, when social media made a huge level of impact in the way customers engage and deal with businesses, customer care has now shifted from a matter of launching complaints and providing answers to measures of great customer experience which is an ingredient for a deeply rooted customer loyalty base. Customers do not mind much about which answers you provide but they cautiously mind how you provide the answers and when you provide them. For the last two and half years I have witnessed The Uganda National Water and Sewerage Corperation attain a lot of success as far as customer care is concerned but also involve customers in all their campaigns to yield results. This organization has been in position smoothly and carefully handle crisis, they have greatly reduced water wastage through encouraging customers to report all broken and leaking water pipes. National water and sewerage corperation has to a large extent managed to fight water theft through involving all stake holders but most notably their customers.

My advice to businesses this year is to understand that there is no other alternative apart from having a stream lined communication strategy. You partners and customers now have more than enough channels and ways they can access positive or negative information about your organization or brand.  Ensure that all your employees are trained on how to use the different social platforms that you find very relevant and effective to be used for your industry. Businesses should ensure clarity of compliance and adherence to the related communication policies to mitigate or avert any risks of bleaching the policies and codes of conduct as a result of social media usage.

As I conclude allow me to wish you a successful 2016 Social Media Year and feel free to drop a comment on the things you think individuals and businesses need to do or focus on in 2016.

By Mwebya Fred

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