By Anand Bhaskar

Diversified audience, amplifying engagement rate, scattered yet organized and competitive in nature, Social Media is surely getting more and more complicated for brands. Today your potential customers are making decisions about buying your product or services on social media channels and this trend is nowhere going down in next 2-3 years.

Brands not only need to invest some serious resources for a better social engagement but also need to be on their toes to align with dynamics in the industry. Internet penetration and the way people use it is changing on a very rapid pace, let’s have a look at some trends and understand how brands can prominently make use of social media in 2016.

1.  It’s time to leverage “Social Customer Service”:

Social Media has shifted how your company interacts and engages with prospective customers and buyers. It’s taken a passive relationship building approach and divided in stakeholders of your company resulting in amplified brand advocacy.

Did you know that in last 2 years-  78% of customer have bailed on a transaction because of poor customer service and not because they were unhappy with the actual product or service offered by the company. If you want to provide obsessive customer support, you need to get your team onboard, here are some ways to do the same:

–       Setup Processes: Plan and put the process in motion ahead of time. Make sure everyone is empowered to make decisions and knows when to involve other departments.

–       Be where your customers are: This strategy will significantly allow you to interact with your customers on a personal level. You need to spend time in the same space as your customers.

–       Find opportunities to surprise and delight your customers: Most of the time brand try to sell their product and services on social media. Understand this, Social Media is a communication platform, not a classified portal. Quit trying to speak at your customers and instead speak with them.

2. Your employees are your brand advocates: Accept this that the cumulative social reach of your employees is 10 time more than your brand. Their engagement rate on various social media channels is again way more than a brands presence.

Doesn’t matter whether your employees are prominently using social media or not, you can incentivize their channels for better reach and brand awareness. Set a social media friendly policy in your company and create content which they love to share with their social network.

3. Incentivizing Social Commerce:

Yes, Social Commerce is the term now which can drive multifold impact on the bottom line of the business. There is one thumb rule you should follow, the more you’ll engage your customers, more social sales you’ll get. DifferentSocial Media Channels are smartly shifting the dimension and crafting themselves as a fun and serious business network.

–       Twitter is experimenting a lot on the “buy button”

–       Facebook and Youtube launches “360 degrees” video experience

–       Pinterest is promoting the “buyable pins” options in some geographies of the world.

4. Combining Social and Search: Let’s get one thing clear – Search Engines are deeply connected with social media channels and closely monitoring the social media reach and conversation of a brand. Bing is using Facebook likes as a ranking signal, Google is using Twitter, and Google plus presence of a content as a ranking signal. Why? Because search engine is more likely to keep the most discussed content on top of their SERP.

Your social media posts should also be optimized for better visibility in search. Here are some best practices to amplify the reach of your social media content and give better visibility in search results.

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