Social Themes in 2016 - Are You Relevant?


By Brían Taylor, Digital Managing Director of Jaywing

Millennials by nature are early adopters and are ahead of the curve when it comes to social media, seeking out the latest platforms and trending memes, often long before brands have the chance to react. As this age bracket rises to prominence, organisations must recognise that they have to continually adapt and evolve strategies to remain relevant to an increasingly mobile, visual and social audience.

The world of social media moves fast. Here are the top five things that may have worked in 2015 but you’ll need to reconsider in 2016.

1. #TacticalFail

Then: Be prepared when opportunity knocks

At this year’s Super Bowl Beyoncé launched her ‘Formation’ single which featured restaurant brand, Red Lobster, as a lyric. Moments later Red Lobster began trending online for the first time in history. Eight hours later, the brand responded. But was that quick enough? The tweet still got over 30,000 engagements. Not exactly a fail. But in the realm of Twitter, it was hardly a quick reaction. It is crucial to have structures in place within your business to be prepared for anything.

Now: Think about your reactive strategy

To make sure your brand is ready to react fast ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you got your budget ready to go to maximise an opportunity?
  • Do you know who to speak to internally or at your agency?
  • Do you know how to get legal approval?
  • What do you do if something occurs during out of office hours?

Answer these questions, make a plan and ensure you’re ready to maximise these opportune moments.

2. #2ndScreenRules

Then: Post all video assets on social media

There’s often a knee-jerk reaction to publish all content produced through social media channels to maximise the efficiencies of production.

Our understanding of watching videos on social and how a customer behaved on those channels has evolved with the channel, and the user, and needs to be dealt with in a more sophisticated manner.

Now: Create for social. Think seconds not executions

Content is being created with channel behaviour in mind; longer form content for YouTube, shorter form for Facebook etc.

In our recent ‘Advent’ campaign for Doritos, 25 different pieces of content were created - one for each day of  December in the run up to Christmas - to drive brand awareness and engagement amongst the millennial audience.

All video content was crafted to maximise social video learnings:

  • A thumb stopping moment by 3 seconds
  • Brand attribution delivered in 5 seconds
  • Total duration of video 15 seconds

3. #SpotTheBrand

Then: Jump on the holiday bandwagon

All brands are often working to the same calendar, be it Christmas, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. This means that everyone is fighting for the limelight around these events. Social gives brands the opportunity to jump on moments continually and the pressure to be relevant means there are literally thousands of brands, influencers and celebs (and your friends) – all vying for space.

Now: Make the moment your own

Rather than considering moments, brands need to understand their role in that moment, and their proposition.

Take the Back to the Future anniversary at the end of 2015. Pepsi wanted to own the moment by using ‘Pepsi Perfect’ (the drink of the future in the original film) in conjunction with its value proposition ‘Genius thinking that delivers the unexpected.’ Pepsi’s partnership with Uber saw users picked up in a Delorean, given a glass of Pepsi Perfect and a true Pepsi Max experience.

4. #CoolKid

Then: Millennials need innovation

With the millennial audience, the temptation to try something new with technology is heightened as this is an audience that wants the latest gadgets. Some channels will allow you to jump in at low cost; a bit of test and learn with low risk investment.

Now: Innovate to engage

The brands succeeding are the ones using innovation to unlock experiences for Millennials. Providing them with added features, technology and content that platforms (or tech alone) can’t provide.

The Gatorade lens Pepsi ran for Super bowl Sunday saw over 100 million views, an indication that clearly shows new technology at scale.

5. #Hastageverything

Then: Fixated on having #attribution

Hashtags became a great way for brands to suddenly breakdown a tweet into a singular term or coin a phrase. Many brands have been fixated with hastags, with some using so many, there is limited content in the tweet itself.

Now: Mature with the channel

Brands are aware now that the more hashtags doesn’t mean the better reach or engagement. Recent research is also starting to suggest that the ultimate way to improve engagement rates is to have no hashtag at all because they are becoming synonymous with ads.

In response, Twitter is pushing out specific handles to work with moments, allowing brands to be part of existing conversations rather than inventing their own. This ultimately gives the consumer a better, more well rounded, experience.

The new now

Now doesn’t stand still, or wait for brands to catch up. By following these tips you can be innovative, nimble yet stay true to your brand. If you’re nervous about investing, remember that social is the perfect launch pad for test and learn. As little as £100 can give you enough scale to see how it’s responding with different audience groups.