As I prepare strategic plans for 2016 I must take some time to reflect on 2015. Reflection gives me time to see where we’ve been, not only as a company, but what’s been happening in the “real” world. In the last year we have moved quite a bit forward. We may not have come as far forward as we had hoped, but I can see how far we’ve come as a nation and with the economy. One major item I’ve noticed is we are changing how we do business. It’s an incredible shift and one I’m glad happened during my watch. Those who are reading this also took part in shaping the past and will have an impact on the future, but what is that future? Can it get any better than this?
When I dated my wife I used to make silly statements about whether our relationship could get any better. She always told me it would, and it has. If you knew me, you’d know she had great optimism, but after 13+ years I am here to say she was right; it does get better and better. The same thing has happened within the business world, it has and will continue to get better starting with 2016.
This year started a little shaky, but it got better footing as we moved through the year especially for businesses. Many businesses flourished during 2015 and I expect to see even more flourish in 2016. To flourish in the new year, and in some instances just to survive, business owners will have to find ways to provide their products and services more efficiently.
In 2015 the amount of consumers using smart phone applications increased dramatically. Consumers are looking for ways to make their time more efficient so they are turning to applications (apps) to do that.There is a smart phone app for just about everything, and consumers are using them like crazy. You will see the apps market increase quite a bit in early 2016. Toward the middle and latter part of 2016 they will level off with developers finding their niche markets within which they will become the experts.
As for social media marketing in 2016; social media platforms will slow down with vertical growth and become more horizontal in nature. Social media startup companies came and went in 2015, and I expect the same thing for 2016. Very few social media companies will survive over the long term. Expect to see functionality beyond belief with the Big 5 (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Email Marketing and WordPress). Social media site owners understand that today’s consumers expect to get what we want, when we want it and at a price near what they want to spend. As business people we have to figure out how to get it to them easily, efficiently and still maintain cost effectiveness.
We will also see social media site owners try to figure out what to do with the data they’ve been collecting, who to serve it to, and in what format. I see struggles in that arena right now. Social media site owners will be more involved than ever in balancing user privacy with government laws with providing great consumer data to the public. This data has some key elements that include purchasing and surfing habits.
Social media managers will have to become more and more agile at knowing how to connect companies with consumers through social media. We will see some social media managers come and go but the social media managers that take time to test and research consumer motives for purchasing and/or surfing for their company’s products or services will be the most successful. They will be able to spot trends and use those trends to their advantage.
As companies become more social media savvy in 2016, they will start bringing their social media marketing in-house. By bringing it in-house the company allows the manager to embellish company spirit, goals and mission.
Most startup social media platforms will not survive in 2016 because they won’t be able to compete with the behemoth social media platforms already in existence. We will, however see smaller companies take on much needed niche social media marketing. You will see these companies go vertical with their marketing in areas like dentistry, veterinary and legal. A vertical focus allows the company to become an expert marketer of the vertical market rather than having a broad-based marketing approach. Although niche marketing focuses on one particular vertical, niche marketers run the risk of a vertical collapse within social media marketing. We’ve been a part of a few vertical collapses.
All in all I see 2016 as a banner year for small and medium-size businesses. Although 2016 will be a good year for new
business ventures, the early part of 2016 will be the best season to start a new business. As the year ages the nation’s focus will be toward the elections and some things seem to get frozen in time until after a new president is elected.
The economy is getting better. It can and will be better in 2016. How much, we don’t know, but I do know we are feeling more comfortable about doing business again in the United States. There will be a record number of opportunities for businesses over the next 2 to 4 years and we want you to play a major part in this resurgence of American growth.
Those of us at Affordable Social Media, Inc. I wish you and yours the very best of luck in the coming years. If you ever feel like giving up remember, entrepreneurs do things other won’t for a few years so they can spend the rest of their life like others can’t. Go forth and be prosperous.
Affordable Social Media, Inc.
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