They say that he who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat it; so if you’ve experienced a few hurdles this year when it comes to your social media and content marketing efforts, it might not be a bad idea to take a look back at the past 12 months to see what sort of lessons you can take with you into the new year.

But if you’re anything like me and can barely remember what you did last weekend, let alone a good few months back, we’d like to invite you along on a trip back in time to recap the top social and content trends we feel dominated 2016. Let us know if we missed out any of your favourites…

Back to the Future

1. Organic reach decline

Oh, it was not a good year in terms of organic reach was it? As our favourite social platforms (most notably Facebook) jiggled around their algorithms, marketers around the world were (probably) reduced to tears at the drop in their content’s visibility. Brand Watch reported last month that organic reach on Facebook dropped from 15% to as low as 2%. Of course, advertising options have increased in response, you just need to work out how to spend your budget the most effectively.

2. Live video

Although it seems like live video has been on our radar for a while, the introduction of streaming app Periscope last year was merely a dip of a toe in the water compared to the ripple caused by the launch of Facebook Live. Brands and individuals alike have hopped aboard the live video train, embracing this new method of interacting and engaging people… and we feel that it’s only just warming up.

3. Mobile optimisation

Ok, so we could have dropped mobile as a trend at any point over the last few years, but the difference in 2016 was that mobile traffic finally outstripped desktop and Google made a few little moves that pushed mobile firmly into the spotlight. One of these moves was the introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages, designed to load with lightning speed on a mobile device. The other was the recent announcement that the search engine is experimenting with making their index mobile-first. What does this mean for brands? If your content doesn’t take mobile into consideration already then it had better start doing so ASAP. Read our guide to creating mobile-friendly content here.

Mobile cat

4. Making it personal

Personalisation and segmentation were two of the most highly used –tion words by marketers during 2016. In order to gain better traction with targeted audiences, brands worked harder to find their niche rather than trying to be too many things to too many people with a broader range of content. Alternatively, according to Forbes, we saw many companies that had multiple target audiences choosing to offer up varying forms of content. It was all in the name of providing that personalised touch that consumers are craving.

5. User-generated content offers a helping hand

Producing sparkling content day in, day out, can certainly take its toll. Why not shift some of the load onto the shoulders of your audience? After all, sharing’s caring! User-generated content proved it has legs this year as not only does offering the floor to your audience encourage engagement, interaction and a sense of community, it means you are reaping the benefits of content produced by the very audience you are targeting. So, you know it’s the sort of thing they’ll be interested in. Contests, surveys, guest posts, public forums – there are myriad ways to get your users a-generating content on behalf of your brand. Let those creative juices flow.

Lean back

6. Influencer marketing

In order to cut through the chaff of content that’s over-loading our social platforms these days, turning to an influencer to represent your brand can offer untold benefits for those seeking to promote their content. With a McKinsey study demonstrating that campaigns employing influencer marketing generate more than double the sales of paid ads as well as boasting a 35% higher customer retention rate, it’s not hard to see why this trend has garnered some attention in the past 12 months.

If you’re looking to get your content in order for the new year, contact us at M2 Bespoke to see how we can help.