“Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.” Ryan Lilly, author
The growth of the social media has been phenomenal since the beginning of the millennium. From just sharing personal opinions, exchanging casual messages, posting pictures and videos to getting fully engaged with live chats, life ‘stories’, live videos and promoting massive business activities, the evolution has been enthralling.
Today, keeping track of these many transformations on social media is almost impossible. At best, hectic.
2016 brought us to the peak of these massive changes. Today, even as 2016 has come to an end, many people are still baffled with the pace of changes experienced on the social media. A good number of social media users are already lost within these mind-blogging transformations.
From many innovations on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are kept playing catch-up games. To the several modifications and innovations on Twitter, LinkedIn and the assertive guts of Pinterest, we were boarded with an array of new inventions that leave many social media users gasping for breaths.
But it doesn’t seem we’ve seen the end of these speedily changing trends.
As a social media influencer or a digital marketer, how do you get yourself prepared for the coming trends? How do you get your thinking cap on and be ready to match pace with the speed? You need to be abreast of the trends, be daring and creative enough to take advantage of its many opportunities.
So, the crux of our discourse in the work will address these social media trends; predict the many possibilities ahead with the available data and get the tips to keep you ahead of the storms in 2017.
Social Media Predictions and Trends for 2017
1. Prioritise Visuals and Live Video Streaming
According to Heidi Besik, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe
“Next year (2017), the continued importance and consumer appetite for video will drive further refinement. Social media platforms will introduce easier ways for users to access video, as well as better tools for creators.”
2016 experienced a huge surge in the push for how, when and the quality of visual materials, especially the videos. On Snapchat alone, there are over 10 billion video views by almost 150 million users on a daily basis.
Facebook is strongly pushing for access to more live streaming in its news feeds while Instagram is being upgraded to offer even more flexible ways of creating engaging content. Its innovation has been said to look very much like that of Snapchat stories.
One powerful advantage of live streaming is that it gives small businesses & novice entrepreneurs a powerful tool to compete with the big guys, while the big ones have the opportunity to showcase their strength.
Get highly professional brand spokespersons that can fluently and convincingly represent your brand. Work on video material and your brand identity so it can easily be showcased. Look at Gary Vee. He has a cameraman following him around 24/7.
2. Snapchat Innovations
2016 witnessed a range of innovations and user-friendly applications that have literally transformed the way we live stream, produce videos and take pictures.
Those amazing Snap stories, Geofilters, lenses and many Snapchat’s innovations have been widely accepted by both, the social media user (especially the young generation) and the corporate world. Expect more revolutions around these creative inputs from both, Snap Corporation and their rivals.
The picture below shows how Pixar used Snap Story to take a massive audience across their Pixar campus in Emeryville. They also undertook some interviews with the interns, and the whole story was a huge hit on the platform.
You might need to start jettisoning the traditions and start thinking of creative ways to be a major face of these new trends. More people will be driven to these and more activities and business solutions will be made.
Let geofilters promote your brand and create unique and engaging Snap stories that will reach the massive audience.
3. Influencer Marketing
Considering how busy digital platforms will be in 2017, social media marketers will result in finding strategies and methods to beat the crowd and deliver their campaigns at the footsteps of their audience.
Already, 2016 has seen several mega successful collaborations between social media influencers and multinational companies. That’s going to grow even more in 2017.
Use of influencer marketing will give your brand the recognition it deserves on the market, even as getting user attention gets more complicated every day.
You may need to start cultivating social media influencers to stand behind your brand. Beyond just using any popular person, you need to find the right individual who will be able to represent your brand properly and give you the needed value.
4. Twitter will likely to opt its game
The popularity and influence of Twitter have been dwindling over the years. Indeed, several experts have been predicting its death. People are beginning to demand more adventures and solutions from the social network.
But Twitter has been making a lot of efforts, including the recent expansion of the number of text characters allowed in a Tweet, plus increased access to videos and live streaming. And, it seems there are more ideas behind the scenes. While addressing Twitter’s employees in 2016, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter said:
“People choose us for news because we are the fastest. …Now, let’s be the first. The first place people check to see what’s happening…and the first place to break what’s happening. IN THE MOMENT LIVE (emphasis mine), or a fast recap of what we know so far…”
2017 will find Twitter incorporating many of these new ideas and may be one of the surprise packages on social media. Notwithstanding, all of that depends on its new ideas and the acceptance by the general public.
5. Captivating and creative content
2017 digital platforms will be full of quality, comprehensive and relevant content that is designed with creativity in mind. As Snapchat has shown the rest of us, taking bold steps to satisfy social media audience will be hugely rewarded in the coming year.
Start working on upgrading your old posts and creating new ones that are more interactive, solution-driven and relevant. Don’t be afraid to break new ideas, generate creative and engaging content.
In 2017, we will see more efforts put into the personalised design. More user-friendly chatbots are to give “one on one” attention to users and ensure great user experience on social media. Look at Google’s Allo; it’s clearly a step in the right direction.
You need to stop putting every social media user into one single bucket. It’s far more personalised now. People are far more responsive to an individual approach. So, if you wish to take your conversions a step further – be personal.
Recently, Coke started using individual names on their products to let customers own the drinks.
You may need to research trending topics and what people are currently demanding. Provide campaigns that address their needs and design content that can reach them individually, with a personal touch. Ensure you deploy quality email strategies as an add-on to your social media efforts. This approach will boost your conversion rate in the new year.
7. Fleeting Social Media Content
The way Snapchat, and recently, Instagram have worked around the content that is transient has shown that it’s here to stay.
The strategy itself keeps social media users on their toes, striving to post something new and exciting to engage their audience. Don’t be surprised when other social media platforms start similar engagement in 2017.
As long as you design and manage these campaigns properly, this type of transient and engaging content can bring your engagement level to the next level.
8. Organisational Budget
Considering the impact of social media on marketing and its tremendous number of potential benefits, more organisational budgets and strategies will be driven by this media in 2017. Indeed, consider the social media as the new main media!
Even more, getting results and access to the needed audience is getting increasingly monetised across several platforms with several influencers creating different tiers as gate-keepers; organisations will be forced to pay to reach their desired audience.
So, as organic reach continues to dwindle & direct paid ads continue to increase in price, influencers have the ability to take the slice of that huge advertising pie.
Start working on data that will help you analyse the best rewarding social media platforms and strategies for your business. You may also want to redesign the targets of your campaigns and structure them to meet specific audiences, as well as prioritising certain ads over the others.
Should you use pay-per-click ads? Should you target certain demographics rather than the more expensive general public? Should you use more text, images, videos or infographics to generate more engagement? Getting your advertising data clear will help you get the best results in the coming months, without necessarily creating pressure on your budget. You will be able to get your message to where your real audience is.
9. Draw Up a Good Content Strategy
2017 won’t protect you if you continue to make posts based on guesses.
You need to clearly define your campaign purpose and design a schedule. When are you posting what? What’s the purpose of that post? How do you track the results to put in the needed adjustments for better performance? These and many more specific questions should be put in place.
You can start with a content calendar that will help you put in the needed balance.
10. Optimisation for Mobile Devices
This is where the majority of business transactions and battles will be won in 2017. The volume of sales, its consistency and the ease at which they can be reached will be driving a lot of businesses to design creative content and marketing campaigns that are mobile-friendly.
Whatever you do with your website, whether it’s the new content you are publishing or a new service you’re launching, ensure that your site can be accessed by anyone, on any device.
11. Growth and Proliferation of Tribes and Communities
This will be a natural and strategic response from social media influencers to protect and sustain the right amount of social media audiences for their businesses. There will be more tribes and communities designed to cater for a range of needs.
The next generation of social media will promote more access and relationships between their brands and the customers. This is where tribes and communities will be coming in.
You might need to start targeting specific tribes and communities that are more relevant to your business. This will be a robust and a cheap way of generating quality leads.
You may also need to start building communities and start investing in relationships that will promote and help you drive sales in the coming years.
Lastly, you should understand that staying abreast of the trends and harnessing them to work in your favour should be the primary focus of your business. You will need to work hard, be creative, be innovative and provide the desired type of content.
The good news, however, is that your efforts will be adequately rewarded if you carefully put your strategies across.