Posted by Cameron Francis
In 2017, social media has been expected to develop and expand in ways that have been unprecedented in previous years. In 2016 alone, we witnessed social media undergo a impressive growth, acquiring over 1.9 billion mobile users with an additional 2.3 billion active users worldwide – impressive right?
If your business has still not capitalized from any number of the emerging and established social media platforms and your business does not utilise social media marketing to its fullest potential, then fret not, social media is not going anywhere anytime soon, especially not in 2017.
With a wide range of new emerging social media trends set for 2017, you still have time to reap in the benefits of a social media marketing plan.
One of the most prevailing trends that will triumph in 2017 is private messaging on social channels. WhatsApp is one of the most popular private social channels with 1.2 billion monthly active users, while its closest competitor Facebook Messenger has 1 billion active users, monthly.
Users who use private social channels, favour these private messages more so than communicating and engaging in any other social channels, which is testament in the fact that the top 4 private messaging applications have a greater number of active monthly users than the top 4 social media networks.
It is apparent that the trend of private messaging social channels are where customers are heading, and you should make the effort to follow them. As most target audiences for businesses are now making the move to private messaging, in order to survive and thrive as a business, you must begin to interact with them on that same level. This is one of the main reasons as to why Facebook had recently released Messenger Conversation that come directly from Facebook ads that simply allows for advertisers to start a conversation with their target audience from an ad.
In the next year, there is no doubt that we will be seeing more and more brands utilising private messages to interact with their target audience and customers alike.
Although this is still extremely new, there is no doubt that the next big thing in the tech industry is Virtual Reality. Some big brands such as GoPro and Facebook have already begun to make some big investments in VR, but this is not unintentional. These big brands will begin to push for VR and help it grow and begin to implement VR in their business.
GoPro has already released several VR clips onto its YouTube channel, while new channels such as vTime have begun to create virtual locations where users can interact with one another using VR capabilities.
There more than a few reasons as to why and how VR will change the social media game in 2017.
Internet and social media users appreciate, engage and interact with video content more than any other type of content on the internet, which makes it extremely unlikely for us to be waiting too long before we start seeing VR being implemented onto social networks within the foreseeable future.
Social ecommerce has been one social trend that most social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and most recently Snapchat, have been quick to implement as it allows for users of the platforms to purchase items and products while they are within the apps.
It has been reported that social media is only the second most favoured network that consumers will visit when they are looking to purchase something online, making this social trend one of the most profitable for businesses – and one that consumers have had no trouble implementing in their daily lives.
In 2017, there is no doubt that social ecommerce will grow rapidly. Ensure that you and your business are prepared to sell on social networks to utilise this trend to its fullest capacity.
Although Live Video is still relatively new, it had taken Facebook by storm in 2016.
When Facebook had first announced the implementation of Live Video in 2016, no one could predict that it would become so popular, so quickly, for consumers and businesses alike. Adding to this, Facebook is set to introduce 360-degree video for its live users in 2017.
Live Video gives businesses a huge opportunity as it allows for them to freely interact with their target audience and customers in real-time. Reports have stated that 43% of business will heavily invest in interactive videos in 2017 because video content is the one type of content that receives the highest engagement from users of these social channels.
There are so many ways in which your business can utilise different types of video in 2017. You are free to use live videos as often as you wish to interact with your customers, answer any customer queries or even run a demonstration or tutorial of various ways to use your product or service. By hosting a Live Video at least once a week on any one of your businesses preferred social channels, you will be sure to keep all of your target audience engaged.
Put simply, ephemeral content is the type of content that will only be alive for extremely short periods of time, ranging from a few moments and up to 24 hours. Although you may think differently, this type of disappearing content is not hated by users, but rather it is prefered.
In the last year, Instagram has begun to introduce a dissapearing content feature that works for both videos and messages and it is set to continue to grow in the upcoming years.
This type of content is so popular, especially with users between the ages of 18-24 because content that disappears after only 24 hours forces the audience to engage more with the content as they have to make use of the time that is available to them for them to interact and engage with the content.
In the upcoming years, we will no doubt see more and more ephemeral content on social channels from a wide range of brands, so to ensure that your business doesn’t miss out, be prepared to create short, dissapearing content, for your brand to grow your engagement, across a range of social media networks.
Chatbots are computer programs that have been designed to interact with human users of the internet.
This year, we have seen Facebook launch chatbot for Facebook Messenger. These chatbots are used primarily by businesses in order for them to interact with their customers via Messenger. Businesses also have the option of creating their own and customising chatbots, personalising them for their business.
As it is becoming increasingly difficult for business to sustain and maintain an appropriate response rate to their queries on social media, more businesses than ever before are making the switch to chatbots in order for them to respond to their customers queries faster.
Social networks are increasingly becoming more complex and some are just as intelligent as search engines. They use specifically designed algorithms in order to personalise organic content on these social platforms to exhibit content based on what they believe their users will love and like to see, which means that is makes it much more difficult for businesses to have their posts be seen by all of their followers and customers.
This is one of the biggest reasons as to why so many brands have continued to spend a large investment in social media advertising, year after year. Each year, the paid advertising that takes place on social ads increases each year, and in 2016 alone, the revenue that was obtained for social ad revenue surpassed $1.53 billion across the globe.
Paid content on social channels will continue to dominate social networks in 2017 and will continue to grow drastically in the coming years and this is simply because it is the best way for businesses to ensure that their content will be seen by their target audience. However, it is important to consider that if your business will invest in paid content, to ensure that the content is not only useful, but valuable to your target audience, otherwise they will simply ignore the content.
In 2017, we will be sure to expect that the spending on mobile ads will undoubtedly grow exponentially. It has been reported that the mobile ad revenue of Twitter from the mobile format is expected to surpass that of desktop ad revenue and it is important to note that over 80% of all of the revenue that Facebook receive, come directly from mobile ads.
For your business, you should be sure to create a clear and concise social advertising strategy, focusing the majority of your efforts on mobile ads. In coming years, the spending for the social mobile ad will increase meaning that your competitors will be spending a large segment of their investments to mobile ads, so ensure that your business is spending the same.
Snapchat’s facial features is run by artificial intelligence and due to its interactivity, it has been found to be extremely engaging for users. Since to popularity of this feature has taken the internet by storm, other social networks have begun to invest in artificial intelligence themselves.
Facebook has begun testing facial lenses for their mobile application and through the recent addition to Instagram of Instagram Stories, this AI feature has gained over 100 million active users over the course of only two months. However, facial lesnes is only one of the features of AI.
In the next couple of years, the expected investment in AI from business is set to triple in 2017. This will present businesses with new and exciting opportunities in terms of their interactions with customers, social ads and networking.
Employee advocacy is the promotion, advertising and marketing of a business that is done by its employees and although it may seem so, it is more than the simple promotion of the business. There are so many businesses and organisations that have spent a lot of time and resources implementing an employee advocacy program that assists them in boosting their engagement and their brand awareness. Altimeter has reported that more than 45% of business had reported that employee advocacy programs are amongst their most important external objectives.
In 2017 we can expect for businesses to invest in employee advocacy more than ever before, and this can simply be put down to customer preference: users favour interacting with people rather than an organisation and employees are considered one of the most trusted spokespeople to communicate topics. Recent studies have shown that more than 31% of high-growth organisations have implemented formal employee advocacy program and furthermore, 1 in every 5 employees are estimated to be an active employee advocate.
As social networks continue to grow along with messaging apps, we will continue to see organisations investing more resources into employee advocacy in order for them to reach more people, more effectively and efficiently.
This is perhaps one of the most interesting trends that will occur in 2017. It has been expected that many Snapchat users will move to Instagram after they had launched the Instagram Stories feature, in fact, this move is already noticeable. When the social platform had introduced their Stories feature, it had received over 100 million active viewers, daily – this figure is representative of over two thirds of the whole user base on Snapchat. This statistic is representative of the much bigger audience and user base that Instagram possess. Instagram’s current audience sits at 600 million users, which is significantly higher than that compared to Snapchat’s 150 million audience.
One of the biggest advantages that Instagram holds over Snapchat is that it offers its audience a wide range of additional features, such as Instagram allows its users to create a permanent portfolio of their content, along with the ability for users to utilise any user insights from Facebook to create advertising. In comparison, Snapchat only allows for a limited means for their users to measure, examine and analyse their progress and analytics.
Many experts have predicted that 2017 will be the year that Instagram will destroy Snapchat. In this year, we will see a noticeable shift with brands and influencers alike, moving from Snapchat to Instagram and subsequently will drive users along with them on a massive scale.
As a consequence of this shift in the preference of a social channel that admits ephemeral content, there will also be a boost in the use of Instagram and Facebook. With the development of Instagram, Facebook is also set to grow as it will continue to persuade more and more organisations and influencers to get involved and utilise Facebook in order to gain deeper insights of their target audiences.
If you have not already – prepare your business and your social accounts for this transition because if it happens the way that it is predicated, it could be extremely profitable and beneficial for your growth.
In this coming year, social networks across the board will priorities business and features to assist them, following the footprints that their audiences leaves behind on Facebook and Twitter. This can already be evident, with Instagram launching a wide range of business tools in 2016 and is a forecast of what is to come in 2017.
Businesses and organisations use analytics to analyse and examine what works the best for their social media campaigns, and simply put, this cannot be done without the in-depth analytics that these social channels provide businesses, which we can only expect will get better and become more in depth in the future. Studies have indicated that over 92% of executives of businesses and organisations use these analytics that social networks provide them with for marking insights for their brands.
In order for social platforms to fulfill the marketing analytics needs of businesses, they will continue to work on creating better and more comprehensive insights to these marketers. This push for greater marketing insights from businesses will mean that social networks that do not offer these powerful business analytics tools, such as Snapchat, may have to launch theirs quickly in order to not be left behind.
The skills gap in social media is expanding.
In recent a recent study that had been conducted by Capgemini Consulting had published that 9 out of 10 organisations had stated that their current employees did not have the fundamental or necessary skills that are required to use social media platforms as a successful business tool. This gap in skills from employees will only be expected to broaden in 2017 as many organisations are still not ready and willing to invest their finances and other resources into training their employees on how to effectively utilise these social platforms, at least not anytime soon.
For your business, you should begin training and assessing your employees for their digital skills, focusing on their social skills in particular as it has the potential to be a considerable opportunity, with a potentially great ROI.
Personalised content is set to dominate social channels in 2017, and it comes as no surprise to users. According to a recent survey conducted in the U.S, 61% of consumers have reported that receiving relevant and personalised offers and advertisements is of greater importance than ensuring that their online activity remains private.
When online content, such as advertisements, is not relevant to the user, they can easily become frustrated, in fact, it has been reported that more than 70% of people have reported that they actually become frustrated when the content that is displayed to them is not personalised and relevant to them. However, it is the lack of insights into target audiences needs that is setting marketers and organizations back, which will call for two significant trends to occur in 2017.
The first is that businesses will invest more resources into analytics. This will be facilitated by social networking sites as as we have discussed earlier, they will offer greater and more in-depth analytics tools and business features in order for organisations to gain more information on the habit of their customers to offer them with personalised content.
The second is that businesses are expected to spend more of their resources on retargeting. The social giant Facebook, will commence retargeting ads that will be used by additional businesses in order for them to offer relevant and personalised content for their target audiences.
CEO’s are not active on social networks, in fact, from the list of The Fortune 500 CEO’s, there aren’t many who are active on social media. According to a study that was conducted in the 2015 social CEO report:
– More than 61% of all CEO’s have no social presence, whatsoever.
– No more than 60% of CEOs had active Twitter accounts.
– There is not a singular Fortune 500 CEO is active on all 6 primary social channels.
However, this was in 2015.
In the upcoming years, it is expected for these activities to get better. It is anticipated that more and more CEO’s will join these major social channels and will become regularly active on at least one of those 6 major players – but it will take some time. Once these leading CEO’s join social networks, they will bring with them an abundance of followers as their influence has gained them a considerable following, which will, in turn, increase the number of people who will use these social networks.
It is no surprise that social influencers are set to grow exponentially in 2017. There are 3 leading reasons as to why we will see a boost in social influencers in 2017:
– The traditional advertising methods and techniques simply do not work anymore. Users of social networks have become more aware and averse to conspicuous advertising, with over 47% of all online consumers using ad blockers on their devices. They simply do not like to be bombarded with annoying ads.
– Influencer marketing has been found to be a much more superior approach to traditional marketing techniques. It has been reported that more than 84% of all marketers in a survey had stated that they intend on using a minimum of 1 influencer in a social marketing campaign in the next 12 months.
– CEO’s from the Fortune 500 list of businesses are likely to begin actively using social channels in upcoming years, giving social influencer marketing a significant boost.
Social networks are becoming more complex and intelligent by the day. Social sites use algorithms to display the content that is the most relevant and personalised to its users. This personalized content is useful for users of these social networks, however, it makes it much more difficult for businesses to have organic social traffic.
Facebook alone has made several significant changes to the News Feed algorithm in both 2016 and 2017. The objective of these updates is to prioritise posts from their friends, rather than from any other sources. What does this mean for businesses? Put simply, if a user has liked an organization’s page, then their posts will not receive many organic views, unless the user has specifically selected that they see the organisations posts first in their News Feeds.
There is no doubt that business who fail to invest in paid advertisements will continue to battle with gaining traction with organic traffic alone on social networks such as Facebook, and most others. This gives many businesses no other option than to run paid advertisements. This push will consequently lead to greater competition and it is expected that average bids will for these advertisements will increase in the next coming years.
Social networks will gradually be moving towards becoming standardised platforms.
When a feature works for one platform, it is to be expected that it will be copied and adopted by another. Users will be able to identify similarities in the features on most social channels.
– Instagram has introduced the Stories feature to replicate the features of Snapchat.
– Facebook has also begun the testing of disappearing messages in Facebook Messenger.
– Vimeo has recently launched Virtual Reality video, imitating YouTube.
– YouTube has begun the testing of a community feature. This will allow for its users to post and share texts and images, similar to that of Facebook.
These similar features will be available with most social channels in 2017 making most of the major channels similar to one another and standardised.
In 2016 it had been reported that 23% of B2B (Business to Business) marketers have stated that they intend on implementing a customer-centric organisation culture.
This is set to be a trend as it is becoming more apparent that customers are not satisfied with the service that they receive from businesses. Statistics have shown that 63% of millennials use social networks to keep up to date with their favourite brands, and an additional 51% have started that social opinions play an influential role in their purchasing decisions.
Businesses are set to focus more on offering their customers with a superior level of experience and service through a range of social networks in upcoming years. We will begin to see better managed pages and social accounts with regular and consistent updates, along with faster response times.
For your business to continue to capitalise from social networks, you need to ensure that your social media marketing strategy is headed in the right direction alongside these major predictions.
Remember it’s never too late to plan and implement so that you are not left behind.