As we wrap up 2016 and get ready to enter 2017, we as marketeers already know that we better buckle up for a whole lot of new social media trends coming up and changes happening to social media platforms. Long story short, here’s my 7 social media trends that I see happening in 2017.
1.Virtual Reality booms & a new VR-Based social media platform emerges
Source: Business Insider
Virtual reality started to take off in 2016 so it’s only natural to see it boom in 2017. We’ve seen many tech businesses invest heavily in VR during the year. From GoPro releasing a series of VR clips on YouTube to Facebook further developing the Oculus, it’s only a matter of time. Virtual reality will soon be integrated within existing platforms or who knows, we just might see a new social media platform that is VR based emerge and try to take over the social media space.
The only challenge companies and platforms will face and let’s face it – is we as humans look dorky while wearing VR headsets!
2. People will begin to use messenger apps more for one-on-one human interactions with brands rather than public social media
It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to turn to private social messaging, rather than engaging with social media. These are becoming so popular that in February 2016 WhatsApp announced it hit the 1 billion user mark.
Brands are already starting to take advantage of the rising social media trend of social messaging. In November 2016, Facebook announced that you can pay to highlight your brand in a users News Feed. When a user clicks on this ad, it would take them directly to a chat window with the brand inside of Messenger.
In 2017 efforts will be transferred from social networks to social message applications. Brands will be able to consider this as another ecommerce option.
3. Live videos and raw content will continue to grow
Live video was another social media trend that took off in 2016 (probably one of the best social media trends in 2016), but it has so much more potential that it has yet to reach. It all started off with Meerkat and Periscope but so many other platforms have integrated this including Facebook Live, YouTube Live, to name a few, with Instagram recently releasing live video to US residents.
Facebook has recently announced that it will roll out its 360-degree video for Facebook Live users for all Pages and profiles in 2017. YouTube has already announced the same feature.
Live video will be a great feature for brands to capitalise on. At the moment you can stream up to 4 hours of video and can even be streamed to groups and event listings so it’s definitely a great way to raise awareness of your brand and build a community.
4. Brands will invest even more budgets into paid social media advertising
Let’s be honest, it’s becoming increasingly harder to achieve results from organic social media traffic. With this years updated on Facebook’s algorithm, less traffic was sent to content sites and posts shared by friends, family and loved ones were prioritised instead of those from brands or content publishers.
This means if you want your brands page to be seen, you will have to revert to paid social media advertising. However, while there is an increase in competition as more people use paid advertising, prices also continue to increase. Brands will continue to increase the amount spent on social media – it is forecasted that by 2017, marketers will spend up to US$35.98 billion on social advertising.
The challenge for creative agencies will be to produce interesting ads that will result in capturing attention and ultimately conversions. Creative agencies will need to focus on communicating their brand message to customers, while also being able to stand out from the crowd.
5. Brands and Public Figures will fight for attention and the quality of engagements on their platforms
As organic reach will continue to decrease, brands and public figures will struggle to ensure that they get the maximum engagement on their social media platforms and capture attention. With that said, brands will need to find new ways to keep their followers engaged and entice them to turn on post notifications. We’ve recently seen Gary Vaynerchuk do just that by announcing a #60SecClub, where he encouraged his followers to turn on post notifications and comment within 60 seconds to get a random prize.
Soon after testing it, GaryVee then changed it to a 5 minute club to be able to get higher quality engagements rather than just spam comments. Here is his article on why he started the club.
6. Social commerce will become bigger and sales on social media platforms will change how people shop online
Source: Business Insider
Imagine seeing a product that you absolutely like and you decide to buy it. What do we usually do? We usually go to the brands website, search for the product and add it to our cart then checkout OR if we’re lucky, we saw an image that was linked directly to their site and do just that. What if you can shop directly by clicking on the product without having to even leave the application or social media platform that you’re on? That’s exactly what’s going to happen in 2017 as social media platforms focus more on social commerce. Facebook has already announced a similar feature where brands can tag products within this post and the best is yet to come!
7. Snapchat and Instagram get serious while Twitter hangs tough
Many of us see Snapchat and Instagram as a fun, visual playground. Until today, advertising has been very minimal on Snapchat while it has somewhat increased on Instagram in 2016. Advertising on these platforms has been very strategic by brands to maintain a sense of authenticity and trust with a brands followers. But as of late, both of these channels have embraced advertisers.
2017 will be crucial for both Instagram and Snapchat as they need to maintain the trust they’ve established with their users but they also need to take crucial steps to monetize the platforms without irritating users. For example, Instagram now offers an option to click on items in a photo and immediately purchase them. A brilliant marketing option that, if successful for Instagram, will be picked up by other platforms in a hurry.
As for Twitter, the rumors of Twitter’s death have been greatly exaggerated. But my guess is: It isn’t going anywhere any time soon, not in 2017 at least. I mean, think of it – Twitter has revolutionised social media, it’s a social media legacy and although it has struggled with declining users, it will take a lot more than that to bring down a giant. Why? Because Twitter knows it needs to make some really strategic moves to stray relevant: selling off Vine, modifying its long-standing character limit, tackling trolling culture head-on are big, bold bets for the future of the company.
Bottom line is that Twitter will survive 2017. Expect to see more features to entice new members, especially around live streaming, multi-screen experiences, and real-time news.