Social media moves fast. Just as you get to grips with a set of features, along comes a new technology and changes the rules entirely. 2017 won’t be any different. Here are six social media trends expected to have a major impact in the coming year.
- Social messaging
Did you know that WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat together have a larger community than the four big players including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram? Forget social networks, 2017 is all about social networking. What does this mean for companies? Right now, it’s not exactly clear. Until brands have the analytics and insights to better understand what type of content is being shared among users and how that affects web traffic and “conversations”, messaging’s huge potential will remain untapped. In the meantime, businesses are taking advantage of messaging for one-on-one social customer service. On Facebook, for example, brands can pay for an advert which takes users directly to a chat window with the brand.
- Paid social media is the new black
This has been the case for a while now but 2017 will be the year that businesses have to sit up and listen. Reaching your ‘own’ audiences on Facebook (and other social media platforms) is becoming an expensive exercise. Why? Cluttered feeds and Facebook algorithms mean that most brands reach, on average, as few as 2% or less of their own followers. So what are the options? Outstanding, relevant and highly shareable content is obviously the Holy Grail for brands. The other option, is buying into native ads that have been developed by the networks (e.g. Facebook promoted posts). Yes, you have to put money behind it (get over it!) but you will find that the return is easy to track and nine times out of ten worth the investment.
- Live video
Video has been the talk of the town for some time now. Now social media is taking video to a new level with real-time streaming. Made popular by Twitter’s Periscope, live streaming is now available via Facebook Live and YouTube live, with Instagram testing their own live video options as we speak. Particularly popular with millennials, live video has great potential for brands that are brave enough to dabble in live vlogging, Q&A’s or event broadcasting.
- Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
This one has been around for a while but Augmented Reality came to the fore in 2016, with Pokémon Go and other apps introducing newcomers to the technology and demonstrating the appeal for it when it’s done well. Several Virtual Reality headsets including Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and Samsung Gear VR went on sale as well, creating a lot of buzz but we’re yet to see VR apps take off. AR/VR is still far from being truly mainstream but we’re expecting more and more brands to experiment with this technology over the coming twelve months.
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Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence that can have a conversation with someone. With Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and Google Allo all introducing integrated chatbots to help companies with bookings and customer service, expect these tools to become increasingly popular in 2017. Especially when you consider more than a third of people already prefer social media over a phone call when seeking customer support.
- (More) Expiring content
For younger millennials the allure of disappearing content is too tempting to ignore. Following the success of Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp have all launched similar features. It seems disappearing content isn’t going to vanish any time soon. It will be particularly interesting to see the inventive ways brands embrace these news technologies over the course of 2017.
To help us keep across these trends and the ever changing world of social media, we’ll be sharing digital and social updates and insights on a monthly basis. Watch this space!
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