By Sarah Curry, Associate Social Media Director
January 03, 2017
If there is one constant in social media marketing, it’s that things never stay the same. As social networks fight for consumer’s limited attention spans, they must continually evolve and expand their offerings. While it’s nearly impossible to predict the next big thing in social media, here are five trends we’ll be keeping our eye on in 2017:
1. Live, Real-Time Content Will Grow
First there was Meerkat and Periscope, then Facebook joined in and now Instagram and Twitter are hopping on the bandwagon as well. If there is one major trend from 2016 that you can expect to carry into 2017, it’s live video. With a brand new ad campaign, Facebook has shown that it is willing to invest in live video and give it preference in the News Feed. And just within the last several weeks both Twitter and Instagram announced they would be adding live video capabilities as well. It’s a trend that is rapidly becoming non-optional and brands should consider how they can add live video to their social media strategy in 2017.
2. The (Further) Decline of Organic Content
Reaching fans and consumers organically on social media has been an uphill battle for the past several years, and unfortunately that is not going to become any easier in 2017. As social media becomes an increasingly cluttered environment and more channels, like Instagram, introduce algorithms, brands will need to consider additional ways to reach their fans. This could be through new types of content that hopefully inspire increased sharing, or through an increased emphasis on paid media to help promote individual pieces of content.
3. The Rise of Messaging Apps and Chatbots
Facebook has gradually been experimenting with ways to open up its Messenger platform to brands for use in marketing, customer service, and social commerce. In 2016 the company released a new update to Messenger that allows brands to create bots to further the two-way dialogue with consumers. And while there are other companies and apps experimenting with bots, like Kik, Facebook offers the potential for a much larger reach. Marketers, especially those in retail, should pay close attention to this trend in 2017 as more and more brands dip their toes into the water.
4. Continued Decrease in Referral Traffic
It’s no secret that social media networks would prefer to keep users on their platform rather than driving them offsite to other news outlets, brand websites, or apps. As a result, brands and publishers across the board have seen referral traffic decline substantially from social networks. As they begin to map out content strategies for 2017, brands should consider how to make their social media content as engaging and informative as possible, without relying on consumers to click-through to a company website. This also means goals and objectives might have to shift to reflect this new reality in the coming year.
5. Social Commerce Could Go Mainstream
Brands and retailers have been waiting and watching to see how social media networks will more closely integrate commerce functionality into their communities. And while many platforms made strides in 2016, like the introduction of Instagram’s “Shop Now” functionality, or the ability to make purchases via a bot in Facebook Messenger, many brands would like to see this expand further. Pinterest seems like the most natural fit and a recent Business Insider report showed they account for 16% of all social revenue, despite being much smaller than Facebook or Twitter. Brands should continually examine their social media platform strategy to determine which channels might be appropriate for social commerce.
Those are the trends we are seeing in the social media space as we move into 2017. Have anything you’d like to add to the list? Leave a comment below!
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