5 Trends That Will Influence Social Media in 2017

5 Trends That Will Influence Social Media in 2017

It’s another year and it’s that time when you need to assess your social media efforts over the last 12 months and decide how to proceed over the next year. Social media has captivated the world since it first burst onto the scene and spread worldwide. But, it is also evolving fast and brands have to remain apprised of the the most recent developments lest the ground shifts.

The following are some of the most important recent social media developements that marketers will need to watch closely over the next few months.

  1. Live Video will continue to grow in popularity

When live video first came onto the scene, it mesmerized users. The idea that you could broadcast yourself in real-time proved hugely popular. It begun with Snapchat and Periscope and later Facebook and, most recently, Instagram. Marketers have realized that live video is a powerful way to broadcast events. In fact, Social Media Examiner reported that 16% of brands experimented with live video in 2016.

And, broadcasting events isn’t the only thing that brands can do with live video. The possibilities are endless, running the gamut from customer service Q and A sessions and product demonstrations to weekly series.

There are new developments expected in this area such as, Facebook’s intention to introduce 360 degree capabilities in Facebook live.

  1. Messaging apps are a big opportunity

Messaging apps are quickly becoming the next big portal for brands. In the discussion about social media networks, messaging apps often get forgotten because they fit neatly into a domain referred to as “Dark Social”. Dark social refers to how users share information over private channels such as email and instant messaging apps. These channels are difficult to measure. For example, if users shared a link to a website on these channels, the website owner would find it difficult to detect where the traffic was coming from. In fact, RadiumOne, a firm of Internet marketing analysts recently claimed that 82% of all social media shares now occur in Dark Social. And, in case you have regarded messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat and the rest as merely options to traditional phone messaging, think again. Messaging apps are used by over 4 billion people on the globe. This is a massive opportunity for brands and as with live video, the possibilities for marketing are endless.

  1. Social Media eCommerce increasingly becoming popular

Research by Aimia shows that 56% of people who follow brands on social media do so to browse products for sale. The same research showed that 31% of people who follow brands do so to look for new items to buy.

Brands should take advantage of these shopping habits when strategizing for the future. Rather than spam users with product offers and buy now buttons, they should instead product trends and gift ideas, essentially, encourage online shopping without appearing to do so explicitly.

  1. Virtual reality video will get more popular

VR is relatively new. Video, like most other digital technology, is evolving at a frenetic pace. What was described as “hi-tech” a few years ago is ancient today. In fact, it is folly to brand new digital products/services using the prefix “hi-tech” because there is a pretty good chance it will become obsolete in a few months time. Virtual reality is proof of this. The unique thing about virtual reality is that it offers users the change to completely immerse themselves in an experience they aren’t likely to forget soon. A good example of how virtual reality is impacting marketing is in real estate. Realtors are now combining virtual and augmented reality. Using Oculus VR, they can give a potential buyer a virtual tour from anywhere on the globe. There is also research being undertaken into how the Microsoft’s Hololens, an amazing smartglass innovation that projects a hologram into real world space, is being used to provide home tours to potential home buyers. It is going be interesting to see how these technologies merge with social media marketing.

  1. Self-destruct content will continue to find its place

Snapchat popularized the phenomenon of self destruct content and soon many other applications offering the same features came along. However, the usefulness of this in marketing hasn’t been very clear until now. A few ideas for short lived content include:

  • Announcements or product reveals
  • Behind-the-scenes looks
  • Contests and giveaways
  • Daily or weekly video series
  • Holiday offers
  • How-to videos
  • Interviews
  • Live events
  • Recipes
  • Takeovers

Conclusion

These are the major trends we expect to have a major influence on social media in the coming months. Keep yourself updated on these developments and more and, tweak your social media strategy accordingly. Don’t be caught flat footed.

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