Social media has changed how businesses approach marketing, and 2016 has seen huge shifts in the world of social media. Facebook has introduced Live video, Instagram has launched Stories, Vine is no more… and as a business owner, you have to stay on top of these changes in order for your message to be heard. No easy task! So what will 2017 bring? What should businesses be aware of? What will social media in 2017 look like?
Storytelling as a marketing strategy is nothing new, but Instagram’s introduction of stories paired with the popularity of Snapchat and Twitter opening up ‘Moments’ to all users means that what an audience expects to see has changed. Think about how you can add storytelling to your social media strategy. Think short, punchy, narrative that will be short-lived (posts to Instagram stories for instance last just 24 hours). Expiring content is something you will need to test and try out in 2017.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
In the world of social media, there wasn’t much in the way of virtual reality in 2016, aside from a few 360 VR videos shared on Facebook. Despite the issue that virtual reality isn’t really consumer friendly as yet (wearing a headset to view something isn’t all that convenient) , VR is being talked about as something that will continue to grow, especially on social media in 2017. Another little 2016 trend you might have heard just a little about was Pokemon Go, a game which blurred the lines between the physical world and the digital world. This app gave users a taste of augmented reality and it was a huge success. Snapchat Lenses were also hugely popular and this kind of augmented reality could even be seen on television each week with Talk Talk’s FX Star (sponsoring the X Factor) showing fans singing their favourite songs with animated filters over their faces. Social media platforms are likely to make the most of these immersive experiences (especially Facebook) and businesses will need to adapt to this new ambient information environment by integrating VR and AR.
In a meeting with a client just last week we discussed dealing with feedback and reviews on social media, and I’m glad they brought it up as this is set to be a bigger problem for businesses in 2017. Lots of businesses still think of social media as just a marketing tool. That’s simply not true anymore. Consumers now research products on Pinterest and seek support and customer service on Twitter and Facebook. People now expect that a business has a social media team to answer questions and resolve issues. And quickly! Statistics from Search Engine Watch say that 72% of Twitter users expect responses from businesses they follow, within the hour. It was once the case that receiving a complaint took place on the telephone in a conversation between just two people, or in a letter sent in a sealed envelope. Those days have gone! Making a mistake in the world of social media is visible to EVERYONE. This makes your social media reviews, comments and queries, and how you deal with them even more important in 2017. We might even have to begin seriously considering social messaging too…
Back in February, WhatsApp reported that nearly one in seven people on Earth use WhatsApp each month! Social messaging allows one-to-one engagement between customer and business, and has given rise to the chatbot. A chatbot is a kind of virtual assistant, working within Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or another social messaging platform and can guide guide customers through tasks in natural, conversational formats. Pizza Hut have introduced a Facebook Messenger chatbot which helps customers order their pizza and answer questions about pizza and Pizza Hut deals. Customers are always searching for prompt and ready replies to their comments and queries, and chatbots provide a solution.
More Live Video
I’ll admit that I’ve been watching a little more television than I should recently, but even so, I’ve been surprised at just how often Facebook has been advertising Facebook Live. While live streaming on social media is still in its infancy, anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. If you don’t have a Facebook Live strategy or an Instagram Stories strategy, now is definitely the time to put one in to place.
Social Media Platforms will Evolve
Let’s be honest here, you don’t need any expertise to see that 2017 will bring more changes to social media platforms. Social media platforms have become such a part of our lives, it’s hard to imagine how we lived without them. As people come up with more innovative content and ways to distribute it, social media will only get bigger. Selling on social media is on the horizon and if social media platforms create the environment for sales, there’s no reason why people won’t buy on social media. Could that be the next frontier?
So, what will social media in 2017 bring? As a business owner, you will need to let go of practices and tactics that are not as effective as they once were, and keep up to speed with changes in social media platforms. We live in a fast changing world, and social media is constantly evolving. You will need to keep reinventing!
What trends do you think we’ll see in social media next year? How will you plan to promote your business on social media in 2017? Let us know in the comments below.