As the year starts drawing towards a close we start to look ahead to the upcoming 12 months and what may happen in 2017. We are currently putting our 2017 plan in place and there are some exciting projects in the pipeline which we will be sharing over the coming weeks.
Today we are going to look at social media trends which we expect to grow or explode over the coming year. This is a tough game and even some marketers struggle to keep up. Social media moves fast. Just as you wrap your head around a new platform or develop a new marketing tactic, the rules change.
I like to think of there being no rules, you find a tactic that works and milk it while you can then you move on and figure out how to do things better and bigger. Some marketers run the very real risk of being too romantic about social media platforms and that could potentially hold you back if you have had great success in one place.
What better time to start experimenting with new tools and on new platforms than in the new year? If you don’t do that then at some point you will be left behind.
Live streaming has seen a steady rise, it hasn’t quite blown up just yet but you can expect that to change next year. Twitter has been rolling out big changes to Periscope such as a VIP programme and producer tools for high quality streams. Facebook has been pushing live and users are seeing viral success in small numbers.
It is only going to get bigger too, YouTube Live is about to launch and Instagram has confirmed they are working on their own live streaming tool. Video content is blowing up on YouTube and on Instagram and Snapchat stories.
Forward thinking brands and marketers will be watching this space to see what opportunities they can exploit and with Facebook giving priority to video content we should see a lot of people experimenting with video content in 2017.
Want to stay in the game and get bigger? At some point you will have to go all in on video. This year we went all in on Instagram and Snapchat stories, next year we will look to go bigger.
Facebook revealed their Chatbots at F8 this year, however the reality since then is that they were overhyped at launch and just not smart enough in the hands of the public so much of the interest died down.
AI is reaching a level now where it is useful for our daily lives and the rise of digital assistants such as Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant have people talking to their phones to carry out tasks instead of using their thumbs.
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google Allo are all introducing bots to help with customer service tasks such as books so you can expect to be talking to machines more often as brands look to engage swiftly with customers. As a brand, using Chatbots for simple tasks means you could free up your staff to tackle more complicated and pressing issues.
AI will continue to get smarter through 2017 and it will be interesting to see just how far it can be pushed.
Pay To Play
Many of you hate this one because organic reach is not what it once was. I have had many small business owners complain that their company doesn’t get noticed on Facebook anymore and that Facebook is conspiring against them and hiding their page from people.
When I ask how much they spend on Facebook advertising I usually get a blank stare. I have written posts about this before, the social media free lunch is over so you better be ready to get your hand in your wallet and pay for advertising on social platforms.
Expect this trend to continue through the upcoming year, organic reach is not coming back to the way things were before unless you manage to crack viral success. Pay to play will remain prominent in your business social media efforts.
So many of you are still struggling to get your head around Snapchat or Instagram stories and the benefit of content that vanishes after 24 hours. How could that be useful to anyone? Surely it is just a waste of time!
Expiring content has been a success and continues to be a success. All the time you spend on Snapchat you are building a brand, you are building a personable, fun and friendly brand.
It is not about the conversion rate, not about the click through rates and not about how many $$ you can get in your account. Instead it is all about building community and building up a loyal gathering who will then become invested in your brand or product because they become invested in you.
Many of you struggle with Snapchat because it is all about building brands in the long game and not about shoving product in peoples face. Start figuring it out because as I have said over the past year and a half now, it is getting bigger and bigger.
By the time you wake up and come around to that fact it could be too late.
Optimise for mobile has been key for years now but we are reaching a stage where it is becoming crucial. You should be building websites and platforms for mobile first.
Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic this year and Google is working on a new mobile first web index which will no doubt shake up the rankings. Make your mobile experience as good as possible because the reality is that most people are visiting from a mobile device now.
Twitter Will Continue To Decline Before It Has A Chance Of Recovery
Twitter I love you, and I know many of you reading this love Twitter too but the bad news is that the decline will get worse before it ever has a chance of getting better. Twitter will probably survive 2017 but unless it gets bought it may not be in great shape by this time next year.
A buy out seems to be the best option for the company at the moment and the small bite size content that people once loved being fired out through the day is not as hot as it once was. People are gravitating to more interesting content produced less frequently on platforms like Instagram.
People have been predicting the death of Twitter for years, I don’t think it will die in 2017 but I just don’t know how good or bad it will look a year from now. It has become a platform which is hard to sell to new clients looking to get involved in social media.
Quite simply put, how can you sell a platform to a new client when it can’t even sell itself?
Brands Will Choose Platforms Which Suit Their Needs Best
Finally, brands will start getting selective about social media. And they should be like that too. Not every platform is the right place for a brand to be, we are a digital and social shop so we are everywhere but business will find out what works best and go all in on that.
Earlier this year we realised that Instagram Stories worked better for us than Snapchat and we knew we couldn’t go all in on both so we made the decision to go all in on the platform which was performing better for us which as Instagram.
I’m still on Snapchat because I like using the platform but not in a marketing sense, just for personal branding and fun.
Social media and technology is moving faster than ever before, who knows how the upcoming year will pan out but this is a little idea of what you can expect for the next 12 months.