Top Five Social Media Trends in 2017

2016 was packed with new social media feature launches, updates, and competitive manoeuvres. From the new Instagram Algorithm and Stories, the Vine kind-of shut-down to LinkedIn being bought by Microsoft, the swift changes in the social media landscape definitely kept us on our toes. Now, with 2017 in full swing, marketers need to gear up for the new trends sweeping across social media.

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Here the top five trends we recommend reading up on and even experimenting with in 2017.

1) More Live Video and Video Content

Video was one of 2106’s hot topics. Following the launch of Live Video in 2015, Facebook added Video Stories to Messenger, with stickers, frames, and a wide range of effects to choose from. Not to mention video group chats released last December which you can tap into via Messenger. Twitter is catching up in this area too. 360 live video streams and the integration of the live video app Periscope mean that live streams are now a common feature amongst all types of events.

According to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report, video streaming now generates more than two-thirds of all Internet traffic. Ireland is no different, with 61% of us spending up to 4 hours watching video content weekly (Irish Digital Consumer Report 2017). All digital marketers should be gearing up to make the most of this.

2) Customer Service Chatbots

Wondering what chatbots are? They are clever automated services, that use rules, and even machine learning to provide customer support, answer questions or help users manage their purchases. There is a good chance you've already interacted with them. According to The Verge, over 11,000 bots are currently active on Facebook Messenger.

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What’s their advantage over normal customer service? They are potentially cheaper, faster, and more efficient in dealing with customer queries. So much so that increasing numbers of brands are integrating them in their customer service and marketing strategy, including CNN, Sephora, and Uber. With consumer demand for instant service ever increasing, quick replies to their queries are seen as key to building strong relationships with customers.

Do your customers value fast, efficient customer service? Then chatbots should be on your radar.

3) Employee Advocacy

The phenomenon of employees actively supporting their company on social media can be a real game changer. For instance, Topgolf increased their Facebook likes by 220% after enlisting 300 associates to share updates.

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Turning employees into brand ambassadors wins on a number of fronts. It showcases people's faith and passion in what their company does. It also helps win with Facebook's algorithm, which champions personal updates over branded content.

Creating your own in-house social media army, however, does not happen overnight. Messaging, content generation, training, and the sharing process need proper development to make it easy and relevant for employees to spread the word to their own audiences. Without preparation and strategic planning this could be one that misfires or even backfires.

4) Paid Advertising For Reach

With the amount of noise in the social media space, it is getting harder to get your message heard. Paid content is attractive as it offers enhanced targeting, bigger reach, retargeting options, and additional insights into content performance.

Nowadays, companies are more eager to invest money on social media. According to Adobe, social media ad spend is projected to top $41 billion dollars worldwide this year. The MediaCom Ireland and Irish Times Survey states that 74% of the Irish companies they surveyed plan to spend more on social media in 2017.

It’s no surprise as Irish people are very active on social media, with 2.6 million Irish Facebook accounts, 590,000 Irish Snapchat users and 835,000 Irish accounts (Irish Digital Consumer Report 2017).

Of course, any social media strategy should involve both organic and paid content. Well-developed paid campaigns not only draw people’s attention to your message but also help generate relevant leads and track conversations and ROI. With an ever increasing array of advertising features and solutions available to us we can now shape our campaigns effectively, generate buzz around our products, and ultimately improve the bottom line.

5) Analytics Are Key

Not paying much attention to performance insights on Facebook and Twitter? Well, you are missing out big time. According to a KPMG survey of 830 senior business executives from over 15 countries, "92% are using data and analytics to gain greater insights into marketing." What's more, 72% of them use social media data to grow customer relationships. It is not a shocker; you need relevant data to back up your business and marketing decisions.

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Numbers are key to understanding our success or failure. Just like with Google Analytics, social media insights slice through performance stats to help us reach our objectives. Monitoring and performance reviews help us look into our customers' psyche and behaviour. As a result, we can better cater to what they need while strategically planning our content and managing available resources.

So...

Those are the big trends for social media in 2017 as we see them. What do you see happening in your industry? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook!

Need some expertise to help drive your social media success in 2017? Drop us a line at hello@webfactory.ie.

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Anna Pospieszynska

Social Media Manager

The author

Anna is Social Media Manager at Webfactory and works in the field of social media management, monitoring, and advertising.

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