2016 has been a busy, busy year in social media marketing – and if there’s one lesson we can learn from that, is that the next year is going to be even more competitive and more difficult to stand out from the crowd. In this post, I’ll be sharing my top tips for social media marketing in 2017 that you need to know: the top trends and how you can jump on them, so that you’ll have a successful social media strategy in 2017.
Social media marketing is going to be a cutthroat industry in 2017; here’s how you can stay ahead:
Video and live streaming
One of the biggest developments in social media in 2016 has been live video streaming. Periscope, Snapchat, Facebook Live, have all seen quite a bit of success this year. Recently, other major social networks have joined in as well: Instagram live is coming to users all over the world and Twitter have recently rolled out a feature that allows you to “Go Live” without having to also get the Periscope app, but directly from within the iOS and Android Twitter apps.
This all shows that live video streaming is going to be very big in 2017; and, luckily, it offers marketers and businesses a new way to connect with their audiences and drive more engagement for their social profiles. There are lots of ways that live video streaming can be used by businesses, for example by unveiling a new product, giving tutorials, offering a glimpse into some behind the scenes action, or by live streaming from an event.
The issue with Facebook Live, in my opinion, is that it’s quite clear that Facebook are really pushing this feature with their extensive advertising. Tube stations, buses, city centres and even TV’s have been inundated with Facebook Live ads. Not only that, but they’re also clearly pushing this feature within Facebook, as it seems to be one of the few things that we all get constantly notified by.
Remember how easy it was for Facebook Pages to promote themselves when the feature came out? And now, it feels like you can barely get your Facebook Page updates onto people’s news feeds. Honestly, I think that that’s what is going to happen to Facebook Live as well – once they reach whatever ‘magic number’ they’re currently working towards.
The fact that they’re pushing this so hard also seems to me that they have a plan in the works to monetise this feature in the near future, especially since they haven’t done this with any other new feature in the past. The notifications will likely be removed and it won’t be nearly as easy to get your live videos in news feeds.
Another issue with the fact that we’re always getting notifications for live videos is that the market is becoming saturated. This means that if you want your live videos to be successful, then you need to find ways to stand out, or else it’s just another live stream in a never-ending sea of live streams.
That said, the fact that Twitter has also added a live streaming feature and they are definitely a more ‘democratic’ social network than Facebook, means that there’s still a way to get your live videos noticed – just on a different platform. In any case, I’m very curious to see what exactly will happen with Facebook’s live streaming videos.
It’s not just live video that will make an impact in the coming year; I’d also recommend investing in recorded videos as well, as they can help attract your audiences’ attention, as well as improve your results from social media and get more engagement. In fact, this type of content might be better to invest in than live streaming as videos get a lot of engagement as well as help with sales.
2017 is very much looking like it will be the year of video, so start creating a plan now for how you can make the most out of this popular content format in the next year.
Influencer marketing has been growing a lot in the past couple of years; in large part probably because social media is helping more people achieve this status. While years ago, if a business wanted to leverage someone’s influence, they needed a huge budget and a big star to help them promote their products, now even small businesses can leverage the power of a social media influencer.
While you obviously won’t be getting the same results as if you had Brad Pitt promoting your product, social media influencers have a pull over their audiences that will help you get more engagement, more traffic and even more sales and conversions. And although it can be time consuming to connect with influencers and build a mutually beneficial relationship with them, it’s very much worth it – so I’m sure we will be seeing even more influencer marketing in 2017.
The issue with influencer marketing, just like with live video streaming, is that the market is becoming saturated. Not just that, but even expert round-ups seem to be happening more than ever. On a slow day, I’m personally getting at least 3 requests for a round-up post – both small and big websites, everyone is doing their best to use influencers in order to get more clicks, more traffic, more comments and more likes.
This shows that in order to stand out, you need more personalized and more targeted approaches in order to be successful.
Virtual reality and artificial intelligence
Virtual reality has been brought to the mainstream in 2016, as many affordable headsets have been made available. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses in 2017, as they will be the pioneers of this new medium.
Artificial intelligence has also evolved a lot in the past year and it will be very interesting to see how it will be used in the coming year. Businesses will likely start investing in more intelligent ways of automating their marketing and social media, in order to get better results, rather than for saving time.
It will also be exciting to see any new developments with augmented reality in 2017. After Pokemon Go’s massive success in 2016, it shows that there is a huge market for AR – it’s up to businesses to find new ways of using this popular concept in the coming year.
The importance of personalization
Customer’s expectations are changing at a very rapid pace. And one of these expectations is for a more integrated, seamless and personalized experience online.
Businesses and marketers in 2017 will need to try to create these personalized experiences for their customers, in order to build up loyalty and better relationships. People are inundated with content from all sides on social media and the Internet in general, so if businesses want to get their own content noticed, they need to create better targeted content.
Omni-channel marketing is also growing a lot, meaning businesses need to find ways of integrating their social media with their other channels in a seamless way. People are very likely to switch between channels when interacting with a business, and they will expect a seamless experience while doing so.
Those with brick and mortar shops need to invest in ways of integrating their social media into their physical shops in inventive ways. This helps create a better experience for the customer (and one that they’re slowly coming to expect as the norm) and it also helps businesses with promoting their business online and on social media.
The importance of mobile
Mobile device usage is in constant growth and, in fact, mobile traffic has even surpassed that of desktop in 2016 for retail websites, which shows a huge shift in consumer online trends.
This means that marketers and businesses have to make sure that their websites, as well as any content shared on social media (particularly images and other visual content) is properly optimised for mobile.
Whatever you share on social media needs to not only look good on mobile and be easy to read, but it also needs to load fast or many of your visitors will simply close the window and move on to the next update.
So, if you’re not already optimising your content for mobile, 2017 is definitely a good year to start or else you might be left behind. It might seem like very obvious advice for many of you – but the truth is, there are still quite a lot of cases where people aren’t optimising their content for mobile devices.
2017 will be a cut throat year for businesses that are using social media to promote themselves. It will be difficult to stand out and get the results needed from social media, but with a bit of planning and outside the box thinking, it can be done. What do you think will be the biggest trends in social media in 2017? What social networks will be the most popular this year? Leave me a comment below to let me know what you think and please share:)