Social media marketing is constantly in a state of flux. New technologies, ways of doing things and even audience behaviors keep coming onto the scene just when you think have it all mastered. It’s always a big challenge developing a strategy, identifying what you should focus on and why.
In this article, we have identified 7 social media trends that you need to watch closely in 2017.
1. Can it all be done on Facebook?
Have you noticed how it is becoming possible to satisfy all your Internet urges right on Facebook? For people who don’t use the Internet heavily for work and mostly for leisure, it is now possible to do everything from within Facebook. You can read and watch news videos, chat with friends and even make video calls, laugh at some funny videos, complain about something, and now we even have live video.
It’s starting to look like you can do it all without having to leave Facebook. When developing your Facebook marketing strategy, think about how much you can accomplish within Facebook itself before you even think of sending people to your dull and drab corporate website.
2. Social is Converging
The recent acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft is going to give rise to interesting innovations. For example, imagine a situation where you can right click in Microsoft Word and one of the menu items is a link to LinkedIn, a page that brings up a search result of professional writers in your area.
You quickly connect and soon you have someone helping you complete your document. No one knows what would happen if Google, Facebook or Apple were to acquire Twitter. There is a lot more convergence on the horizon and no one knows what the impact this will have on social media marketing.
3. Live Video is Hot
Live video started with Snapchat, then Periscope, Facebook Live and most recently Instagram. Live video is changing the way brands engage with customers on social media in a way that hasn’t been explored before. Businesses that aren’t conversant with live video should bring in someone with that set of skills to help them understand how to harness live video for marketing and to train their staff.
4. Paying for Social
According to eMarketer, Social Media advertising spend is expected to hit $35 Billion by the end of 2017, approximately 16% of all digital ad spending. By 2020, it is expected to surpass newspapers and account for about 20 percent of all Internet advertising. Fact is, you can no longer get around paying for social media by focusing purely on organic tactics. To get the best exposure, you must set aside a budget that’s distinct from your overall marketing budget.
5. Chat Bots
Facebook recently introduced chat bots that allow brands to automate customer interaction using pre-configured responses to common customer comments or inquiries. This has proven to be a great way for brands to vastly improve the response times and ultimately improve customer service. Social chat bots and artificial intelligence of this nature will be a thing to watch in the coming months.
6. Everything is moving to mobile
All research indicates that there are now approximately 2.1 billion smartphone users on the planet. This figure is expected to hit 2.87 billion by 2020. In fact, according to ComScore, all digital growth is now coming from mobile devices. The implications for marketers? All social media strategy must have a mobile first design. This means that websites, images, videos and all content must all be mobile friendly.
Marketing and technology are merging swiftly in a phenomenon that is now referred to as “Martech”. Software programmers continue to develop artificial intelligence tools that automate social media marketing. These tools will become more powerful and provide end-to-end reporting across the customer journey.
We are quickly getting to a point where social media tools will offer a kind of “plug and play” solution. But, a caveat, even with automation you will still need to have a good grasp of social media marketing concepts in order to get the most out of automation tools.
As mentioned right at the outset, social media marketing is constantly evolving. What may be true today may change within a few months. There are many other trends over and above those covered here that will shape social media marketing in the future. But, these are without doubt the major one’s to watch over the next few months.
One thing is for sure, though, social media marketing has a bright future and is here for the long haul.