Do a search on 2017 Social Media Trends and you’ll get a list 10 pages long, it seems nearly every news and information sharing site has an article on the ‘Top 4,5,6,7, Millennial‘ Social Media Trends that will ‘Dominate, Take Over, Take Off, Ones to Watch’ in 2017. I’ve read them all (well most of them) so I thought I’d share with you my download on the social media trends that I believe are going to have the biggest impact on Small Business in 2017 and what you should considered implementing and ways to go about it.
Trend # 1 – Live Video
And it’s all about Facebook Live. Social Videos have more engagement than any other form of content. On a recent Hootsuite webinar I watched the presenter quoted a VIP from Facebook saying “the future of Facebook is video and we’ll see the majority if not all post in this format in the very near future”. Audiences on social media are becoming fascinated with live authentic content. Last week Instagram rolled out their Live video version (anyone tried it yet?). This year Facebook will roll out a 360 degree video for Facebook Live and paid advertising on Live Streams.
If you aren’t already using Live Video to promote your small business you need to start. I know it can be very daunting (I was very pooing my pants my first Live video) and you will probably suck at it to begin with (I know I need a lot more practice) but NOW is the best time to suck at video because soon the next video savvy generation will arrive and they will dominate and you’ll get left behind if you don’t jump on board.
Trend # 2 – Social Messaging
Social messaging apps are more than an alternative to traditional text messaging. According to Forbes.com Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and WeChat have more users than the 4 big platforms; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linked In.
Having a presence on Social Messaging apps give you the opportunity to talk directly to your customer and allows you to provide the personal touch upfront. Engaging with your customers this way is free, fast and easy and can greatly improve their customer experience and in turn builds brand loyalty for your business as your customers are able to receive the assistance they need more quickly and easily
Facebook allows you set up ads that drive your customers to the messenger app where can start communicating with them one-on-one. You can also change your contact button on your Facebook page to ‘Send Message’ and when clicked the messenger window opens allowing instant contact.
Trend # 3 – Social Commerce
Social Media is no longer a purely a marketing tool with more and more platforms now offering social commerce making it easier for business to sell directly to their customers.
Pinterest is one platform who have really upped their game when it comes to social commerce with the additional of the ‘Buy it’ button, it allows users to buy your products without leaving Pinterest. Managed through any of these ecommerce platforms; BigCommerce, Demandware and Shopify, you still handle the shipping and customer service and other than the subscription fee to the ecommerce platform of your choice it is absolutely free with Pinterest not taking any commission.
If you’re already using any of the ecommerce platforms above selling your tangible products aimed at the millennial market you need a presence on Pinterest.
Facebook Dynamic Ads is another clever tool for those of you with a catalogue of products to sell. Dynamic ads allow you to retarget consumers on Facebook with the exact or similar products they browsed on your website or mobile app.
Selling on Instagram just got a lot easier too with the addition of the tap to view button that allows your customers/clients to ‘Buy Now/Learn More/Sign Up/Install Now’ and sends them directly to your website or app.
Trend # 4 – Paid vs. Organic Reach
Algorithms – while their purpose is to make the platform user happy with the content they see in their feeds, they make it increasing difficult for your brand to be seen if you are only publishing organic content rather than paid.
In 2017 to be seen and to reach your audience, especially on Facebook and Instagram, you’re going to have to pay. And to get your monies worth your content has to have a purpose and be engaging. Give your audience something to takeaway from your content and they will like it, comment on it and share it.
Here are some simple things that you can do when setting up your ads to keep costs down and to ensure their effectiveness;
- Drive traffic to your website, blogsite or app and only pay for those that click.
- Define your audience, the more targeted your audience the better. Know your markets demographics and use these to set the audience you want to target.
- Lookalike Lists – already have an email list? Import it into Facebook and create a lookalike list of similar people you can target.
- Schedule it, do you know your audiences social media habits? Schedule your ads for the times you know your audience are using the platforms.
Some other social media trends to keep an eye on in 2017 are;
- Augmented Reality – Snapchat bought augmented reality into the social sphere with their selfie lenses and Pokemon Go turned it into an overnight sensation. In 2017 we’ll see more platforms introduce some form of augmented reality filters and/or apps. Instagram Stories already offer some Augmented Reality features and Facebook are currently experimenting with Masquerade. Augmented Reality will create new opportunities for brands to connect with their audiences by sharing experiences rather than information.
- Chatbots – exactly what their name describes chatbots are small artificial intelligence that converse with your customers on your behalf. Facebook messenger already has over 11,000 active chatbots that are able to answer FAQ, provide immediate information on product and services and conduct simple transactions. To engage with your audience and encourage brand loyalty you need to provide exceptional customer care and this includes respond to messages from your customers immediately, as your business grows chatbots will be a way to service this need.
- Social Search – Social is catching up to search for discovery and information seeking. Going online is now synonymous with social networking and social media is quickly becoming the number 1 way people find, decide and evaluate products and brands. To ensure your products/services/brands register on social search make sure you are posting 3rd party content such as customer stories and experiences with your products/services/brand along with video reviews of your products/services/brands by influencers. Distribute some of your content straight to social media, create and publish content straight to social media with Facebook Instant Articles, Facebook Live Videos, Instagram AMA’s and Twitter Chats.
Sources: Forbes.com, Hootsuite.com, Hubspot.com, Sproutsocial.com, Smartinsights.com, Brandwatch.com
I hope you have found this article useful. If you have any questions or comments, don’t forget to leave them in the discussion section at the bottom of this page.
If you’d like to work with Social Elucidation on implementing any of the Social Media Trends mentioned in this article, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0403 323 833. I’d love to work with you!