As the end of the year approaches, it's time to think about your social media marketing strategy for 2017. But first of all, a look back at social media in 2016.
Predictions for 2016 – How Did We Do?
This time last year, I wrote a post on social media trends to look out for in 2016. Here’s a quick round-up of my predictions and how accurate they turned out to be…
- Ecommerce – October saw the launch of Facebook’s Marketplace option to keep up with the growing mobile shopping trend. This may not have taken the form some predicted, with a focus on community buying and selling rather than brands, but this is a clear push from Facebook to tap into this market. Instagram also launched shopping tags, as it moves closer to becoming an ecommerce platform.
- Audiovisual media – the use of video content has grown dramatically throughout 2016. This infographic provides some interesting facts on just how big video marketing is as we move into 2017. Instagram Stories were launched successfully in 2016, offering Snapchat-like video content opportunities.
- Advertising – we may not have seen pop-ups appear for social ads (thankfully), but social advertising spend surpassed television spend in 2016, ahead of forecasts. Interestingly, ad-blocker usage is also on the rise.
- Privacy concerns – 2016 saw the introduction of the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill. One high profile privacy case this year was Kim Kardashian’s robbery in Paris. Some have suggested that she was an easy target for robbers due to her movements being made so public across her social media accounts. Perhaps more of a rising concern on social media in 2016, however, was trolling and online abuse.
- In-the-moment updates – Facebook Live usage has increased in 2016. According to Facebook, the number of users has increased 4 times since May. Facebook are investing millions of dollars in promoting this channel through celebrity social media influencers and advertising.
- More publishing tools – a reaction to the growth of publishing online, AMP pages were launched towards the end of last year and an increasing number of publishers have implemented them on social media in 2016. These stripped-back pages improve load times, making it easier to consume published content quickly.
- Content marketing – has continued to dominate social media marketing, as predicted, and competition for engagement has become increasingly fierce. Next year, 70% of B2B marketers plan to create more content than in 2016.
This chart demonstrates that B2B businesses plan to create more original content in 2017.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
Overall, our predictions for 2016 were pretty accurate! To read more on them, visit the post. Now let’s look ahead to next year…
Social Media Trends for 2017
1. Virtual Reality – 360 photos launched on Facebook in June 2016, and are seen as a first step towards offering virtual reality on social media. The next logical step would be to offer 360 video content. Twitter have already announced that they will be launching something similar in the new year.
2. Chatbots / Messenger bots – a way of building more personal relationships with customers, brands will increasingly use chatbots to complete simple transactions. This is something Ebay and Shopify are already using. Read more on chatbots and the impact they could have on ecommerce here.
Chatbots provide a personalised customer service experience. Expect to see more of them next year.
3. Content Marketing – content will be king for the foreseeable future, but the key to successful content marketing will continue to change in 2017. The focus will be on quality over quantity for brands, as it becomes an even greater challenge to stand out from the crowd.
User-generated visual content will also become increasingly important for businesses. User-generated content helps to build trust, but there is room for improvement with engagement levels for this type of content.
4. Visual First – video and visual content will continue to dominate social media into 2017. Instagram Stories have been a great success for the platform – with over 100 million daily active viewers, which is set to increase into 2017. Facebook is also thinking “visual first” as we move into 2017, with a new camera and Snapchat-like filters function being tested.
Facebook will offer Snapchat-style filters for photos and video in 2017.
5. Live-Streaming – live broadcasting through social media is predicted to become increasingly popular in 2017. One area expected to see substantial growth is the relationship between social media and television broadcasters. Facebook, it is expected, will announce partnerships with major broadcasters to screen exclusive content.
The trend towards social media over television was seen clearly with the second US presidential debate. Wired reported:
“Sunday night’s debate attracted 63 million TV viewers, a 20 percent decline from the first. But on YouTube, debate content—including all videos related to the debate—garnered 124 million views, a 40 percent spike compared with the first. And that’s just on YouTube. Another 3.2 million tuned into Twitter’s livestream, and Facebook’s Live broadcast partnership with ABC News now has 7.4 million views.”
Twitter are also following the television trend. Twitter has long been the platform of choice for those wanting to discuss TV shows in real-time, and it is inherently more conducive to a live discussion than Facebook. Next year, we could witness a battle between these two platforms to dominate the TV-streaming market.
This chart demonstrates the share of the conversation on Twitter for each candidate during the US presidential debates.
6. Attribution – the lack of social attribution has long been a problem for social media marketers; social media is often left out of marketing conversations in business because it is difficult to attribute revenue directly to social media activity. This is set to change in 2017, with tools like Simply Measured helping businesses to measure return on investment from social media marketing. The effect? Greater investment in social media.
7. Automation – there are a plethora of tools available to automate social media marketing, and automation is predicted to become more popular next year. However, brands need to be careful not to rely too heavily on automation. Social media should be social, after all, so always take time to engage with your audience and build relationships.
How to Plan for Social Media Marketing in 2017
Bearing all of this in mind, here are my top tips for planning your social media marketing strategy for next year:
- Set your objectives and targets – be clear on what you want to achieve with social media in 2017. Will it be audience engagement, awareness, conversions?
- Do in-depth audience research – the key to success on social media is knowing your audience. If you have a quiet period over Christmas, this could be the perfect opportunity to do some in-depth audience research before the new year.
- Make a content plan – if you hadn’t gathered already, you need a content plan for your social media activity in 2017. Your audience research will help to inform this, and look at your competitors for further inspiration. Consider a variety of content formats such as visual, video, interactive, articles etc.
- Choose your tools wisely – find one that works for you, but remember to engage with your social audience in real-time, too.
- Consider attribution – how are you going to measure success so that you can demonstrate return on investment?
Need help with your social media strategy for 2017? Get in touch!