Since social media's debut a little more than a decade ago, it has established a strong presence in our tech-obsessed world. While it started as a means of personal communication between friends, it's now infiltrated the core of business marketing practices as well.
Even though social media's history is relatively short, its growth remains overwhelming.
We've compiled a few tips on rising social media marketing trends for 2017 that will help you stay ahead of the game.
1. Live Videos
Live video has quickly gained immense popularity through platforms like Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope. These apps allow brands to reach their followers directly and create a personal connection. For instance, if a brand wanted to host a live Q&A session with fans, everyone that follows their page would receive a notification. Those users are likely to hop online and join in on this unique and expirable opportunity. Even though you can view these videos after they’ve aired (a bonus for amassing views), the ability to watch them live is a huge draw because it adds a sentient energy and allows users to be a part of a moment in time.
But live videos aren't just for advertisements and amusement. Media consumption has changed drastically in the past few years. Many people have abandoned cable, electing instead for services like Hulu and Netflix. Live video on social media fills the gap made from the decline of live television. In fact, just this last week the first Presidential Debate aired via Facebook Live, YouTube, and other social channels. Additionally, NPR and several others posted live fact-checks alongside the debate footage. Because of these services, the debate's online discussion and its audience expanded dramatically.
There has also been much success for companies that use live platforms to market their products and services. Take Benefit Cosmetics for example. The LVMH-owned company began producing a weekly live show called "Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!" Airing each Thursday at 4:45 PM, the show allows viewers to ask questions to the hosts as they drink wine and try on products. Their first broadcast raked in a whopping 42,000 live viewers.
The use of chatbots on social media is becoming increasingly popular—ironic, given that social media was originally designed to foster human communication. Using chatbots for your company allows you to answer consumer messages and comments without actually having a customer-service employee involved. Given the high volume of comments and messages that some companies receive, this is a huge advantage that can reduce the amount of work for customer service reps while improving response times and the number of the replies made. They also assist in retrieving data and automating tasks.
Facebook introduced chatbots to its messaging system back in April of this year. Because this introduction improves customer experience and real-time engagement, many marketers have adopted it with enthusiasm. With chatbots, you can provide 24/7 online assistance for the basic needs of your consumers.
Emojis are the modern hieroglyphic; they depict feeling and emotion, sometimes in a single character. They have become overwhelmingly prominent in recent years—in fact, in 2011 Apple integrated an emoji keyboard as a standard feature for all iPhones, and this year Facebook added emoji "Reactions" to posts. Because of their widespread popularity, emojis can be an excellent way to reach and engage potential customers.
However, before using emojis in your social ads and posts, you should consider the context of your content as well as your target audience. For example, emojis might be an excellent idea if you're posting a humorous video that appeals to a younger demographic. Conversely, they may not be the right approach for a post about accounting software that aims to appeal to company executives.
Another interesting thing to consider about using emojis in social media content is that certain emojis may perform better than others. It may seem silly, but it could be very beneficial to monitor and measure their use.
4. Organic Traffic Decline
Another one of the social media marketing trends to look for in 2017 is the decline of organic traffic. In the old days of the internet, good content sites were few and far between. It wasn't unreasonable to believe that people would naturally stumble across your blog after seeing a Tweet or two, or that you could gain popularity just by growing some Likes on your Facebook page. But now that the internet is flooded with all kinds of amazing content, getting noticed takes lots of work.
Unfortunately, you can’t expect a whole lot from organic social media posts anymore. Facebook and other platforms have switched from chronological updates to interest and relevancy-based rankings. Because of this, it’s become nearly impossible to see results without paying to boost your posts.
Aside from paid social updates, the best way to get your content in front of the eyes of viewers is to reach out to the bigwigs of the industry. Syndicate your articles on larger sites, or Tweet to influencers in your industry to let them know you mentioned them in your latest post.
You should also focus on optimizing your pages to rank well in Google results, sending relevant and exciting emails to your subscribers on a regular (but unobtrusive) basis, and developing a solid strategy for your content production.
5. Automated Tools
The ability to manage your content in a day planner is a thing of the past—the multitude of social media channels out there can be a cumbersome chore. Luckily, there are many automated tools that can help you stay on top of your updates.
With apps like Hubspot, you can plan out your social content well in advance and schedule it to post even when you're not online. Additionally, these apps will help you to monitor data more efficiently.
Automated tools are a valuable instrument for all marketers. Plus, with the vast array of available platforms, automated software is not just a luxury for wealthy companies. In fact, using automated software can actually save you manpower and money.
With Hubspot, you can add authorized accounts to which it will automatically publish content.
6. Dynamic Content
Dynamic content is content that changes depending on who views it, and it's one of the most significant social media marketing trends for 2017. Not only will it help you engage potential customers, but it can also assist you in closing deals you might've missed.
One of the best examples of this is retargeted ads: have you ever been scrolling through your newsfeed and noticed an ad for a product you viewed a few days ago? These types of ads are incredibly effective because they push potential buyers over the edge to become actual customers. Because you're showing a product or service that the person is already interested in, they’re far more likely to notice it amongst the barrage of competing posts.
This ad is displayed to Facebook users who added items to their cart and abandoned them.
People want brands they can trust, and social media has only exaggerated this expectation. Thanks to the prolificness of online reviews and ratings, business activity is highly public and quality service has become more important than ever. While some mistakes are bound to happen, it’s important that you handle them in a prompt and ethical manner.
For example, if someone posts a negative review on your Facebook page, use it as an opportunity to showcase your respect for your customers. Don’t get defensive or snarky, and don’t simply delete the comment either (unless of course it attacks or offends others). Some apps are even turning the tables and rating the customers as well. AirBnB, for example, gives a star rating both to the host and the guest who rents the property.
8. Brand Advocacy Through Employees
Many companies are now using social media to turn their employees into brand ambassadors. For example, a lot of bloggers include links to their own Twitter and Facebook accounts so that readers can follow them individually. Typically, they will use these individual accounts to share content that is related to the company. By encouraging your employees to do this, you’re essentially turning them into celebrities for your business. It’s a great way to generate excitement and a following for your brand. Tools like Social Toaster can assist you in developing a social media fan base by automatically distributing your content.
9. Facebook’s Slideshow Advertisements
One of Facebook’s newest social media marketing trends for 2017 is the use of slideshow ads. As you might have guessed, these advertisements display an array of images within a single ad. These extra images can actually widen the appeal of your ad, helping it to resonate with a larger audience. But you don’t have to just stick with static images in your slideshow--you can also include videos and even music as well.
Including these types of features in your ads is a great way to spice things up and generate more engagement. Plus, multiple images or video allows you to show off more than one product in one ad. Not only do these slideshow ads look great, but they work too. In fact, Stance--a high fashion sock company based out of California--compared their static ads to their new slideshow ads and saw a 2.42X increase in their CTR, a 48 percent lower cost-per-action, and 1.4X boost in their ROI. Those are some pretty impressive stats, I’d say.
10. Snapchat and Instagram: The Importance of Expiring Content
In a somewhat controversial move, Instagram introduced its own version of Snapchat Stories in June of 2016. Since then, they’ve already made it up to 100 million active users a day--quickly approaching Snapchat’s 150 million active users. But Snapchat and Instagram Stories aren’t just for friends communicating with friends; they can also be a fantastic advertising resource.
Brands like Pixar, Netflix, Cosmo, CNN, and even the MLB are taking advantage of the platform by sharing ads and behind the scenes footage. This type of content is incredibly unique because it makes consumers feel intimately connected to your company. For example, Netflix recently published an Instagram story showing fans waiting in line for the one-day opening of pop-up Luke’s Diner locations. This promotion, instigated for the reboot of the show Gilmore Girls, united thousands of fans all over the country by sharing footage of cast members and other fans waiting in line for their free cup of Luke’s coffee. Not only did their actual story get a lot of viewership, but it also inspired a hoard of articles surrounding the event.
The other brilliant advantage of these platforms is that they leverage the popularity of expiring content. Expiring content adds a sense of urgency and capitalizes on people’s F.O.M.O. (Fear of Missing Out). If they don’t view your content now, they may never see it. Because of this, visitors are far more likely to engage with your content in order to avoid passing up on opportunity. Snapchat photos and stories as well as Instagram stories are viewable for only 24 hours after being posted.
Social Media Marketing Trends for 2017: Conclusion
While you may only just now be getting used to the old social media features and practices, you'll have to adapt to these new social media marketing trends for 2017 in order to keep your marketing relevant and effective. Bear in mind that social media is a massive, breathing, and constantly evolving creature that requires constant observation.