Social will continue to transform communication during 2017
Which emerging social platforms should brands be watching in 2016? Which shifts in consumer behavior could have important consequences? How will the big networks change?
We’ve looked into our crystal ball- and examined a lot of research reports- to divine the developments that will matter most. Here are the five key social media trends that we believe every marketer should be watching in 2017.
SOCIAL WILL CONTINUE TO TRANSFOM COMMUNICATION
Social media is quickly impacting almost all communications, from how we interact one-on-one to how we engage with select groups.
For example, workplace collaboration platforms like these are altering everything from how teams share information to how they accomplish actual work.
Slack (valuation $3.8 billion)
Microsoft’s teams (launched November 2016)
Facebook’s workplace (launched October 2016)
Another example is messaging apps. These programs are rapidly becoming the foundation of interactions between individuals.
29% of adult smartphone owners in the US already use general-purpose messaging app, such as WhatsApp
24% of use messaging apps that automatically delete messages, such as snapchat
The power of these platforms is just being realized. With the incorporation of AI bots, its now already possible via Facebook Messenger to:
Order a pizza with Domino’s
Book travel with Kayak
Get flowers delivered with 1-800-Flowers
This year ahead is sure to bring more integrations with social platforms, fundamentally transforming how people communicate with each other and brands.
EMPLOYEES WILL BECOME IMPORTANT SOCIAL AMBASSADORS
Its long been known that employees are key assets for brands on social media. These are individuals who have a passion for the products/services and want to share their enthusiasm.
79% of companies say employee social advocacy increases company visibility
65% say it leads to better brand recognition
All of that is why interest in employee advocacy is up 191% since 2013.
The problem in the past was that management of these efforts was difficult. Now, fresh platforms such as these allow marketers to more easily create content for employees to share, measure the results, and reward participants.
Bambu by Sprout Social
As these tools mature, and more come to market, expect the role of employees as social media brand ambassadors to become even more important.
CONTENT WILL NEED TO BE MORE IMMERSIVE AND DYNAMIC
The first social networks were all about text, links, and photography; now video and other more immersive experience are on the rise.
67% of American consumers watching more video on social networks compared with a year ago
60% of viewers expect the amount of social video they watch to increase in 2017
The shift to more dynamic content wont end with pre-recorded video pieces.
Publishers are streaming more 6X live video on Facebook alone compared with a year ago.
There is much more beyond just live video, as well.
Virtual reality internet traffic predicted to increase 61X by 2020.
The exact path that things will take over the next few years is unclear. What’s certain is that consumers will continue to gravitate toward more immersive, exciting content experiences.
SOCIAL PLATFORMS WILL BE LESS DIFFERENTIATED
Not that long ago there were clear boundaries between the social platforms: Instagram was for images, Youtube was for videos etc. Recently, these differences have started to disappear.
Facebook has become a full-fledged video platform, challenging youtube
Youtube has built its community, which includes my facebook-like features
Instagram now has stories, which look exactly like snapchat stories
Snapchat has enhanced its chat features to take on facebook messenger
The expansion of networks goes beyond merely encroaching on social competitors.
Messaging apps like WeChat are taking on payment platforms like paypal
Snapchat has created hardware, spectacles, that go after google glass
Pinterest has introduced byable pins that directly challenge e-commerce sites
As tech companies with deep pockets seek growth, its natural that they will expand into each other’s territories and the territories of other businesses. Expect that to accelerate in 2017.
BRANDS WILL FOCUS ON USING FEWER SOCIAL PLATFORMS
One consequence of social platforms becoming more similar is that there’s less of an imperative for businesses to work across so many of them.
Another thing that influences these decisions is the continued dominance of facebook.
76% of adults in the US with internet access use Facebook
55% of these users visit the social network several times a day
In other words, most online US adults can now effectively and consistently be reached via a single social network. Other platforms become necessary mainly to deliver specific audiences. For example:
Instagram and Snapchat over-index with young users
Pinterest over-indexes with women
Linkedin over-indexes with high-income professionals
Going forward, brands will continue to engage on networks beyond facebook to reach these audiences. However, in 2017, many may also take a hard look at exactly how many platforms they need to use.