The social media industry is changing faster than ever and it is not only risky but also naive to have a nonchalant attitude towards this industry. The changes in the industry that pundits talk about is not only technological but also in the behaviour on how people use it. This is why every Social Media Agency, Executive or Marketer has to keep on evolving their methods to use this industry for the benefits of their customers/employers.
Here are the nine social media trends that have started to gain popularity and are on the rise to dominate the industry in 2017.
1. Social messaging
Messaging apps have a much wider community of users than social networks. In fact, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat together have more users than the big networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Over-the-top (OTT) messaging and SMS messaging are the most preferred form of communication. People tend to be more loyal to brands that engage them via those channels as it has the personal touch, transparency and collaboration that one-on-one communication allows.
2. Live videos
YouTube was built on the idea of videos that capture real, unfiltered moments. Now social media is taking it to the next level by offering the content in real-time. Live streaming video was first made popular by Twitter’s Periscope followed by Facebook Live. Social videos have much more engagement than any other content format, and have been responsible for wider reach for the brands that engage them.
Chatbots are a kind of artificial intelligence that can have a conversation with someone. Facebook had integrated them within Facebook Messenger, and businesses are now using them to communicate with customers.
It’s still early days, but chatbots already have the intelligence and ability to help people consume content, answer questions, and do transactions.
4. Elimination and automation
As the businesses start to realise the importance of efficiency, there is an upward trend in using effective management tools and downward trend in using automation.
Automation feels robotic, while consumers want real, humanistic interactions. With the exception of chatbots, brands are avoiding automation in social engagement.
5. Social shopping & instant purchases
Social commerce is something which is growing very fast these days and more and more networks are providing brands with easier ways to sell to customers. Social media can truly impact a buyer’s impression about brands who are now focusing on buyer’s emotions for purchases. But brands just can’t promote without engaging. Social selling still needs interaction. The process of getting the customer from “Buy” to receive message of “Order completed” will always keep on evolving.
6. Social media as a market place
People are so attuned to be on social networks that they don’t mind at all when something comes up to sell. In many cases, making a social network platform the virtual mall is probably the most natural step in its evolution.
Instead of leaving or going offline their favourite network, they simply click on the “buy” button for anything for sale that catches their eye. Aside from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are already cashing in on this click-away aversion by introducing e-commerce functionality in their respective platforms.
7. Business features and analytics
In 2016, Instagram launched its Business Tools feature, which works in the same vein as Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights. This could mean social media trends point toward native tool enhancements to meet business needs. Analytics and reporting features are nothing new to the industry. The competition is only getting stronger in the social landscape, which results in more analytical thinking and marketing.
8. 360 Degree Videos
360˚ visual content is interactive and majority of it getting a ton of views. Facebook now allows uploading 360˚photos and videos, so that’s one thing to be considered for social media marketing. Nothing special is needed to take a 360˚ photo if someone has Google Street View app and a smartphone. Marketers can use the concept to create some buzz for a page, or to actually sell a product by giving a virtual experience to their customers.
9. Augmented reality
Snapchat selfie lenses brought the idea of augmented reality into the social world. Pokémon Go turned it into a sensation in 2016 which reminded everyone about how important it is for the customer to experience. And just like live video, augmented reality has created new opportunities for brands to connect with their audience by sharing experiences, rather than just information, on social media.