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As 2016 comes to a close, SOCi is already looking ahead to all that 2017 has in store for social media. Every year, companies try to decipher what the next social media trend will be. Will it be live engagement? Or maybe virtual reality? Whatever it may be, we at SOCi believe that anticipating and preparing for future social media trends is crucial to any company’s success.

That’s why our team has compiled a list of trends in social media to look out for in 2017.

6 Social Media Trends For 2017

1. Video Content

Facebook Video: It’s no surprise that video content is one of the front-runners of our 2017 social media trends list. In fact, 70 percent of all social media users have shared a video at some point. Most of the sharing that goes on in the social world, however, is on Facebook Video. This is because, in contrast to Youtube videos, Facebook videos can be shared easily.

There are several ways a video can be “shared” on Facebook. Users can click the video’s “share” button, or they can Like or comment on the video for it to show up on their friends’ timelines. That’s why Facebook videos get more than 8 billion streams daily. Simply put, it’s an easy way for users to share compelling videos with their friends.

Live Streaming: Companies like Buzzfeed and Dunkin’ Donuts have utilized live content to increase online engagement. In fact, when a company broadcasts a live video, a notification is sent out to all their followers on Facebook, further increasing the number of viewers. Although engagement and views are a great way to measure a brand’s online success, live streaming can be ideal for increasing authenticity amongst its followers. The live content is un-edited, showing the viewers the brand in its most unfiltered state.

Facebook Live
This live video posted by Buzzfeed was being watched by more than 800,000 people and received more than 315,000 comments. What’s even better is that the video served as great evergreen content. In fact, it was viewed several more times after it was shot. … More specifically, the video now has more than 11,000,000 views!

2. Chatbots

Chatbots may be part of the social media future in 2017 thanks to the real-time engagement they provide. For instance, let’s say that you’re heading to your flight on Southwest Airlines and you receive a text from them telling you that your flight has been delayed. You write back “What time is my flight?” and immediately you get a response “Your flight is now scheduled for 7:40 PM. We apologize for the inconvenience.” This kind of automated response made our list of 2017 trends because it’s something that so many companies are already looking into.

With tech-savvy users on the rise, there is an increased demand for shorter response times, in larger volumes. That’s why many large companies (such as Southwest) are looking into automated systems, or Chatbots, that are programmed to assist customers online 24/7.

Although chatbots are an ideal solution for quick response times in high volumes, not everyone can afford them. That’s why using human employees to help provide real-time engagement with customers or clients is becoming more important for smaller companies. Whether your online followers leave negative or positive comments on your page, or send you direct messages, it’s crucial for you to respond to them. This kind of interaction not only increases user engagement, but it also validates your brand’s voice; and, hey, if you’re funny enough, your response might go viral.

social engagement
social media trend comments

3. Expiring Content

When Snapchat was launched in September of 2011, the idea of photos disappearing after 24 hours sounded ridiculous. Fast-forward to December 2016. The company boasts more than 150 million monthly users and is worth about $19 billion. Who could have guessed?

So what made this company so successful? Two words: expiring content. The photos and videos posted on Snapchat increased a sense of urgency amongst its viewers. If I don’t watch this snap right now, I will never know what it was about. In this sense, Snapchat hit the jackpot. They understood this “now or never” attitude of the millennial generation and took advantage of it.
expiring content instagram
Recently, Instagram has picked up on this trend and added “Instagram Stories” to its platform. And, now, there’s talk about Facebook picking up the concept for its platform as well. The fact that these social media giants are incorporating this concept into their own platforms says something: It’s time to acknowledge expiring content as a valid medium.

4. Quality Content

Paid Social: It’s no secret that paid ads have been an integral part of social media for a while. However, given the staggering amount of paid content that users are exposed to today, it would be ignorant to say that paid ads are not a social trend to look out for in 2017.

If your main brand awareness goal for 2017 is to increase your presence on social media, paid ads might be the perfect solution. Social advertising is an effective way to target your audience based on specific patterns and behaviors, thereby helping you shine amongst a sea of competitors.

Algorithmic Updates: Unfortunately, this social media trend poses a new challenge for marketers. Facebook recently implemented a new algorithm update that displays newsfeed content based on relevance, rather than on recency. It’s no longer a game of “when did they post,” but, now, “what did they post?” This is not to say that recency is completely dead — it’s just no longer at the front of the algorithmic equation.
Quality content
Instead, the equation factors in the following: the user’s interest, the quality of the content in the post, the creator of the post and the type of post — all before looking at the time the post was published. For this reason, all content needs to work harmoniously with Facebook’s algorithm update. A couple of ways you can ensure you’re posting high-quality content that aligns with Facebook’s algorithm is by incorporating better SEO practices into your social channels or by running tests on your content to see what works.

5. Personalization

Since Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter news feeds are organized by relevancy, marketers need to ensure that their posts are compelling to users. For example, using keywords in post copy is a good way to catch a user’s attention while they scroll through their newsfeed; it’s also a good way to help your social page rank higher in Google’s search results.

Another way to personalize your content so your targeted demographic finds it compelling is to study your audience. What are your users interested in? What will make them engage with your content? The more relevant you are to your users, the better.

6. Social Influencers

As influencers continue to grow on various social channels, brands are realizing the potential benefits of sponsorships and collaborations. In 2016, influencer power has shown to be as effective as friend recommendations in achieving user trust. Why? On average, 40 percent of social media users follow brands or influencers on at least one social channel.

For example, Lagavulin recently partnered with Nick Offerman, aka Ron Swanson, to shoot a video to make their whiskey brand more appealing to his millennial followers. The concept was simple: Create a 45-minute video of Nick sitting in a chair, sipping a glass of Lagavulin whiskey. The campaign was incredibly successful and even won a Shorty Award!

social media influencer

As social media marketers, it’s crucial to sync our strategies with social media trends. Whether that entails producing quality content, working with social influencers or deciphering algorithm updates, there are several ways to engage your desired audience. You just have to keep yourself in the loop.

So, will you be adding any of these social media trends to your 2017 New Year’s resolutions? Let us know!

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