Social Media Marketing Trends for 2017 & What This Means For Marketers
The immense power of social media is impossible to ignore. In businesses of all sizes, there has been a surge in the popularity of social media marketing (SMM) across multiple platforms in the last several years. Generating brand awareness and increasing community engagement are the main goals of SMM strategies. Interestingly, 58 percent of marketers admit that driving website traffic and generating leads remain a constant challenge, despite their use of social media marketing techniques.
2017 has already ushered in a new wave of SMM and communication trends as online platforms continue to align themselves with this new landscape, working in accordance with the flow industry trends. To better understand how social media marketing is transforming businesses, it is crucial to unpack these ideas and identify how they can be used to overcome marketing challenges:
Brands will lean heavily on messenger apps to stimulate two-way communication
Used by nearly four billion users worldwide, messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat present an incredible opportunity for brands to communicate with their target audiences. The two-way communication that is possible using these messenger apps will revolutionize the way online customer service is done. Scalable and cost effective, these apps present a fast, cheap and easy way for companies to provide their customers with the assistance they need. Not only do customers receive information more quickly, their overall experience is elevated. Marketers should anticipate that messaging will overshadow social networking, allowing for instant real-time connection with audiences.
Live video content continues to grow
While 14 percent of marketers experimented with live video in 2016, an incredible 43 percent intend to use interactive video as a SMM strategy in 2017. Although there are several streaming platforms online, Facebook Live and Periscope dominate the market. Additionally, both Twitter and Instagram jumped on the interactive video bandwagon in the last months of 2016. Periscope’s 2016 recap noted that users watch 110 years of live video each day on their app. Brands have realized the amazing customer service opportunities provided by live video streaming, including the ability to conduct Q&A sessions and product demonstrations. Social Media platforms have been developing their interactive video capabilities; for instance, Facebook intends to launch 360-degree recording, ideal for capturing buzzing events and breathtaking landscapes.
Virtual Reality will become more and more prevalent
Although it is still new to the marketing scene, virtual reality technology has become incredibly popular among brands worldwide. Similar to live video, virtual reality encourages engagement by offering an immersive and memorable experience. Since video streaming counts for such a large portion of Internet traffic (75 percent in 2016), brands recognize the value of producing interesting and engaging video content. Virtual reality allows brands to tell their stories in a completely unique way.
Social media e-commerce will become an increasingly powerful revenue stream
By the end of 2016, all the biggest social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat) offered in-app purchasing capabilities. In a survey conducted by Aimia, a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company based in Montreal, nearly 56 percent of consumers reported that they followed brands on social media to browse products for sale. Evidently, brands have come to understand the power of in-app purchasing capabilities as options continue to develop.
Brands shift their attention away from Snapchat and towards Instagram stories
With only 150 million users, Snapchat pales in comparison to Instagram, which clocks in at over 600 million users. Facebook’s ownership of Instagram allows advertisers to target based on Facebook and Instagram insights, creating a larger target audience. Instagram’s sleek adjustments to their interface, including the addition of the Instagram ‘story’ has garnered the attraction and support of numerous celebrities and public figures. Thus, the Instagram story capability has become incredibly popular, used daily by consumers and brands alike. Despite the rapid growth and volume of content being shared on Snapchat, the app offers fewer user experience options and measurement tools for marketers. Ultimately, Instagram will offer a great ROI in 2017.
If brands endeavor to drive traffic and generate sales, they must find ways to increase consumer access to the elusive ‘human factor’. Interactive video, organic communication, and virtual reality will help to bring brands one step closer to their target audiences – arguably closer than they have ever been before.
Written by Sydney Van Kerrebroeck