What does 2017 have in store for Social Media?

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Social media advertising is projected to generate $11 billion in revenue by 2017.

I’ll just let you get your head around that figure for a sec.

From that statistic alone, it’s evident that social media will continue to be a huge player for people, brands and businesses in the coming new year.

I think it’s safe to say that 2016 has been quite a memorable year. If we take a look back over the past 12 months of social media news, there’s also been a lot to talk about. Our obsession with sharing content has known no bounds. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have encouraged us to keep sharing through the birth of Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, ever advancing advertising capabilities, the domination of video content and the rise of the influencer.

However, in amongst the highs, there were also some lows. Managers of Facebook Business pages have continued to face the ongoing and increasing struggle of obtaining organic reach, Vine was consigned to the social media graveyard and Twitter faced scrutiny over its dwindling revenue and uncertain future.

So, what are the trends we can expect to see from social media in 2017 and what should brands do to prepare?

We asked some influencers and industry experts for their 2017 social media predictions. This is what they had to say:

Simon Calderbank, Associate Partner and Practitioner at i2i
@simoncalderbank

Simon Calderbank

It’s been a whirlwind year for the major social platforms, what with a series of interesting acquisitions – Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn being the standout – and what on the surface, appears to be a blending of which platform’s providing what! Further platform standardisation and consolidation is to be expected as the main players look for greater audience share from their continued roll-out of similar products and services. I reference Snapchat and Instagram as compelling evidence for this blurring…

What 2016 has impressed upon me is that we’re probably only at the tip of a very deep iceberg when it comes to what’s in store on the social media horizon. Brands’ further deployment of video and live video content will play a major role, I’m sure. Platforms enabling users to create and share live content are already happening and will undoubtedly explode in 2017. That and the continued surge of creator and brand partnerships on the likes of YouTube.

And, who knows, maybe more B2B brands will finally wake up and understand how to create a lasting and positive impact with their social interactions, from both experience and service response perspectives. Seems they still have much to learn from their B2C cousins in how to engage, evolve and ultimately, entertain and educate with social media.

It’s going to be fascinating to see what conversations we’ll be having in 12 months’ time around social…There’s bound to be a curveball or two in the making!

 

Nicolas Huguenin – CEO of Visibrain
@visibrainEN

Nicolas Huguenin Visibrain

 

Reputation management on social media is set to become even more challenging for brands in 2017. (Tweet this)

This year has seen a number of changes that will make it increasingly difficult to predict and control PR crisis situations. Twitter’s focus on becoming a key real-time news source, along with the success of Facebook Reactions and Live, have made it easier than ever for PR disasters to start and spread.

Add to that the fake news epidemic and the fact that live video is predicted to be one of the top trends for 2017, and brands are going to be dealing with a lot of different risk factors next year.

As a result, social media monitoring is going to be more important than ever. Timing is crucial when it comes to dealing with a crisis on social media, and monitoring data can provide a head start on identifying a problem before it has time to snowball.

Brands should be keeping an eye on conversations about them online and be prepared to react quickly at the first signs of a crisis.

 

Shu Shi-Lin – Content Producer at Lucky Voice and Vlogger at Shu Likes Clothes
@dejashu

Shu Shi-Lin

With the rise of video across social platforms in recent years, it’ll come to no surprise that live video may very well be a main focus in 2017 – both organically and with branded content. With that in mind, brands are no doubt itching to jump on this bandwagon. Whilst video views are important, some could argue that they’re merely just vanity metrics. Audience engagement and user feedback are now the main KPIs that brands and digital influencers alike are looking for – and incidentally are the benefits of live video.

We’ve seen the likes of Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope, YouTube Live and Twitch becoming increasingly popular and those platforms aren’t showing signs of slowing down. If businesses are looking to tap into this market – the usual criteria still apply except one, your audiences will be able to tell you instantly whether the campaign’s working or not, no matter the preparation or crisis management plan you’ve got in place.

Despite the medium, the golden rule still applies: content is key.

 

Rachael Power, Editor at TechForge Media
@rachpower10

Rachael Power

With an increasing number of chatbots on the market, it’s clear that in 2017 there will be more of a focus on popular messaging apps and ‘dark social’ – perhaps we’ll even find a solution to the intractability of content shared via these apps.

In 2017 there will be more of a focus on popular messaging apps and ‘dark social’ (Tweet this)

Virtual and augmented reality are going to continue to grow even more, as phones arrive on the market with better and better capabilities – 360 video is going to be really hot, given its easy-to-create, sharable nature and ability to host on Facebook. Maybe we’ll even see the advent of the same capabilities for video on Instagram. In terms of other platforms, Twitter may struggle in 2017 unless it keeps up to date with these rising trends, while Snapchat, for example, may increase in popularity but perhaps lose some of its loyal following as it overloads its platform with brands.

In all – it’s going to be an interesting year, and marketers will need to keep on top of what’s going on if they are to keep their brands relevant.

 

Stephen Dyson – Marketing Manager at HMG Paints
@SDysonX

Paddy Dyson

My major prediction is the rise of short, quick content. The emergence of Snapchat as a marketing tool in 2016 and its extensively copied Stories feature has totally changed the way brands create content.  The previously highly edited and polished images and videos have been swapped for raw content; with this, more and more brands will also start utilising video in their marketing.

Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all gearing up to fight for the crown of the live video platform of choice. What will differentiate will be the types of video produced, with the option of 360 degree, augmented reality and virtual reality, creatives have a great opportunity to develop unique content for their brands.

One other trend to look out for will be even more advertising within our social media apps. As the platforms look to make money, ads will be popping up more in our feeds and timelines and even our WhatsApp conversations.

What are your predictions? Tweet us @ov_group to join in the conversation 

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About Olwen Shaw

Olwen is OVG's Communications Director and has a particular interest in all things social media. She's a fan of nana-ish activities, running (sort of) and really wants to own a dog named Atticus.

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