Social media marketing has grown so rapidly, many of the marketing methods of yesteryear have been left to the wayside (TV advertising, for example). Social media users are increasing at a rate of nine percent a year, with social media advertising budgets growing even faster. According to Advertising Age, digital advertising revenue increased by twenty percent last year, for a whopping $59.6 billion spend on social media platforms.

So what does the future hold for social media marketing and advertising? Here are four trends to keep an eye out for in 2017.

  • Coming to You Live in Streaming Video

YouTube’s popularity has done nothing but grow since the year 2006, but the emergence of the mobile phone it what’s really made streaming video a social media crowd sensation. Something about the ability to immediately capture the moment and stream it back live appeals to a mass audience.

As an advertising tool, live streaming video can be very effective simply by using a little imagination and creativity. A live stream that caught over a million viewers at Buzzfeed demonstrated the number of rubber bands it would take to burst a watermelon. Long story short? Live streaming video isn’t going anywhere, and smart social media marketers will be taking advantage of it in 2017.

  • Multi-Channel Marketing

Daryl Shaun Price of You Marketing Gurus says,

“The days of sending out mass e-mails and offering loyal customer awards are over. We have to pay closer attention to where the engagement is happening, on what platform and how we can repeat those results, with an eye towards conversion.”

In other words, finding a cohesive way to integrate your marketing across multiple platforms is here to stay.

  • The Age of Artificial Intelligence

Chatbox is moving in to aid companies that can’t always be right there to answer all customer questions on social media. Chatboxes are designed to simulate intelligent conversation without a human being present.

In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced that third parties could use the messenger platform for creating their own personal Chatbox platform. Since then, Chatboxes have become popular around the world. They are useful for answering frequently asked questions and for inserting a little of your own personality into an artificial intelligence.

  • Social Connection

Social media will continue to be the favored means for companies creating engagement with their customers and potential customers. Not only does it create an instant platform for conversations and video viewing, but social media sites show what people are talking about.

Advertising in 2017 will be focused on trending conversations and discussions. For example, if the topic of conversation is on a recent fire, and you’re a firefighter apparel company, it’s an opportunity to show a safety video or a rescue operation using company products.

Whether you choose to engage in these four social media trends in the coming year, or not, it’s always a safe bet to continue using automation tools and analytics as much as possible. After all, why spend three hours on marketing, when you could be getting the same results in half the time?