In 2016, the world of social media saw many changes. Video became even more essential, particularly live video, social content publishing platforms were on the rise, forms of social interaction have become even more diversified, among other trends. Moreover, Facebook continued to dominate as the leading social network with more than 1.5 billion users, with messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger coming in close behind.
According to Contently, one hour and 43 minutes “is the average daily use of social media on any device among people in the U.S.” How will people spend that time in the upcoming year? Some trends that are expected to take over in 2017 include brands exploring live streaming and virtual/augmented reality, ephemeral forms of content like those found on Snapchat and Instagram Stories increasing, and adding a greater push for personalization. Take a look at what some industry experts predict for the future of social media in 2017.
What Are Your 2017 Predictions for Social Media?
1. Joe Goldstein, Operations Manager and Lead SEO at Navolutions
Live broadcasts over social media began in earnest in 2016, but have yet to be fully embraced by big brands. Expect that to change drastically in 2017.
2. Matt Edstrom, Head of Marketing at BioClarity – @BioClarity
The Snapchat Spectacles will be a huge success and will pave the way for additional social networks to produce and market hardware. Given the recent acquisition of Oculus by Facebook, and Facebook’s immense amount of capital, they look to be the next logical player in this space, with a focus on virtual reality. If the success of PlayStation VR is any indicator, Facebook and Oculus could be on the verge of something huge.
3. Lindsay Kent, Social Media Strategist at ONTRAPORT
In the next year, I think we’re going to see a lot more of companies’ marketing budgets going towards social media boosting. Not just on Facebook, but also on Twitter and Pinterest. Social media is where the people are, so marketers should be, too.
4. Lara White, Principal of Lara White Marketing Group – @LaraWhite
- Automation – As marketers plates get even more loaded into 2017, many will look to automation as a way to manage and grow their social media presence. Tools such as Hootsuite, Oktopost, Buffer, and Crowdfire are all tried and true automation tools that will allow your social media efforts to go farther, faster. Buffer is one of my favorite social media tools; by putting content you want to share into a queue, you can batch process your content curation efforts. This is a huge time saver. Oktopost allows you to schedule content to post to multiple platforms, another huge timesaver.
- Client Support – More and more customers are reaching out to brands through social media channels. Companies are realizing that clients are moving away from phone and email support and going directly to a company’s facebook page or Twitter for support, and complaints. According to a recent study by Convince and Convert, 42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes. This will percentage will continue to grow in 2017.
- Live Streaming – Facebook Live was introduced in April 2016 and the trend is growing, especially outside North America. I believe we will see forward-thinking brands begin using live streaming as a way to engage audiences and deliver new experiences.
5. Katy Keim, CMO at Lithium
- As the election polls raised questions around datasets, we expect social analytics will become more integrated across departments as brands look to keep in tune with/gather feedback on products, services, and campaigns.
- More brands will investigate and invest in AI capabilities. But many will struggle with when to deploy a bot vs. human, and customers will still be left dissatisfied with their automated experiences.
- Growth in the Amazonification of social commerce. More brands will be looking to successfully integrate social + commerce, with customer reviews and product information all sitting directly alongside the shopping cart.
6. Kallen Diggs, Author & Radio Show Host at Reaching The Finish Line – @KallenDiggs
- Twitter will be bought out through a joint acquisition. One of the parent companies will be Google or Verizon.
- With the continuous growth of Facebook and LinkedIn, Google Plus will suffer and be discontinued sometime next year.
- Disney will buy out Vimeo or DailyMotion to reach viewers online as cable TV suffers a gradual decline.
7. Sandra Nomoto, President of Conscious Public Relations Inc.
I predict that in 2017, more social networks will compete in the live video space, including Twitter and LinkedIn. The competition for attention using live, real-time video – which Periscope, Snapchat, Facebook Live and Instagram offered – will extend to these other networks. I think that we will also start to see a decline in the number of social networks that companies use, while marketers focus their attention on testing live video on the various networks. It is difficult to put in 100% effort across the board; it will take trial and measurement to see where efforts are reaping engagement rewards.
B2B brands will ramp up their authority marketing game in a big way in 2017. They will increase efforts to find new authority marketing techniques to drive their content forward. The B2C market has lead the way in 2016 paving the way for B2B brands. These companies are beginning to understand how having recognizable names associated with their content can help extend their reach and credibility. Those that leverage authority marketing in the following year will benefit without limits, while the rest that eventually come around to the idea will be playing catch-up.
9. Jason Parks, President of The Media Captain
Video is going to explode in 2017. Brands are going to be investing more money into content creation and bringing in people with production skill-sets. Smaller companies are going to purchase DSLR cameras and produce their own content while becoming savvy with Final Cut.
All of the major social networks are giving more organic love to video content. Don’t miss the train on this trend as it is going to be a game changer in 2017.
10. Ashley Faulkes, Founder of Mad Lemmings – @madlemmingz
As a big user of Instagram, I believe they will continue to become more video and moment (like Snapchat) focused in the coming year. After all, live video is where it’s at! They are one of the fastest platforms out there and do not want to lose steam.
I predict they will also continue to push advertising and focus more on business, which has already begun in 2016 with the roll-out business profiles and easier ways to use ads. This is especially important now that Facebook’s ad growth is slowing!
11. Asif Ismail, Principal and Chief Marketing Officer at Inspired Global Marketing – @inspiredgm
Instagram’s Algorithm Will Change Significantly (and marketers will need to focus on advertising to get their message out).
Instagram has already changed their feed, and done away with the old chronological model and adopted a new algorithm that prioritizes content based on its relevance to the user’s interests. In 2017, we would expect an immense push from brands and marketers as they begin to identify ways to crack the code on this photo feed for organic traction. Brands will begin to also realize Instagram’s enormous advertising capabilities, and will begin to shift some resources to it because of its growing audience. eMarketer expects the percentage of companies investing in Instagram Ads to grow from 32% to 48%.
12. Val Popescu, Owner of InternetMarketingProfitsCenter
We often forgot that the most important thing about social media marketing is always related to people. That’s why in 2016 live video become so popular across various social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook Live, Periscope, and YouTube. Live video on social media allows business owners, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, to reach customers directly and create an interactive experience. All over the world companies that use live platforms to market their products and services have reported a great marketing success – over 76% of B2Bs use video with positive effects. Expect this strategy to boom in 2017!
13. Tom Brown, Marketing Assistant at Shiply – @shiply
Personally, I think video will be everything next year. Companies such as Snapchat have revolutionised the way we communicate with each other. Written content is being left behind for video content, with an increasing demand for live-stream.
I expect all social media platforms to force a big push towards video updates and statuses in 2017. Facebook have already been making it easier for users to live-stream video and others are sure to follow.
14. Vernon Vasu, CMO of ReFUEL4
- Marketers will begin testing Facebook ads to a greater degree before scaling – if media is going to cost more, marketers will need to test and test and test again to get the creative right.
- Ad Agencies will hone in on targeting and use it as an important lever – narrowing the focus too tightly could inadvertently raise media costs. Advertisers should test using a broader Facebook audience and then when confident about the creative, take the risk to narrow the focus.
- We’ll see ads that try different formats – mixing videos with statics, using carousels can make a difference.
- Social media advertisers will focus on ad quality – this is a key element as it can push a campaign’s performance up or down by many orders of magnitude. Stale creative; low-quality creative; one size fits all creative; single format creative; will all be penalized in the massively more competitive marketplace of 2017.
Facebook’s limited newsfeed inventory (arguably the most valuable piece of internet advertising real estate) will no longer be business as usual. Social media marketers who value their jobs need to take note urgently.
15. Bart Mroz, Co-Founder and CEO of SUMO Heavy – @bartmroz
The lines between social media and e-commerce are blurring. In 2017, expect to see more brands and retailers look to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for opportunities to showcase and even sell products directly to consumers. Consider that, according to a recent study we conducted:
- 24 percent use social media to look for specific information on products
- and services.
- 37 percent consider themselves impulsive shoppers.
- 20 percent have already made a purchase directly through a social media
- 47 percent admit to having purchased something because they saw it on
- social media.
As social media adoption among all age groups continues to climb, expect to see more brands and retailers turn to social commerce as a viable retail channel.
16. Mikael Lauharanta, Co-Founder & COO Smarp – @BeSmarp
Social media will be social again and the focus in social media communications will shift from companies to their employees as individuals.
17. Matt Wilbanks, CEO and CoFounder at HelpSocial – @HelpSocial
One to Many vs One to One Comes Full Circle
Back in the wild west, people would use smoke signals to communicate. One person, or small group, building a fire and sending plumes of smoke up into the air for anyone to see. Sounds a little like Twitter. As social media gained popularity, it became a fire hose, making it difficult to interact in a meaningful way. With new messaging apps and social media networks like SnapChat, people are finding there way back into communicating on an interpersonal level. Twitter and Facebook have cemented their place in social media history, no doubt, but 2017 will be the rise of messaging for customer service.
- Social posts that have a virtual/augmented reality component will get more exposure as more people purchase VR viewers
- Paid promotion/placement will become a bigger part of companies’ social mix, due to decreased organic visibility (e.g. Facebook tweaking its algorithm to favor friends posts versus companies)
- Live streaming videos will continue to gain more traction as they become a more personable way for businesses to communicate with their followers; and lastly, I believe Spectacles by Snapchat will blow up and become the biggest thing in social (or tech for that matter) in 2017.
For brands, the future of social media will remain a path paved in payment. The ability of social media platforms to monetize centers on first creating a dependency or affinity for seemingly free distribution, but later introducing a fee for the same distribution. As a consequence, in 2017, brands have will be less enthusiastic about adopting new social media platforms – and far more considerate in choosing platforms in which to invest.
20. Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics – @hverkasalo
In 2017, social media apps will drive the mass market adoption of services like mobile payments, car-hailing, and chatbots, following trends that we have already seen in China and Japan. And while social media platforms with huge installed user bases are a natural gateway for this activity, user engagement metrics will matter more than reach in 2017. We’ll keep our eyes on platforms like Kik and Snapchat, which have a fraction of Facebook Messenger’s user base but far higher engagement statistics.
In 2017 Snapchat is going to continue to grow. They have too much traction at this point to be slowed down. People love the social networks both businesses and parents can’t figure out and Snapchat is continually proving to be that platform. Along the popularity of the Spectacles, as well as their 2017 IPO plans, Snapchat will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
22. Dennis Koutoudis, Founder & CEO of LinkedSuperPowers.com – @denniskoutoudis
I see a great shift to short video marketing, both by individuals and brands who will aim to visually grasp the interest of potential viewers with no time to spare. This short video marketing will be based on videos that are extremely powerful and attention grabbing magnets and generate the inclination of viewers to want to click on the website of the respective brand to learn more about its products and services.
- We’ll see an increase in videos on social media platforms, specifically Facebook Live events. More companies are using this tool to connect with their fans and followers in real time, while also demonstrating their product, discussing news or providing a behind-the-scenes look at an exclusive event.
- Images on social media will become even more important, as visuals are an excellent way to connect with followers and tell your brand’s story using more than words. Bonus points go to companies that use images that share people’s faces, which are prioritized higher on social algorithms,or to businesses that use visuals to showcase their employees, letting their audience get to know their team members on a more personal level.
- We will see a trend towards a refinement of which social platforms to leverage, rather than companies trying to use each one equally. Companies will look into which outlet is proving the best for their specific objective, and then will focus on it. No reason for a travel company to worry about Twitter when Snap and Instagram are the best medium for them to speak to their prospective customers with.
- Companies need to start using social media to deliver true experiences, enabling people to genuinely feel like they’re a part of the experience as it unfolds. Social media is longer a place to tell people about an event, you need to show them it. This is now possible through live video and 360-degree images.
- Advertising will become a vital part of your strategy as platforms continue to give more weight to paying advertisers.
- Social media exclusives will be an important way to connect and engage with followers. This can be through unique content as well as coupons and giveaways only offered through social platforms.
- Live videos and high-quality visuals will become even more important to connect with followers.
26. Brittany Berger, Head of PR at Mention.com
- Most of 2016 was about the rise of video, but it’s still seen as a novelty or something “above and beyond.” But with so many brands going above and beyond and so many users just eating it up, in 2017 video will become something brands have to do, rather than something extra and special.
- Social advertising is becoming more necessary as organic reach diminishes, but until recently it wasn’t easy. As platforms adapt and make it easier/more affordable to advertise, more brands will take advantage of that, making it more accessible, but also increase competition/CPCs.
In 2017, the role of video, particularly live-streaming, will become increasingly more influential in the social media sphere. Brands and publishers will create more holistic strategies focused on growing viewership and driving ROI and engagement. With a sharper focus on how live-streaming can (and should) be utilized as part of an overall marketing plan, I think we’ll see it become a viable channel for acquiring new customers, building brand loyalty, and driving new sources of growth.
28. Jessica Moreno, Social Media and Brand Account Manager at Active Web Group – @awg
Constantly evolving, social media is moving more towards visual content, rather than text. Already a trend, video will continue to dominate social media, particularly live video. Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and now Facebook want users to capture and share their real-world moments, creating a whole new way for friends to connect.
Don’t be surprised if virtual reality takes a role in a new social media, as well. Allowing people to see and ‘experience’ things can be the future of advertising. The prospect of selling can evolve entirely when people can literally see themselves with a new product or service.
29. Ed Brancheau, CEO of Goozleology Digital Marketing
Instagram Business Tools will grow and be adopted by more businesses
Sure, Instagram launched Business Tools in 2016 but not many people noticed. To be honest, I just discovered it last month. But they’re making it much easier to reach out to customers on Instagram by creating business profiles that you can use along with your personal profiles. Customers will be able to email your business directly right after they follow you.
And if you have a local business like a restaurant, shop or medical office, you customers can easily get directions inside of Instagram. And, as for business owners, you’ll be able to discover demographics about your followers and how they behave on Instagram. Finally, Promote will make it even easier to promote posts and attract new customers through Instagram.
30. Swapnil Bhagwat, Senior Manager of Design & Digital Media at Orchestrate Technologies, LLC
Snapchat has already turned dominant among users pursuing ‘camera-first’ style of interaction. Facebook and other popular social media networking sites would be keen to introduce the similar or much-advanced features that cater to the evolving needs of the next generation. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will be the other key features that social sites would utilize to attract their audience, and 2017 could witness some extraordinary growth in both the quality and popularity of these innovative technologies.
31. Alex Bar, Owner at Third Temple Digital
I think we will see a lot of social media consolidation in the following year. There’s been quite a lot of it in 2016 too (Microsoft bought LinkedIn, Facebook bought Whatsapp) and this will continue in 2017. Facebook, YouTube and Instagram will reign supreme and Snapchat is something to keep an eye on, especially given the rise of popularity of expiring content and live-streaming.
32. Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls
I predict Gen Xers and Baby Boomers will cut back time spent on Facebook and Twitter with Trump as President. I think post-election people have fake news fatigue and feel they have wasted too much time on these sites which suck their energy and make them feel depressed. What got him elected will not keep people engaged, now he needs to deliver on his promises and execute his plans. Everything else is a distraction. My $0.02.
33. Danyal Effendi, Digital Marketing Manager at PureVPN – @DanEffendi
Social media is going to change a lot in 2017. There are many things that can be predicted against our expectations. The most impact-full prediction is that social media usage will decline among millennial. This will have a direct impact on business as millennial are the main consumers in the digital age. There will be more focus on VR and live videos. Furthermore,everything on the social media will be rated and reviewed real time. The content with high qualitative rating will have more visibility and unaccepted messages will expire quickly.
34. Mark Goetze, Co-Founder of Motion RC
Social media marketing is going to be huge for e-commerce and retail companies in 2017. With the recent addition of “buy” buttons on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, social media is poised to become a very effective inbound marketing stream for retailers, bringing shoppers in directly through the platforms.
35. Phil Baumann, Social Media Strategist for Telerx – @Telerx
- Social media practices and data will move out of siloes and integrated into the mix of other channels, resulting in more holistic operations and insights.
- MMS will become more common in consumer-brand interactions for richer and more visually informative customer experiences.
- Video will be used to enhance social media such as providing instructions for customer service and personalizing interactions.
- Third-party social technology vendors will roll-out capabilities that improve prioritization of cases to support faster response times.
- Consumers will use Amazon Echo and Google Home for inquiries, brand FAQs and self-service as more brands pair will with the devices.
36. Jackie Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at Bozell
From the explosion of Facebook Profile Badges to Bitmoji’s integration via Snapchat, self-expression through personalized content will drive even more opportunities in 2017. Social apps will steadily evolve to provide unique ways to disseminate people’s’ points of view, not only because it’s trending, but because consumer expectations demand it.
Video and portable content will dominate social feeds with social media encouraging reactions, rather than the original content itself, and micro-videos, offered through Snapchat and Instagram, will provide immersive opportunities, including snap-taking, first-person wearing, Spectacles.
Together, this content will enable ‘in the life of’, experiential capabilities that will only increase throughout 2017.
- The continued boom of live social media video and messaging, which requires companies to think more about not only what makes a good video, but also the transparency and authenticity of live video.
- Increased social media fatigue from consumers. As more and more social media platforms become popular – and more and more brands try to insert themselves into those platforms – consumers will be quick to tune out social media content that isn’t relevant, helpful or inspiring. Brands will need to work harder to be relevant, helpful and/or inspiring, and be more selective about what they’re sharing on social media and the tone it takes.
What are your predictions for the future of social media in 2017? Sound off in the comments section below!
Responses have been edited for clarity and length