The world of social media is fast. Stop to blink and you might just miss out on the latest ‘hot’ social app, trending news or the newest features being rolled out on your favourite social platform.
Who could forget the tragic demise of Vine last year? On its release, the hype of creating a short and snappy video was all the rage, but then quickly became a fad and less relevant to an already saturated and socially hooked audience.
Being social savvy and informed, especially for businesses who are increasing their social output, is vital in keeping your marketing strategy relevant and fresh. I’m here to enlighten you with what is likely to prove the most popular developments and exciting trends of 2017 across the social sphere, and help your business stay ahead.
Rise of the robots (or specifically chatbots)
Sounds like the premise to a sci-fi movie, but these robots are friendly, honest! Since the chatbot platform launched on Facebook Messenger last year, they have seen a steady and rather substantial increase in its usage and development of messenger bots.
With social media now becoming the ‘go-to’ place for customers to reach out to businesses for information, it kind of makes sense to have chatbots who are always on hand to answer frequently asked questions or provide information on products.
Delivered through messenger apps like Facebook, WeChat, Kik and Slack, chatbots allow your business to be available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, giving automated and therefore quicker responses to customer questions. And with additional features being developed for bots to give a more personal response to your customers, your robot can respond to jokes, with images and crazy millennial stickers.
With customer care and service heading towards social platforms, it might be worth looking into these for your business, as they continue to rise and develop over the next 12 months.
A simple yet revolutionary concept, live video streaming took social media by storm in 2016 and is set to be an even bigger tool for communicating your content, events and news. Video is the future of content marketing, with 83% of businesses believing that video gives them a good ROI*. There’s no wonder then that social media giant Facebook have cleverly made the move to live streaming and encouraging its users to share and communicate with others – kind of what social media is all about!
With live streaming exploding onto the social media scene, it has given marketers’ a way to take risks, be bold and connect with their audience on a human level. Experian are a great example of how you can implement live video streaming into your overall marketing strategy, by streaming valuable content to their audience to engage and ask questions.
Facebook Live and Periscope have been at the forefront of this service, giving people behind the scenes access and live stream events from around the world, that would otherwise be inaccessible. And after seeing the light, Instagram and Twitter introduced their own versions in November and December last year. With rumours of 360-degree live video launching on Facebook and possibly Twitter, this medium is already looking rather lively and exciting for the year ahead.
One that is not exclusive to millennials is social messaging. We all do it. Granted, if you’re anything like me, it can be quite a struggle to keep up with all the various groups you’ve attached yourself to (or been frustratingly invited to join). But social messaging is on the up, especially for businesses who are finding new ways to utilise this communication platform.
Absolut Vodka were one of the first brands to use WhatsApp as part of their social media campaign. By using the narrative of Sven the doorman, the company promoted this campaign across all their social channels, and asked their audience to message Sven via WhatsApp to admit them to an exclusive and restricted party. This type of character interaction proved popular, and other brands like Clarks have used similar campaigns since.
Over-the-top (OTT) messaging has vastly become the most popular method of communicating with friends and colleagues for one simple reason: it’s free! With the majority of users being a younger audience, who, let’s be fair, are used to chatting with their friends for little or no cost, and are a key demographic for brands and advertisers to target. However, it’s important to point out that this isn’t just another avenue for social selling, these messenger apps are there to engage, connect and build relationships.
The most dominant and more established mobile apps like Facebook Messenger and Skype still continue to dominate, but there is a fresh batch of messaging services that are making an impact amongst millennials. WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat, Google Hangouts are seeing a rise in users, with WeChat and Line the most popular in China and Japan right now.
Other trends to look out for in 2017:
Pay to gain content
The rise of the Dark Social
Virtual and Augmented reality
*Stat taken from Wyzowl