2017 is quite literally right around the corner. With the new year comes lots of exciting updates with our favorite social platforms. From rebranding to machines communicating with us, 2017 is sure to keep our marketing teams busy! Below are a few trends I’ll be watching and preparing for, you should to. We will have a lot of opportunities to grow the loyal customer base and give them a chance to really see brands as a lifestyle. I’m excited to try some creative campaigns in the upcoming year! If there are any other social media trends you’ve got your eye on, or if you’ve got some fun/creative marketing ideas, let me know in the comments!
1. Users want an Experience
In 2016 we saw some of our favorite social sites roll out exciting video features. Heading up the trend was the ability to create a 360 video. Facebook allowed users to take a video and have friends move their phones and experience the full 360 view. It was a great start, but didn’t end there. Facebook Life became an overnight appeal. Users could get an inside look at brand events and watch experiences from friends’ eyes. The live video option opened a whole new world for companies, brands, and advertisers. With the introduction of the live video, engagement became more personal and inclusive. Instagram rolled out Live Stories recently allowing users who favor their platform (owned by Facebook) the same branding and communication opportunity. 2017 will hopefully test brand creatives to connect with users by giving them an experience rather than posting a delayed video or photo from events, followers will actually be able to watch events as if they were in attendance. This will be crucial as the marketing game evolves.
2. Rise in Paid Social Media Advertising
For those of you who struggle to gain organic results from social media campaigns, you’re not alone. It has become more and more difficult to get results from organic engagement. The big problem facing companies is that they now must produce ads that result in conversation. The idea behind creative ads that result in conversation is to communicate brand by standing out. Users will pass by hundreds of ads during the day, but if yours grasps their attention, you’ve gained a possible customer, loyal follower, or influencer.
3. Influencer Marketing
This is no longer the age of paid actor advertisements. If you want to grow your business and increase interest in your product, find an influencer. Businesses are reaching out to community influencers online who hold the values of their company to share the brand with followers. Reaching out to influencers in the brand realm, not just anyone with a large following is the trick. An example of the use of successful influencer marketing is @The_Southern_Yogi on Instagram who advertises @aloyoga a yoga clothing brand on her page. She wears the clothing and presents the company in a positive way, showing the brand as part of her lifestyle. This works well because her followers are the target market for the company.
4. Instagram Stories and Live Video
What’s better than having a platform where you can do it all in one place. Instagram now offers Instagram Stories (Snapchat) and Live Video (Facebook Live), on their platform. You no longer have to switch apps when you want to give followers a real time look at an event or interview, and followers can have a glimpse into the behind the scenes business through stories. The draw for most to Instagram is that they can share the best, most photogenic aspects of their lives. It’s a piece of perfection when we all know how messy life can be. They now offer a place to share the less than perfect, Instagram Stories are on the rise, because they disappear just like Snaps. Users can make silly faces, bloopers, or post a fuzzy photo without fearing that it’s ruining their page aesthetic. As a business this is the perfect opportunity to share employees having fun, a sneak peek at the work behind the scenes. Did the office have donuts for breakfast? Post that to Stories. It gives followers and customers and inside look, and makes them feel part of your brand.
5. Real-Time Engagement with Brands
Over Thanksgiving I ordered a pair of pants during a huge sale. The company I ordered from was having issues with their processing, and I was unable to place an order for over 3 hours! I took to their Instagram to see many people commenting the same issue. The one thing that kept me trying again and again to order was their prompt – and seemingly not automated – customer service. Each social platform had quick responses tagging individual complaints. This is how consumers expect brands to react. They want quick responses from brands, and brands are beginning to shift their customer service solely to social sites. This is more cost effective and convenient for the company and the customer.
6. The Time for AI (Artificial Intelligence) is Now
In simple terms, AI is a computer’s ability to perform a task normally done by a person. The technology is growing quickly and the endgame is to have the computer be able to respond the way a human being would. This process would revolutionize customer service and business interaction. Brands could soon start speaking to you as a friend asking for a voice response. You could get a phone call or a text message from an AI machine asking your opinion on a recent purchase. The idea is that the computer can learn your likes, dislikes, and shopping patterns. While this is a GREAT marketing tool, we may see some pushback from consumers who are uncomfortable with a machine knowing them so well. Luckily, AI is slowly being introduced into everyday life. Do any of you use Siri? Or own Amazon Echo or Google Home? These are the leaders of the AI trend, and it shows no signs of slowing down as 2017 approaches.