If you don’t have a social media strategy for the year as yet, now is a good time to start and if you do have one, it’s important to know what’s coming up to ensure that you’re allocating your time and efforts appropriately. Planning for the year is on top of the list for most so here’s what social media managers and business owners should expect in 2017.

1) Video Marketing 360
All you need to do is take a look at how your Facebook stream has changed over the last year to realize how popular video in social media has become; in fact social media is replacing TV: “41% of pay TV subscribers (cable, satellite, etc.) Are planning to either cut back on or sever completely their subscriptions in the near future”(Forbes, 2016).
Video viewing is most popular on smartphones and is estimated to make up 75% of mobile traffic by 2020 (wsj.com). And of coarse mobile is the best for three new trends in video, 360-degree video, spherical video and VR:

360-degree video
At first these videos look normal – if you keep still, however if you move your phone to the right, the video scene will move with you as if your phone was a camera into a new world. Move left and you will see left of what you can see now, spin around and you will get a 360-degree view of where you are standing in the video.
Spherical videos are one up on a 360-degree as you can look upwards to the sky and down to the ground too.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the master suite offering complete submersion in the video world. You no longer have to look through a small smartphone screen, held at arms length, because VR headsets strap your phone like goggles onto your eyes and the video world will not only move with your head but becomes your entire line of sight.
2) Socially Interactive Videos
Part of what makes these three new video trends so attractive is that they are interactive. You can spice up any form of social media (or a blog) by including a quiz, live polls, surveys and contests.
Live video (such as Facebook Live) has kicked off so well because it allows the audience to like and comment as it is being filmed so that questions can be answered in the video or suggestions can be adhered to. For example “could you move the camera a little to the right?”
3) Market Saturation – Reaching the right audience
People like to be included and entertained but they also have very limited time and there is so much on the net calling for their attention.
Paid advertising
As marketing in social media becomes increasingly saturated, to reach customers organically gets harder and harder and businesses will pay to get their content seen.
Personalization
If you are going to pay to get seen you want to make sure that every rand is well spent. Offering products or information to people who are already looking for these answers is the best way to go.
4) On the go Apps and CTA
If you want to keep an audience on social media or in content marketing, you need to be respectful of their time and make life easier, better and faster.
E-commerce on social media
One example of this is social commerce. Previously social media led buyers in store or to an e-commerce site but wait for a new page to load when you can click buy right there? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. have all included a ‘buy now button’ to place next to your content.
AI
Waiting times, limited hours and public holidays, just wont cut it for customers who are used to being connected to all the answers 24/7. Chatbots are AI (Artificially Intelligent) programs that can take the role of a sales assistant – only they don’t need days off!
5) Native – People Are Selective
As audiences become more and more ad savvy, assaultive advertising can do more damage than good to your brand. Businesses are therefore moving towards offering people useful and quality content and then subtly weaving their products within this.
Other ways you can make advertising less assaultive are:

Employee advocacy
People build better relationships with other people than with abstract brands. People are drawn to brands through positive communication with employees over email or text but also enjoy content posted by a particular person. For example, a poem by an employee.
Influencer marketing
Even better than hearing about a business from a person, is getting a recommendation by someone you trust and admire. You Tube stars and other celebs recommendations are incredibly powerful because fans believe that the star would not work with the brand without truly believing in it.
People are becoming more and more selective about what they spend their time on and more and more discerning between sites and content that add value to their life and those that don’t.
The most important thing will therefore be to continue to create engaging, innovative and interesting content that can be found easily and navigated intuitively.

 

References:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomward/2016/11/22/5-social-media-trends-that-will-change-the-game-in-2017/#2d72b7b11d99
http://www.wsj.com/articles/live-video-what-to-know-about-social-medias-latest-craze-1461691861
https://marketingtechblog.com/social-media-ecommerce/ http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/2017-social-media-trends/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurenfriedman/2016/12/29/4-millennial-social-media-trends-to-watch-in-2017/3/#402df8511a29
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-predictions-2017#sm.00000635zbm51rfekvphajhc3lxi7

Prana Social Media Trends 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfX4gjcj1GA

 

Written by Abigail Koch, Abigail is a student of psychology and anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand. She is a young writer and a published children’s book writer and illustrator. Her interest in marketing, strategy and behavioral economics allows her to be a specialist projects consultant and designer.