In this new social media dominated world, businesses who want to capitalise on it and use the various platforms to their advantage, need to keep up with the latest trends. Although it is impossible to predict how the landscape will change over the year we thought we would provide our thoughts on what trends to look out for in 2017.
Live video was a big trend that took off in 2016, with Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope leading the way towards social engagement with customers in ways many brands haven’t explored before.
It is however, clear that there is still much more to come from live video. Facebook has recently launched out its 360-degree video, where users can watch a video in real time, whilst also being able to scroll around it with your mouse or change the angle by moving your phone around. YouTube and Twitter have also released the same feature.
Virtual reality is still new to the marketing scene, with mainly gamers using virtual reality in 2016. However, with the success of last year’s Pokemon Go Craze, social media platforms are jumping on bandwagon with Mark Zuckerberg confirming that Facebook is already experimenting with virtual reality and that he sees it as a key technology in the future. Whether it will take off big time in 2017 is still questionable as there is still a lot of research needed to bring it to the masses.
It’s becoming increasingly hard for businesses to achieve results purely from organic social traffic. Recently Facebook changed its algorithm which caused less traffic to be sent to content sites. Instead it prioritises posts shared by friends and families, rather than those from publishers and brands. Companies may be forced to increase their sponsored post budgets further as Instagram has also reduced organic brand post visibility.
Social media is so much more than just a social tool for businesses. Through social media, customers can now learn about products, shop for them and seek customer service on messaging channels like Facebook Messenger. This is where Chatbots come in.
Chatbots are a kind of virtual assistant that can have a conversation with someone to help with bookings and customer service. Businesses are now using them to communicate with customers. Chatbots allow common questions to be answered, rather than being placed on hold or waiting for a returned email. This is more cost effective and by providing a better experience for the customer, brands can solve their problems quickly and retain them more easily.
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The success of Snapchat has seen many of its competitor’s introducing features inspired by the app with Instagram famously launching “Instagram Stories” in August 2016 which was an obvious copy of Snapchat. The “Stories” feature, where users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours, has been a huge success on Instagram with 150 million people using it every day. Facebook is currently testing a stories style feature in Ireland, where as with Instagram and Snapchat, the stories disappear after 24 hours and you’re able to apply a myriad of filters and effects. This implies this feature will continue to be a big trend in 2017.