5 Trends That Will Transform Social Media in 2017

By: Nancy Grace 
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Social Media Explorer

Social media has been evolving rapidly, breaking down barriers and becoming part of the routine all over the world. It is estimated that globally, 66% of adults log on to Facebook every day. Considering that the global population sits at a hefty 7+ billion people, this is a huge opportunity that you can make use of if you’re a brand.

The path of evolution when it comes to social media has been nothing short of incredible. It had humble beginnings as a portal to connect with friends and family across the globe. Now, it’s grown into a marketing juggernaut that puts most other methods of sales to shame.

The popularity of social media has been growing exponentially and has shown no signs of letting up. Brands have been using it to good effect and have come up with several innovative strategies that they’ve used to make their mark with their audience.

So, what are developments that people should look to in the next year? Well, why don’t we find out…

Social Networking Use Has Shot Up in Past Decade

Networking through this medium has seen a meteoric rise in the past decade. If forecasts are to be believed, it should grow even further in the coming years. Humans are social creatures and this push to connect has been the key to social media developing at this pace.

Social networking website usage

Distances have diminished and people are much more connected than ever today. The number of users will grow at 8% in 2017 to a heady 2.39 billion people! To put this into some sort of perspective – the combined population of India and China is about 2.6 billion.

Having this sort of audience at the tap of a button makes social media a very attractive proposition for developing brand awareness and creating markets.

Employees Turn Into Beacons For Their Brand

If you are working for a company that considers itself “connected”, you might be encouraged to share business updates. This is because brands have now started turning to employees as brand ambassadors to further their brand image. In other words, using employee social advocacy programs has grown about 191% since 2013.

Employees and visitors sharing brand-related updates

What this has done is rather than increase social reach through scaling, it integrates elements (employees) that already have a connected audience. When you pull this off correctly, it can be much more effective at enticing engagement. Consider utilizing tools like Social Toaster to turn your team into a passionate group of social advocates.

‘Real’ Real-Time Engagement

Another key area that has grown through social media is the ability to run effective client support programs. Users expect that a brand needs to have a social team on their feed to answer questions and resolve issues. Statistics from Search Engine Watch highlight this fact – 72% of Twitter users expect responses from brands they follow, within the hour.

In a domino-effect, this has caused brands to start investing heavily into cross-functional social media teams that can keep abreast with the increasing number of client pings every day. Eventually, most brands will have shifted client service entirely to their own social media accounts.

Driving Decisions Through Analytics

Much earlier, social media was more of a hit-or-miss when it came to marketing aspects and relied on “gut feeling” a lot. These days though, social media analytics has gotten more powerful, comprehensive and easier to use for the average Joe. Statistics will play an even more important role in the days to come.

There are a variety of different social analytics tools that can cater to several popular social media platforms like Buffer, Followerwonk, Iconosquare and Google Analytics to name a few. Most of them are free and can accommodate the needs of most SMBs. You can also find other enterprise-level solutions online.

Social Video Wins Again

It’s hard to miss, but perhaps you might have – Snapchat has over 10 billion daily views on its video content. Let’s wait a moment for that number to sink in. This exceeds even YouTube, a website that is built on showcasing video content and straight double of their last year numbers.

The domination of social media over video content as well has been an eye-opener for many companies and it’s only set to increase even further. Brands have evidence that video content is effective and over 76% of B2Bs use them to good effect. Expect this to dominate brand marketing strategies going forward.

So in Conclusion

To be brutally honest, you don’t need to be a prophet to see where social media is going to end up next year. Right now, it has been a revelation on many fronts, news, content, and marketing to name a few. As people come up with more innovative types of content and methods of sharing them, social media will only get bigger. You can find a comprehensive list of social media statistics from iDigic, who has created an infographic about it.

Unlike other forms of media, social media is riding the evolution super-wave into the future. As people are becoming smarter and more aware, so has social media.

From being just a tool to share memes, to leading the charge when it comes to customer-centric engagements for big-brands. We’ve come a long, long way and still, the road ahead looks promising!