Every year, I make predictions about what the coming year’s potential developments in the world of social media marketing. And every year, I have to think back and chuckle at all the people who claimed social marketing was just a fad—as little as a few years ago.
It’s clear now that social media marketing is here to stay, and its massive staying power is attributable to one key characteristic—the fact that social media keeps evolving. It responds to new tech like mobile devices, constantly exceeds users’ expectations, and competes within itself to bring us more and better features.
So what does 2017 have in store for us social media marketers?
1. Snap’s Evolution Will Result in Interesting New Opportunities.
First up, I’d like to mention the enormous evolution Snapchat—now called Snap—has undergone, and where it may be headed in the future. Already, Snap has transformed user expectations and major trends in the social marketing world. It’s helped bring back a more moment-focused view of communication, leading to more in-the-moment and live content, it’s facilitated more mobile-centric app developments, and it’s introduced vertical videos into the mainstream. But now, it’s looking to develop products outside its main means of exchanging messages, introducing real-world glasses to help users capture first-person visual information. Expect big things from this recently-renamed company in 2017, and huge marketing opportunities to go along with them.
2. Twitter Fatigue Will Worsen.
Twitter isn’t doing so hot. People have been predicting the death of Twitter for the past few years, but I’m not here to say whether or not Twitter’s going to survive another year (it probably will). Instead, I’d like to point out one potential factor for the app’s decline, what I call “Twitter fatigue.” Twitter built itself on fast, bite-sized updates, but this leads to a barrage of both incoming and outgoing tweets. This was novel and exciting at first, but now users are starting to crave something different—bigger, more detailed, more interesting pieces of content that roll out slower, like once per day. You can see this trend taking hold already in platforms like Instagram.
3. Users Will Crave More Vicarious Experiences.
People are also starting to demand social media as a conduit for more vicarious experiences. It’s no longer enough to post your sentiments about an event; you have to show your users what it’s like to be there. You can do this with things like live video, 360 images and video, and even just more real-time posting. The idea is to make your users feel like they’re a genuine part of the experience, as it’s unfolding.
4. New Areas of Communication Will Emerge.
Historically, social media existed as a way for individual people to communicate online. When brands caught on, it also became a way for brands to speak to and advertise to consumers. But now, social media is evolving in new communicative areas. Some platforms are offering means of customer service, increasing the significance and interactivity of exchanges between brands and consumers. Others, like Facebook, are delving into more professional communication. Expect to see more diversity here as more brands catch onto the potential.