2017 Social Media Trends
A new year means new adaptations in your social media marketing campaign. With the face of social media constantly morphing into a new beast that can be tamed for profit, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends in your niche market. To accurately plan for 2017, you should look at not just the platforms themselves, but changes in consumer behavior as a whole. Even the boom of certain new technologies, such as a smart watches, can have an impact on how you plan out your social media marketing. Are your Facebook posts concise enough to fit on a 38 mm screen and intriguing enough to score a conversion? Data from eMarketer shows that there was $23.68 billion spent on paid social media advertising in 2016, and that number is expected to jump to $35.98 billion in 2017.
With the popularity of platforms like Vine and fairly simplistic video manipulation tools like Boomerang, you can now bring life to your content in a way like never before. Smartphones have changed the way people view content, and limited the effort we’re willing to put in to getting information (humans now have an attention span shorter than a goldfish). If you only have eight seconds to convince a potential customer to invest in your service or product, you better make sure that pitch has a killer hook. Stats on video marketing show that 25% of customers disregard companies that don’t produce videos on their website or social media accounts. Four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Imagine how successful a paid social media marketing campaign would be with the backing of increased exposure and the appeal of media-rich content. Having video content is especially important if you don’t have the space for multiple pictures but want to convey, say, the flow of a loft’s floor plan. Guiding videos on how to complete a task can oftentimes be more appealing than written directions. Create a video that goes viral to get your brand name out there, and remember that people love sharing content that makes them laugh or cry.
A new and innovative technology from Snap called Spectacles allows you to video record your experiences in a similar way to GoPro. The main difference is that these videos aren’t necessarily based around high-action recreational activities like snowboarding, and you can instantly share these videos with friends. Check out this video on how it all works:
It’s a bit like the premise of this episode of Black Mirror, wherein a futuristic society has the capability of playing back any memory via a chip inserted in their brain:
Now, we’re not saying the new Snap Spectacles are at that level yet, but imagine the possible exposure your business could generate from a positive user experience that can be relived and shared with others over and over again. The video aspect of a first person perspective endorsement further legitimizes your brand and revolutionizes the way we judge customer reviews online. You can advertise with Snap as well to ensure your business gets the greatest exposure, or use your brand recognition from other ad sources to generate followers for your stories. Produce rave-worthy video content and you can let the organic traffic do the rest. Let your audience do the social media marketing for you.
Snap isn’t the only platform taking advantage of immersive video though. Facebook 360, much like virtual reality goggles, lets users access a full 360 degree image of whatever environment or product you’re trying to sell. You can even cast these specialized videos straight to your Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR headset, bringing your Facebook News Feed to life. This option is great for smaller cities trying to bring in tourism or businesses that specialize in recreation (ie: scuba diving lessons). This goes to show you that it’s not only marketing agencies that are adapting to meet consumer demands, but the platforms themselves as well.
Jump in Paid Advertising
According to Forbes, a social media marketing trend that we can expect from 2017 is a dip in organic visibility and consequential spike in paid advertising. Social media platforms are now bumping up the exposure of individual users over companies, making it even harder for unpaid posts to reach their intended audience. If you’re a company that struggles with creating highly shareable content (the sexy and exciting stuff), this is good news for you. The playing field has been leveled a bit, and you can now work on budgeting to your advantage. Advertisements must take on new and creative forms to attract users on such competitive platforms. With paid advertising on the rise, businesses will begin refining their efforts toward one social media platform that has historically brought in the greatest profit. Instead of dividing your efforts between several platforms that are all used by essentially the same people, you can narrow your focus, save on money and increase your ROI.
Use to Your Advantage
The most important thing to remember with social media marketing is that it goes hand in hand with inbound marketing strategies. If you publish an engaging blog post on your website that’s optimized to get you a higher ranking, share this blog post on social media. Google ranks your landing page based on how relevant it is to the searcher and how high the quality of your page is. If your post generates buzz on social media (retweets, shares, etc.), Google is going to notice. It’s a great way to bypass the tedious process of creating back links as well. If a website with a high domain score sees your post retweeted to them from a trusted source, they might include a link to your post on their own website. It’s essential that marketing campaigns from the SEO side communicate and work with social media gurus to optimize the efforts of both parties.
Social Media Optimization
From this partnership, a new term has emerged. Social media optimization (SMO) is a cross between SEO (search engine optimization) and CRO (conversion rate optimization). Essentially, it is “strategic social media use across several platforms to create or expand a businesses’ presence, product, or service online” (hubspot). This can be accomplished in several ways depending on the feat your business is trying to accomplish. Whether you’re seeking brand awareness (measured in impressions, shares, views, and clicks), lead generation (targeting based on location and interests), or community development (responding to audience feedback, monitoring how your brand is being perceived, etc.), there are several things you can do to ensure no effort is wasted in your social media campaign. If you’re wanting to increase brand awareness, try something that will encourage user interaction. For example, an escape room that has two identical rooms for races between competing parties might try a social media campaign that pits popular icons against each other. A poll tweet that says “Avengers vs. The Justice League—who escapes first?” generates interest because it allows audience members to express an opinion over an issue that they may feel passionate about. Though the question’s relevance to your business may not be the strongest, you’re generating audience participation and (hopefully) getting retweeted.
Social Media Ideas
Hubspot offers tips on how to stand out among the endless number of businesses utilizing social media marketing to get the word out about their products and brand. For one, you can improve brand storytelling through more than just a one-dimensional ‘about us’ video posted on the homepage. Instead, think of something creative that will make your brand seem like more of an interactive, living entity that has just as much personality as a human. This is easier if you have a story/brand that naturally lends itself to a quirky archetype. Advertising agencies specifically have embraced this tactic, using business ‘mascots’ (like office dogs) to entertain their audience and create a symbol that immediately identifies the brand in a fun way. For us, that mascot would be a llama. If your client doesn’t have this same playful identity, you can try showcasing a different employee on your social media sites every week via a ‘Humans of ____’ type model. Try being innovative in how you use social media marketing. Even if your audience doesn’t make a purchase from your company, they might share your video and increase the reach of your brand recognition.
One of the most difficult parts of social media marketing is measuring the success of your campaign. Just because someone doesn’t retweet you doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t leave an impression. While certain programs like Google Analytics can tell you the exact path that users followed from your ad to the lading page to the different pages on your website, social media measurement can be a bit more difficult if you’re doing it without the aid of an outside program. On top of keeping track of all the retweets, new followers, shares, likes, and comments you get, programs like Report Garden, Hootsuite and SEMRush can consolidate this information and tell you the best time to make a post on each platform. They can also research your competitors, present data through graphs and show you which parts of the world are interacting with your social media output. These tools are great resources for testing the effectiveness of your social media campaigns, and they give you solid information to share with your clients about where their money is going.
With the new year, it’s up to you (the beautiful marketing experts of the world) to track trends and adapt your social media marketing to accommodate them. If you’re not sure what to do with all this data, try out Google Insights for some guidance.