The years 2016 saw a lot of developments across a multitude of technologies. As the year, came to an end, technology evangelists started to ponder upon the next wave of development for 2017. Social media in that aspect has been a lot in news for good as well as bad reasons. While on one hand social media was acknowledged by most online businesses for being their prime source of traffic, it also got a lot of flak for fake news that became prominent in 2016.
As the year comes to an end, I sit back and recollect all those naysayers who thought social media was only user centric and there was no room for businesses and brands. However, 2016 has clearly manifested how brands, as well as businesses, can incorporate social media marketing into their digital strategy to capture the respective market.
It is clear now that social media marketing is here to stay and is evolving at a very fast pace. In the past year, it has positively responded to new technologies and created a completely new identity for itself. So what does 2017 have in store for social media and how it will evolve? Before we get to it let us first take look at how 2016 turned out for social media.
You name it, big brands, new businesses, senators, or profit/nonprofit groups, and I will tell you where they exist online (socially).
The fact of the matter is that social media has become an integral part of our lives and businesses are taking full advantage of it.
What television was to businesses in the 90s, social media was that in 2016. Earlier brands used to spend a lot on TV ads and commercials to connect with their audience. Nowadays, these brands are spending the same time and money on social media to ensure they engage with the audience.
2016 was the year for Facebook, despite the entire backlash faced in 2015 it came out with flying colors as the most dominant social media platform reaching 1.79 billion monthly active users. It was followed by YouTube, which has 1.3 billion users.
Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook for a massive amount, saw an impressive rise clocking over 600 million monthly active users. All these numbers clearly suggest that social media is here to stay and brands have started to take cognizance of it. They are also now finding ways to capitalize on social media’s popularity for their advantage.
There are more than 2.5 billion social media users globally and this number is growing at 9% each year. Last year saw a huge influx of advertising spend among brands. A recent report by Advertising age stated that the social media spend grew from $7 billion to $10.9 billion in 2016, a jump of 55%.
All these statistics highlight how 2016 has been a good year for social media. And, analysts state that this is just a preview of what 2017 will unleash.
This is one of the big bets for social networking platform in 2017. Most of the popular social media platforms have already tested the ecommerce water with their buy buttons. Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are considering this arena as the next cornerstone of social media.
In 2017, all these social media platforms will adopt social commerce prominently, and it will drive the mainstream adoption among brands. This will have a huge impact on ecommerce brands as they will benefit the most from this transition which will bring a positive influence on conversions.
First, it was textual updates, then came images and till recently it was videos, which changed the whole paradigm of social media.
The future is all about live videos; people will drift towards live video sharing in coming times. This would also increase the social media usage as people will stay online more often. Facebook, Twitter has already incorporated this feature and it has become a huge success.
Online Businesses are moving towards live videos to engage with their customers. 2017 is the year, when having either a Facebook live, Instagram stories or Twitter periscope strategy will be crucial for businesses.
Already a lot has been said about Artificial intelligence and machine learning in 2016. Platforms like Amazon and Google are betting huge on this technology to ensure that consumers get relevant information based on their query.
Analysts have predicted that Investments in AI will triple in 2017 as social media giants have also take on this technology into their core infrastructure.
Fake news has been a big issue in 2016 and platforms will incorporate artificial intelligence to ensure that this menace gets removed from their platform. Additionally, it will also help platforms to launch robust tools for online businesses to target their users.
Towards the end of 2016, there was a huge buzz around Chatbots and how chatbots are going to drive the next wave of business-consumer relationship.
With the dawn of 2017, Chatbots will take the prime spot in social media conversions. Already businesses like CNN, Poncho have highlighted the prominence of Chatbots in the current market dynamics.
Chatbots will work exactly the same way like Virtual assistants (Google now, Siri and Cortana), but in the specific environment.
Although, this technology has been much talked about, we did not see its implementation in 2016.
Facebook, Microsoft, and Google have been working on VR technologies for the past couple of years and it seems that in 2017 consumers will finally embrace this technology. It will also enable ecommerce businesses to add an extra channel to their content marketing strategy, where consumers will be able to compare, visualize and make purchases in a virtually real environment.
Overall, social media marketing will see massive innovation in 2017, with a whole new set of technologies coming to the forefront.
It is going to be a crucial year for online businesses to boost their social media marketing strategy and capture the market while it is still hot.
Even if you do not feel like incorporating all these trends into your core marketing strategy, think of at least experimenting with them as there’s nothing to lose but certainly a lot to attain.
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