2017 Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch

As we look ahead into 2017, one thing is certain. Social media will become an even more important marketing tool, with the number of users expected to reach as many as 2.39 billion. As social media evolves, it’s important to understand current social media marketing trends and provide relevant content on a variety of platforms.

Here are seven social media marketing tactics you may want to keep in mind when you plan your 2017 campaign calendars.

Video Will Dominate

What is Social Video?

Video in social media marketing is designed to be not just seen but shared. It can be pre-recorded or live. For business, a video need not “go viral” to be successful. What’s important is that it be shareable among your target audience.

Why is Video Important?

Among 2017 social media trends, expect video to continue to dominate. Studies show that up to 70% of consumers prefer to learn about new products through video rather than traditional advertising methods. Whether it’s a “how to” video or a behind-the-scenes look at your company, video helps to build brand loyalty.

What Can You Do?

One thing you can do is develop a process for delivering valuable information through video. With the launch of YouTube Community, you have the opportunity to connect directly with your fan base and drive user engagement.

Live streaming on Facebook will continue to grow. Facebook users have embraced it and are more eager than ever to engage with companies through live video. Is there someone in your organization who could answer frequently asked customer questions, introduce new products or demonstrate how to use one of your products in a periodic live stream?

Employee Social Advocacy Will Rise

What is Employee Social Advocacy?

Employee advocacy refers to the exposure created by a company’s employees through their personal social media accounts. Your employees already have connections on social media, making it easy (and more authentic) for them to promote engagement with your company.

Why is Employee Advocacy Important?

Your employees are among your most valuable assets for growing your brand on social media. It can be a challenge to manage multiple social platforms, but your employees already have a presence on Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram, and others. As social media becomes more crowded, with more and more content competing for users’ attention, employee social advocacy will continue to expand its role in marketing.

What Can You Do?

Incorporate employee advocacy into your marketing strategy by using the same marketing objectives and goals you’ve already developed. Let your employees know what the company wants to share and who the target audience is. It’s up to your employees to choose what they want to share, so make it something relevant to them and their followers. Choose content that will be of interest to people with varying backgrounds and different interests.

Real-time Engagement

What is Real-time Engagement?

Whether it’s a trending hashtag or the latest viral video, real-time engagement on social media provides businesses with the opportunity to interact “in the moment” with their audience. In addition, by monitoring social media, companies can tap into what customers are talking about, particularly if they’re talking about your company, and whether it’s positive or negative.

Why is Real-time Engagement Important?

Among the many functions served by social media, customer service is one of the most important for your business. Consumers expect complaints to be resolved in a matter of minutes. 80% of all customer service requests now happen on social media, a fact not lost on Facebook and Twitter, who have actively worked to turn their platforms into the go-to resource for customer service.

Twitter has recently expanded its 140-character limit to allow for more detailed messaging, while Facebook has positioned its Messenger app as the ultimate tool for one-on-one engagement with a brand. Facebook also tracks and posts’ response times and encourages businesses to provide speedy replies.

What Can You Do?

Develop a strategy to analyze customer activity on your brand’s social media pages. Post links to information that can help answer customers’ questions. Prioritize and respond to comments within a specific time frame, preferably within the same day, and assign resources accordingly.

Organic Reach Goes Social

What is Organic Reach?

Organic reach refers to the number of individuals who see your content through unpaid distribution. For example, if they “like” your page or follow you on Twitter, your posts show up in their newsfeed.

Why is Organic Reach Important?

Growing your reach on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms will continue to become more challenging. Complex algorithms for determine what shows up in a user’s newsfeed, so businesses will need to ensure that content is optimized for search engines.

What Can You Do?

You will need to engage in a certain amount of “growth hacking” to stay visible. This means experimenting with different types of content across different platforms. In addition, businesses must accept that Facebook and Twitter have, to a large extent, become a paid advertising platform.

Mobile-only Apps

What is Mobile-only Social Media?

Many popular smartphone apps have limited or no desktop availability. Some examples of mobile-only platforms are:

  • Snapchat: A photo sharing app that allows messages to be viewed only once, usually for about 10 seconds.
  • Instagram: A photo sharing app that makes it easy for users to edit and share photos and videos to multiple platforms.
  • Live video: Real-time video streaming on Facebook, Twitter (via its app Periscope), and YouTube.

Why is Mobile-only Social Media Important?

According to the Pew Research Center, there are now more people, worldwide, who own a mobile device than own a desktop computer. Marketing Land reports that 65% of digital media time is spent on a mobile device.

What Can You Do?

You need to consider how your content will display on the relatively tiny screen of a mobile device. Simply stated, your content must be outstanding. In most cases, this means using rich, engaging images optimized for each platform. In addition, you should look for ways to incorporate mobile-only social apps into your marketing strategy.

Content Outperforms Advertising

What is Content vs. Advertising?

“Content” refers to blogs, social media posts, podcasts, videos and other forms of marketing that are designed to be shared and help build trust and loyalty, converting users into customers. “Advertising” refers to the traditional methods of marketing through TV commercials, print ads, radio spots and other types of marketing designed to convince people that the product or service a company offers will address a problem, need, or want.

Why is It Important?

With 95 percent of consumers saying they avoid advertising, content marketing will continue to be an important way to reach them. Millennials, in particular, say they are more likely to make a purchase after engaging with content. While still important, “interruption advertising” is not as effective as it once was, with DVRs and ad-blocking software helping people to avoid being interrupted.

What Can You Do?

By providing relevant content, you can position yourself as an authority, a go-to source for information. Once you’ve built an audience, you can determine what products will likely be of interest to them. By consistently publishing quality content, you can keep your audience engaged and encourage them to interact with your brand.

Influencer Marketing Spreads

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing refers to a marketing focus that uses thought leaders and recognizable personalities to help get the word out about your company. Marketing efforts are directed at influencers in an attempt to inspire them to promote your products.

Why is Influencer Marketing Important?

A recent survey of marketers showed that over 80% plan to launch an influencer campaign in 2017. For small businesses with a limited marketing budget, influencer marketing is an effective way to reach large numbers of people without spending a lot of money.

What Can You Do?

As consumers seek to avoid advertisements, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat have become important channels for deploying influencer marketing. There are talent agencies that specialize in matching influencers with brands, as well as online resources such as Buzzsumo, Klout, and LittleBird that can help you identify a pool of potential influencers. Though a challenge, finding the right influencer for your brand will continue to be a top social media marketing trend in 2017.

Get Started Today:

  • Develop a social media video strategy
    • Decide what type of content you will include:  Educational? Entertaining? How to?
    • Who is your target audience?
    • What value will you offer the customer?
  • Create social media guidelines for employee advocacy
    • Make sure employees know how the company wants its brand represented online
    • Provide guidance on discussing the company’s products and services
    • Create an advocacy mission, such as use of a hashtag
  • Set goals for social media engagement, such as
    • Respond to all social media messages/comments within 24 hours
    • Gain 50 new Twitter followers every week for the next month
    • Post a photo of a product on Instagram 3 times per week
  • Research new platforms
    • Expand your strategy beyond Facebook and Twitter
    • Consider the best platform to reach your target audience
    • Develop content specific to certain platforms
  • Consider new ways of engaging your customers
    • Try live streaming on Facebook
    • Develop a list of influencer characteristics
    • Brainstorm ways to tell your company’s story

Easily connect with your customers on social media with some help from Valpak! From creating your social profiles to developing a social media marketing strategy, our Social Media Marketing tools will help you keep the conversation flowing.