The debate surrounding the influence of social media and its marketing trends is over.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more are here to stay.
They’re also more powerful than ever.
Social media channels will reach approximately 2.51 billion users in 2017, or one-third the world’s population.
Whether they’re children in Atlanta or seniors citizens in Norway, one out of every three is logging in to update their status right at this very moment.
That. Is. Huge.
What’s more is that social media, particularly “social signals,” such as “likes” and “retweets,” are now affecting search engine optimization results. The more you have, the higher you will appear in Google search results, and we all know what that means—more money.
The potential social media marketing trends have to shape your brand is boundless, but only if you use them the right way.
But it takes almost as much work to stay ahead of these marketing trends as it does to leverage them for your benefit. That’s why we’ve done the work for you, assembling a list of the top 10 social media marketing trends that will define 2017.
Keep reading to learn how you can be current — and trending — now.
Remember those social media platforms mentioned above?
Don’t forget, we also have LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
We could keep going, but you get the idea.
Managing your messaging across all these channels is a daunting and time-consuming task. That’s where marketing automation comes in.
Marketing automation refers to software and web-based services that can help you schedule and streamline your social efforts.
As an added advantage, you can easily categorize customers based on their social media profiles, behaviors, and interests. This means you can deploy messages tailored to specific audiences at the times that they’re most active.
That means more clicks, more likes, more shares. Can you say #winning?
Still not convinced marketing automation is the way to go? Consider this: 92 percent of companies are losing revenue because they’ve chosen to forgo automation.
Live Video Marketing Trends
Social media marketing trends in a nutshell: If you’re not live, you’re dead. Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope—they are the future.
How big are they? Facebook users comment 10 times more on live videos than on regular ones. As of mid-2016, Periscope had more than 1.9 million active users.
People love live video. They will watch it and they will interact with it.
Adopt live video for your brand by posting live “how-to” videos, exclusive interviews with executives, or sneak peeks of new products.
Being big on social media in 2017 may very well mean thinking small.
Micro-influencers are social media users with a few thousand followers. We’re not talking POTUS here, but maybe presidents of colleges, presidents of fan clubs, or union presidents.
Marketers are increasingly identifying and recruiting micro-influencers among their target audiences.
Because micro-influencers wouldn’t be influential if their followers didn’t trust them. Get a micro-influencer to back your product or service, and you’ve got an instant “in” with their audience.
Toms of Maine used such an approach a couple years back. For every 1,000 micro-influencers the company activated, it received 6,496 “likes” in return.
That’s a lot of likes. And they could be yours, too.
This one is related to micro-influencers, but a bit easier to adapt.
For all you start-ups out there, it’s way less expensive too.
It’s called employee advocacy and it means having your employees share your brand’s messaging with their friends and family members via social media.
You’ll be the beneficiary of the trust that comes with having Uncle Bob vouch for your product.
As an added bonus, employee advocacy can also create excitement and buy-in in the office.
Co-created and user-generated content
Want more engaged social followers?
Put them to work.
User-generated content is an inexpensive way to create brand buzz. It can be as simple as asking followers to post pictures with your new hashtag.
Done correctly, your bang on user-generated content is almost certain to be greater than your buck.
Need inspiration? Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, which represents user-generated content at its finest, boosted sales for the brand for the first time in a decade.
Give users an experience
Remember the PokemonGo craze of 2016? When the app topped 100 million installs in a single weekend? That was crazy, right?
It also showed that social media users are clamoring for an experience. They don’t want to just read, view and respond. They want to do.
Giving them what they want doesn’t have to mean creating a viral game.
Think about other immersive experiences that could be of use to your audience. For example, webinars are great because they engage your audience and allow you to position yourself as an expert on a topic.
Mobile, mobile, mobile
This one probably won’t catch anyone by surprise, but mobile is where it’s at. That’s not changing.
About one in five minutes spent online is spent on social media, and about 80 percent of all social media time is passed on a mobile device, be it a smartphone or tablet.
We want our memes and selfies when—and most importantly—where we want them.
Sure we could text, but why would we when we can take a selfie and add a flowered headband or dog’s snout?
Snapchat and What’s App are gaining traction, with 300 million and 900 million users respectively as of January.
How do you make this relevant to your brand?
Why not customer service applications?
Remember, we live in a real-time world, and customers increasingly expect 24-7 access. Messaging apps could be the way to deliver that.
Need help responding to customers in real-time?
A chatbot could be the way, as plenty of brands have already discovered.
Chatbots are computer programs that simulate conversations with real people. They’re an effective way to triage customer-service issues, or in many cases, outright resolve them!
This is exactly what it sounds like—gathering all your social media analytics and presenting them in a way that makes them easy to understand.
For decision makers, it helps them identify what’s working and what’s not.
Use it. It could change everything. And likely will.
Adapting these trends for your brand, and using them in conjunction with a killer website, standout blog, and social proofing, are sure to garner you more thumbs-up and retweets.
And in this day and age, that could mean money in your pocket.