How do you think social media will develop in 2017?
That's a question I've been thinking about a lot lately, but one that I haven't really been able to answer by myself. But because social media is so fast-paced, I don't think it's ever too early to start planning your next strategy.
Buffer recently released their blueprint about the trends to look out for over the next year across all the different social platforms. And as we’re nearing the end of a year, I thought this would be a great time to reflect on the world of social media, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Snapchat. Get ready to take note of where these different channels are heading and what's next for them in 2017.
Before we jump in, I just wanted to draw your attention to a key thing that's happened in 2016…
PLATFORMS BECOMING MORE OF THE SAME
It's been the case for many platforms this year, that instead of concentrating on their unique features, they've started using features from one another. It's almost as if they're becoming more alike instead of trying to differentiate themselves.
When Snapchat came on the scene, it was like nothing anyone had seen before. It was live, instant content that disappeared. Instagram, on the other hand was the place for us to publish one or two of our best images - polished and pretty.
That was until Instagram Stories appeared and what do you know? It became very similar to Snapchat.
But they aren't the only platforms that have shown signs of similarity.
- Facebook has introduced a Facebook Live feature where you can record video in the moment and broadcast to a live audience
- Facebook is also trying to become the new place for trending news and events (sound familiar, Twitter?)
- YouTube is testing community features, which essentially involves a community chat within the platform
Basically, every single platform out there is trying to become the best at everything and I think that's how it'll continue in 2017. They'll all be battling it out to become the best for offering in-the-moment, easy-to-digest content.
My other prediction is that video will be even bigger than it already is right now...
OTHER THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD IN 2017
Like the Buffer report, I'll walk you through a couple of highlights for each platform.
Video will continue to grow
Facebook brought SO MUCH to the video table this year and that's only going to continue in 2017. When I speak to people on social media or take part in some Twitter chats, they all say that video is what they want to add to their strategy next year - but specifically Facebook video.
You don't want to be the last one jumping on that bandwagon.
They’ll try to introduce filters
Snapchat will always be popular because because of its ever-changing variety of filters. But Facebook will soon try and take over.
They've already been experimenting with allowing people to wear different masks during Facebook Live broadcasts, but that won't be enough for them soon. If they want to be the best at everything, they'll have to introduce some of the best filters out there.
It's been a mixed year for Instagram, but a brilliant one nonetheless. Now owned by Facebook, this platform just seems to be getting more and more popular, with more monthly active users than Twitter.
Businesses will get more out of it
Business analytics were only launched this year, and even though it hasn't been one of its most popular features, that could all change in 2017.
When they were working on launching their business tools, they went straight to the people who'd be using them - business owners. And what's most important to business owners? Getting more customers, standing out and gaining more insights into their business and target audience.
That's exactly what the business tools functionality offers - plus the ability to create ads directly from within the app.
Along with Buffer, I predict that business tools will continue to evolve over the next year to make this social channel super attractive for businesses to drive traffic and revenue.
They’ll look into live video
Instagram Stories has been the perfect thing for Instagram to introduce to share more in-the-moment ‘snapchat style’ content, and that's only going to get bigger in 2017. But introducing live video takes this one step further.
It's not really a surprise that they've been testing this feature already, but let's just say they'll be a serious competitor over the next year.
2016 has been a seriously good year for this social platform.
Spectacles will become super popular
As Buffer says in their report, Snapchat has been successful in making “tech-filled glasses cool”. They're aimed at teens, which is obviously the platform’s main audience. But what makes them even better is that they're not available to everyone.
Instead of giving powerful people instant access, they've gone straight to the people who actually use their product - teenagers. These are the people who are spreading the word about Spectacles and making every Snapchat user want them. It’ll be interesting to see how this all develops in 2017.
Access to Spectacles also means access to circular video content. Users can record a video view similar to the human eye and you can view it full screen in any orientation.
With this feature you won't have to decide whether to record a video in portrait or landscape. Whatever way you decide to do it, anything will work.
I'm biased when it comes to twitter because this is by far my platform in the social media world.
See the trend here? ;)
Twitter wants to be the place for instant access to what's happening and what people are talking about. The latest headlines, the weather outside - everything.
With the introduction of Periscope, I think in 2017, Twitter will put an even bigger focus on live video content.
For brands especially, this could be seriously important. It could mean lots of real-time conversation with people around the world and bring serious promotional opportunities. And that's the same for bloggers too!
THREE OTHER THINGS TO MAKE A NOTE OF
- Promoted pins on Pinterest - this year has taught me that Pinterest is a fantastic way to grow your blog and with promoted pins, it's going to make it even better. Definitely do some reading up on this over Christmas.
- Microsoft owns LinkedIn - as the only professional network of its kind, this is big news. It'll be very interesting to see how this platform grows over the next year.
- Branded content on YouTube - so much advertising is done through YouTube and that just shows how powerful video is right now. I don't know about you, but a lot of videos I watch on YouTube right now are brands partnering with creators. This introduces so many different opportunities and strengthens the link between both parties. This is so important for our industry and I think this relationship is going to become even more recognisable in 2017. It won't be forced and it won't be advertisey - it'll be completely authentic.
I really hope you found this an interesting read! Make sure to keep an eye on these trends for 2017 as you're using your favourite platforms.
What platforms are you going to make an extra effort with next year? What trends do you predict for social media in 2017? What are you most excited about? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.