One of the fastest growing digital marketing platforms, social media with its ever changing new features and increasing consumer preferences is providing new opportunities for various brands. The social media trends will continue to surprise us even further as the continuous change is making the social media marketing landscape almost impossible to predict.
The ever changing trends even if impossible to predict but with the help of past occurrences, offers us an insight into what the future holds for social media marketing. Over the course of the year there are many trends which social media marketers need to keep an eye on in 2017, some of which are detailed below.
Rise of Customer Service Chat-bots
With every customer preferring to interact with a brand on the go from mobile device, it becomes essential for the brands to provide immediate response to the customer queries. Most of the brands be it big or small are trying to incorporate new tools for increased customer engagement. They are expected to provide fast yet reliable solution to customer queries across all social channels be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Most of the businesses entering social media platform for the first time should focus on consumers who are active on social media. Compared to 2016 the average number of responses needing an insightful response grew by about 18% over the year in 2017.
Compared to social media, traditional help desks has resulted in increased wait times and longer queues leading to poor customer experience. This has resulted in many brands looking for ways to provide rich customer experience and hence are turning to automated technologies such as chat-bots.
Most of the brands need quick response time with simple query solving skills which chat-bots are proving to be efficient at. This in turn helps customer service representatives to utilize time efficiently and focus more on high level interactions and complex customer demands.
As the role of customer service representative, artificial intelligence and technology is proving to be an effective tool. Chat-bots are growing in popularity as a preferred medium to provide cost effective yet resourceful solution in customer service operations.
In 2016 more than 2.1 billion consumers owned a smartphone which is expected to increase to 2.3 billion as per the Statistics Portal. With mobile traffic now exceeding traffic from desktop counterpart it becomes increasingly important for brands to have mobile friendly websites and apps. Since mobile friendliness is one of the key ranking factors for a website in Google search engine, it becomes even more important to have a mobile friendly version of your website.
The social media revenues for Facebook for the year 2017 was more than $8 billion, out of which mobile ads platform contribution was 84% of the total revenue. Since the new feed algorithm introduced by Facebook favored content from family and friend’s first in the user feed, the brands will have to resort to engaging and visual content to grab the user’s attention.
Social Media E-commerce
With more and more consumers active on the social media platforms, brands are looking at this as an opportunity to provide ecommerce solutions right within the social media feed.
Social media isn’t slowing down and with more brands now moving towards social ecommerce, the focus on increasing user engagement and providing shopping solutions right on the social media platform is gaining traction. Based on a report by Epsilon, social presence was one of the major factors which influenced consumers buying patterns.
According to another report by analytics company Aimia, more than 56% of the consumers followed brands on popular social media pages and looked for products on sale on the social media platform itself.
In 2017, brands who focus on creating a social media strategy based on shopping habits of the consumers will emerge as top gainers. Instead of just putting a product picture with “Buy Now” button, including relevant engaging content such as tips or gift ideas will lead to more engagement and trust building between the brand and the consumers.
Fighting with Fake News
The rise of fake news has forced the Social Media as well as Search Engine giants like Facebook and Google to take strict action against it. The fake news sites are already on the radar of Google as they have announced that sites promoting fake news will be barred from participating in Google advertising network. Facebook also released its updated Audience Network Policy which prohibits fake news publishers from joining the Facebook advertising network.
Last year in 2016, fake news was one the major problems for the Social Media platforms, so we can expect all social media platforms to ensure that any fabricated or unreliable content does not show up in our social feed. The sheer volume of content being circulated, shared and produced on daily basis is making the job of tackling fake news even harder for the Social Media Giants.
However without tight security measures the issue of fake news will continue to disrupt the online media. It will also be of great interest to watch how the social media platforms enforce strict rules to prevent the rising issue of fake news.
Social Media Analytics
If we were to go with statistics roughly 34% of small business owners use social media platforms. The main purpose of using social media for these business owners is to effectively converse and engage with customers.
In order to do so, business owners will need smart analytical data to know detailed users demography and interest.
The key analytical data also helps make smarter and informed marketing decisions for a business in the overall strategy.
A KPMG survey report revealed that 92% of C-level executives used data provided by analytic tools to get an insight into marketing trends. Social media platforms also provides business owners and marketers an opportunity to gain valuable insights into users social usage patterns through its extensive analytics data.
Live Video Streaming
The foundation on which YouTube was built laid emphasis on capturing the unfiltered and real moments of life. The real time video content platform offered by the social media websites is taking this offering to the next level by providing live video streaming. Statistics show that more than any other form of content, socials videos are proving to be far more effective in capturing high user engagement levels.
Facebook live is a live video streaming service launched by Facebook to compete with Twitter’s Periscope. The live video streaming is a trend which marketers should keep an eye on to grab any potential marketing opportunity and also help brands showcase their best products in real time.
It is important to reflect on all the changes that happened in the social media landscape in the past year to formulate a strategy which will be instrumental in brand’s success. Constant learning, pivoting and experimenting is the key to building a vibrant brand image in the vast sea of social media marketing.