This is a pretty telling infographic from Sprout Social that has some deeper consequences than marketers might be willing to accept. The infographic is called 6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2017 and walks through each social media channel, how consumer behavior is changing, and the advancement of technologies like artificial intelligence.
Combined with on-demand video, ad blocking technologies, and the growth of 1:1 channels like Snapchat and marketers need to reconsider their batch and blast advertising that's getting engaged with each year. The buyer has the power now to find what they need, when they need it, where they need it, at a price they want it at. The narrowing options for companies point to investing in their customers' experience and building relationships directly.
Even in business-to-business relationships, account-based marketing is driving results. While broad advertising isn't dead, it's targeted, personalized strategies that are beginning to drive the customer journey – not the ads plastered everywhere they're not looking.
Social Media Trends 2017
- AI Lenses for Facebook and Instagram – Some semblance of predictive visual experiences may be on the short horizon for Facebook, but I'm not sure that the AI dogs will be unleashed at this point in our social media journey. I suspect the first use will be to match advertisements to visual tastes.
- More Customer Service Chatbots – while the need for personalized and 1:1 relationships are going to grow, thankfully there are technologies that will help reduce the resources necessary to achieve superior results. Chatbots can be used to provide detailed information in a conversational approach that doesn't turn off consumers or businesses – all while increasing conversion rates and assisting visitors.
- Paid Content Continues to Reign – If there's one thing marketers understand is that social media builds a bridge between your products and services and the consumers or businesses you want to get them in front of. As the social media platforms grow more sophisticated, you know that bridge is going to get more expensive!
- Priority on Business Features & Analytics – I'm not sure that features is accurate – I believe benefits, value, and experience are where social media are going to drive engagement, acquisition, retention, and increase the value of our relationships with our customers. Analytics is imperative for this – but I'd opt for a simple experience that engages than adding a plethora of features that are nonsensical.
- Move Away from Automation – I'm a bit of a skeptic on this as well. In 2017, marketers will need all the automation they can handle to achieve superior results with minimal resources. However, I will argue that it has to be sophisticated tools that listen, segment, personalize, and predict the next engagement online via social media.
- Social Shopping & Instant Purchases – Along with the ability to easily purchase, donate, or send gifts, leveraging user-generated content will be a growing trend. We're going to share a post about Stackla soon that's quite amazing, increasing the conversion rates sometimes 30% for some products.
There's little doubt of the growth and sophistication social media will have in 2017. While businesses continue to struggle – only 34% of small businesses use social media to engage and converse with customers, almost a third of all consumers said a brand's social presence was the biggest reason to try new products or services. And 57% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow