“2017 will continue to see an evolution of the many things we saw in 2016, so rather than it being a revolutionary year, it will be an evolutionary one.”
– Neal Schaffer, Social Media Keynote Speaker at Maximize Your Social
Many of today’s marketing efforts rely solely on social media while others focus directly on it. Regardless, it’s a force for small businesses, and those who ignore it hardly ever lead the pack.
Social media is such a crucial cornerstone to most small business revenue that it becomes integral for owners to stay connected to the latest developments.
If you are one of the many who respect the medium and desire to stay in-the-know, you’re in the right place. Here are six trends to watch for on social platforms in 2017.
1. Twitter Will Continue to Fall from Grace
This has actually been a trend for several years running as even some of the most prominent and respected publications have called Twitter dead many times over.
Surprisingly enough, however, despite the company’s many struggles, the little blue bird is still flapping its wings.
Will Twitter finally meet its demise in 2017? No way. But the social network will continue to be abandoned by users who are over the novelty of its firehouse-style micro-blogging in favor of something more in-depth and detailed.
As users continue to flock from Twitter to sites like Pinterest and Snapchat, the company’s already dire situation will worsen, ultimately leading to its rumored acquisition.
My money is on Google buying Twitter as the search giant has notoriously failed repeatedly to make a successful foray into the world of social media. But, only time will tell who will put Twitter in its cage.
2. Video will Increase in Prominence
I know, you’ve heard plenty about video content and live streaming in the last several months so I will keep this short.
In 2016, Facebook took a bullish approach to integrating more video content into its platform. From prioritizing video over other forms of content in its algorithms to outright paying celebrities and media organizations to live stream updates, Facebook has made it clear that video is here to stay.
Moving into 2017, expect to see increased volumes of video content, as Mark Zuckerberg himself has even “predicted”:
“. . . One of the big themes that we’re talking about here is becoming video first. And as people look for richer and richer ways to express themselves, just like people in the past have shared a lot of text and photos on Facebook, we think in the future more of that is going to be video. . .”
This phenomenon will not just be contained to Facebook. These guys are the market leaders, and where they go, many others will follow. Which actually leads us to the next trend:
3. Standardized Social
As any industry evolves and matures, a natural process of standardization occurs. Social media is no exception.
This process is already well underway. We can see many examples of this across social media websites. Snapchat, or Snap (as the company is now called), released Memories, moving the platform closer to the basic social media mold. Instagram unveiled its Snapchat-like feature, Stories. YouTube recently announced its Community feature, a la Facebook, and Facebook is aiming to become the go-to source for trending stories like Twitter has been, along with taking swings at YouTube with its live broadcasting features, and testing disappearing messages in Messenger similar to Snapchat.
All of this feature “borrowing” points to one conclusion: All social media platforms will soon have a standard model. By the end of 2017, nearly every social platform will give its users the ability to:
- Generate and share video content
- Live stream broadcasts
- Discover trending topics
Yet, there is one other feature that should be included in this bulleted list, but requires its own section.
4. Social Commerce
Selling through social media websites isn’t exactly new, but in 2017 this feature will be everywhere. And that is aces for small businesses in on the trend.
There were a ton of advances last year in the social selling arena. Facebook unveiled its plans to allow consumers to interact and make purchases from brands through its Messenger platform, Pinterest released a slew of different shopping-centric features, and Instagram recently announced shop-able posts on its network.
In 2017, you can expect shopping elements and features to be further integrated into nearly every platform (in accordance with the standardization model), and there is a potential that several of these websites will also incorporate a digital wallet for all of a consumer’s shopping needs.
5. The Fight against Fake News Comes to a Head
Fake news has been a hot button item in recent months as situations like “pizzagate” rapidly spiraled out of control. Since then, there has been massive public outcry over these types of fictitious, and sometimes malicious, articles. And the ones who have the power to do something about it will do so in 2017.
Twitter, along with other social networks, will soon begin to crackdown on fake news sources much like Facebook has with its Journalism Project alongside Google’s fake news prohibition measures. Additionally, both companies have made the move to not allow fake news sources to advertise on their properties.
Prominent industry SEOs are on board for this trend. Moz’s Rank Fishkin stated, “. . . I think we’re going to see Twitter double down on features that limit abusive aspects, and Facebook to address the issues of fake news, false claims, and inaccurate “facts” on their platform.”
As was noted in the beginning of this piece, 2017 will not be a revolutionary year for social media but an evolutionary one. Many of the trends that we have seen over the past year or more will continue to deepen and become more sophisticated. This is not to say, however, that some major shifts will not come to light. In the world of technology, everything can change at the click of a mouse.