“These days, social media waits for no one. If you’re LATE for the party, you’ll probably be covered by all the noise and you might not be able to get your voice across. It could only mean that if you want to be heard by the crowd, you have to be fast; and on social media, that means you have to be REALLY fast.”

― Aaron Lee, social media writer at AskAaronLee


Social media continues to grow at an incredible rate despite its already immense size. In 2017, the number of social media users is expected to increase by roughly 200 million more individuals.

Social media’s user growth is a fairly predictable social trend year over year. But what is on the horizon for those who leverage social platforms as marketing channels?

To be honest, no one really knows. Technology evolves so quickly in today’s age that disruptive creations hit the scene regularly. There are, however, certain indicators that point us to what 2017 may look like in the social arena.

If you are in the midst of creating your social strategy for the New Year and are in search of the latest social media insights, look no further.

Here are four of the biggest occurrences to take place on social in 2017.

1. Live Video will Continue to Dominate

All throughout 2015 and 2016, live streaming video was a major topic of conversation among brands and consumers.

2016 saw various implementations of live video; everyone from Facebook to YouTube, Snapchat, and more all integrated live streaming features on their platforms. Facebook has gone as far as altering its algorithms to prioritize live streams due to the above average engagement rates.

As social media platforms continue to vie for dominance and keep their users engaged, live video shows no signs of slowing down in 2017. In fact, this form of content is poised to grow in a number of ways.

Considering the hit organic reach took on social in 2016, brands would be wise to leverage this prioritized form of video in the New Year.

Speaking of organic traffic. . .

2. Organic Reach Continues to Plummet

Marketers and business owners have been struggling with the algorithm updates to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, which make reaching audiences organically extremely difficult.

This trend started back in 2014 and has been unfolding ever since. As for 2017, be ready for more of the same.

In order to effectively reach consumers through social media next year, you have a couple of different options.

The first is to up your content game. People share content that resonates, teaches, inspires and entertains. If you want your creations to reach people in an organic way, you have to create content that’s worth sharing. That requires an intimate awareness of who you are trying to reach.

A great way to create content that people want to share is by implementing trend No. 1; start creating live videos that speak to your consumers. 360 degree videos and other captivating forms of video content are becoming quite popular as well.

Your second option lies in paid advertising. Due to the fall of organic reach on social media, ad spending is going to go through the roof next year. Truthfully, this could be a trend in itself because it is currently predicted that social media ad spending will increase by 26.3 percent globally and exceed $35 billion, or approximately 16 percent of all digital ad investments.

3. An Increase in Influencer Marketing

As it becomes more and more problematic to reach social users organically, influencer marketing is going to become even more popular for brands to get their messages to target audiences.

In 2017, this modality is going to solidify as a legitimate and standard practice of marketing. Google is helping to fuel that with its recent acquisition of Famebit. This means that social will see a massive influx of branded content, much of which might come in the form of live video.

This increase in influencer recruitment also means that the industry will gain a bit more structure as well in that “influential” data will become more accessible to businesses so that the right partners can be selected for a campaign and larger ROIs can be achieved.

4. Chatbot Critical Mass

Artificial intelligence is now beginning to reach a level of societal proliferation in which it is becoming commonplace. Digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant, and other technological sidekicks are helping to feed a forthcoming era in which the incarnation of the Internet as we know it has gone extinct.

Building upon the backs of digital assistants like these, Facebook, Google Allo, WhatsApp, and, interestingly enough, Twitter have all introduced chatbots into their services.

These machines serve brands across various platforms to assist consumers with common questions, tasks like booking flights, and customer service inquiries. In 2017, chatbots are going to become much more widespread considering their capabilities, popularity and efficiency.

This technology makes too much sense for brands to not increase implementation. Chatbots can help consumers with a multitude of frequent queries or duties without human intervention. This frees up customers service representatives and other employees to focus on more intimate and in-depth problems that cannot be handled by a machine.

In addition to an increase in chatbots and digital assistants, the technology behind these products will begin to serve brands in other sectors as well. Tasks such as content production will begin to require less and less of a human touch as these machines continue to learn and increase their natural language processing capabilities.

2017 is certainly going to be an interesting year in social media. These developments are only the tip of the iceberg as many more shakeups, revelations, and advances are sure to come down the pipeline.