Social media is in a constant state of flux, so what’s next?
There are obvious answers: new apps, new networks, a continuing move towards The Internet of Things and the increasing prevalence of Virtual Reality. But while the technology is important, it’s people and the way they use this technology to interact with each other that will really drive the direction social media goes in the coming years.
With this in mind, here are 5 key trends to look out for in the next year of marketing.
1. The Continued Dominance of Facebook
Facebook is still the most dominant name in social media, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. With the company’s acquisition of Instagram and the hugely successful WhatsApp, most Facebook users really don’t have any reason to leave the world’s number one social network site.
Consider the weight of this customer expectation when working on your hotel’s Facebook campaigns, and how much you can do to drive engagement and strengthen your relationship with your guests before they even land on your website.
2. Real-Time Video
Thanks to the skyrocketing success of Snapchat and the emergence of Facebook Live and Periscope, real-time marketing, and particularly real-time video, has exploded. This trend offers the opportunity for brands to engage with customers in new and exciting ways they haven’t even considered before. In fact, senior Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn has revealed that the platform is moving in a direction that suggests it will be pretty much “all video” in as little as 5 years time.
Much like live TV, real-time video can be daunting, in that it requires you to think on your feet and adapt if things don’t go to plan. However, if you’re willing to step outside your marketing comfort zone, it presents a powerful opportunity to reach and engage your audience like never before.
3. Social Chat Bots
In response to its users’ thirst for real-time engagement, Facebook has begun to develop chat bots which can offer basic customer service support for brands. Moving forward, more and more brands will be using bots to help field queries and deliver better customer service for customers looking to communicate online.
At the very least, it’s time to start thinking about how you can deliver a more interactive experience for your social community. Could adding some AI to the mix help boost your social presence? Perhaps.
4. Automation Tools
For brands looking to boost efficiency and scale their social media presence, social media automation tools will be key. These tools are designed to help businesses target content at the right people at the right time in the customer journey, and include data and reporting for analysis.
Just remember not to think of this kind of software as a total solution. As useful as any kind of marketing automation is, it takes human expertise and knowledge of your audience to really make the most of it.
5. The Rise and Rise of Social Advertising
Revenue from advertising on social media is predicted to reach $11 billion by 2017, up from only just over $6 billion four years ago. More social networks and apps will start offering a greater number of ways to pay for greater reach – Snapchat, for example, have recently begun inserting ads in between users “Stories.”
To really maximise your reach potential on social, there’s no getting around the need for advertising and other paid-for amplification tactics, in 2017 and beyond.
With social engagement stronger than ever and an increasing array of methods available to automate your efforts and reach your largest audience yet, the future of social media marketing looks pretty bright. Will you look forward to trying any of these trends in the coming months? Let us know in the comments below!
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