We’ve become so accustomed to social media that we barely notice that it’s only about 10-years-old. While it started with a handful of niche sites that catered to small audiences, it’s now dozens of apps and platforms working together to connect most of the world’s population. Most of us haven’t noticed these changes and so we think things won’t change in the future. However, with social media moving into its adolescence, evolution is bound to happen and marketers must be ready. So, what are some of the predictions for social media marketing in 2017?
One platform will come to dominate the social media landscape.
Many marketers believe that one platform will eventually dominate the social media platform in much the same way that Google dominates the search engine world. Currently, the front-runner for this is Facebook. They’ve already purchased Instagram (their major competitor) and it’s only a matter of time before they acquire other platforms too. Eventually marketers believe these will all morph into one, but it would take years to carry this out without too much disruption for users.
Many social media platforms will cut back on brands’ organic visibility, prioritizing individual users’ content instead.
Facebook has already done this, thus making their news feed better for people. One of the biggest effects this had on brands is that they’re now paying more for the same level of social reach. However, this trend will continue until organic SMO visibility leaves companies with no other choice than to pay for advertising if they want to achieve any meaningful outreach.
On the other hand, many other marketers believe greater segmentation will occur.
Snapchat is a great example of this in that it allows users to utilize a handful of customizations (both privately and temporarily) to cater to their very specific needs. Niche specialists will become more desirable since they’ll give you more novel experiences than their big counterparts. This means more diversity but with smaller, more focused user bases.
Users will continue demanding even greater customization and personalization. Social media platforms will have to acquiesce.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are already recognizing this and thus giving their users even more control over what content appears in their feeds. Twitter has even given their users the power to change how their news feed works. As such, users can now see only what they really want to see. This update can make social media marketing in 2017 a bit more difficult for brands. Be a brand that your target audience wants to see on their newsfeed.
Augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will finally impact social media.
For many years marketers have said both AR and VR are the future of social media. While this doesn’t seem popular today, AR and VR will probably significantly impact the social media world. AR will offer more immediacy and real-world benefits to social medial platforms while VR will offer people a new way of experiencing the world around them. The feedback from this will completely revolutionize our communication with other people.
Social media will start having a much more measurable impact on other areas of digital interaction.
Facebook is clearly the leader in this area. They’re integrating features like Instant Articles, digital assistants, and search into their platform in hopes of keeping their users there. Eventually this will continue to grow as these platforms become more of a “one stop shop” for all your online needs. This will continue to grow although it’ll take years to “mature.”
These options aren’t definitive. Social media marketing in 2017 may grow in one or more of these directions or it may not evolve in this way at all. There are too many variables in play to make a real prediction. However, one thing is for certain: As social media marketers must rethink how they’re marketing to their consumers. If you need help with this, contact us. We’re happy to help!