The previous year was quite a mixed bag in terms of social media, changing the way online communication unfolds not just between people but between brands and users too. Considering the roller-coaster that 2016 was, Dipshika Ravi takes a crack at 2017, to see what it may have to offer.
First off, I find it ironic to “predict” what can happen in social media. Isn’t social media supposed to be unpredictable? (rolls eyes) But, since I got the opportunity to share my views, I am going to give my best shot.
2016 has been a crazy year for social media, with new platforms joining the bandwagon and some old platforms bidding adieu to us (read: Vine). With the passing of each year, it’s become increasingly challenging to converse with the audience and to keep them engaged on the page.
The platforms that have already been established are ruling the social space, whereas the ones that are new are trying to come up with new and revolutionary features and technologies which could help them join the race.
From Instagram stories to Facebook LIVE, from new Snapchat filters to Facebook 360, we’ve seen it all, and loved it too! But what next? Can things be constant in social media? Never.
With sweet sixteen getting over and sexy seventeen taking over, here are some of the trends, I feel, would rule this year:
DON’T SAY IT. SHOW IT!
Video content has seen a multi-fold growth in 2016 due to improved Internet access and an ever growing number of smartphones and platform innovations. If you notice, on an average, 7 out of 10 feeds on your timeline would be video content. Consumers now prefer to watch a video about a product/service than to read about it.
With Live Videos taking over the Internet by storm, it’s safe to predict that it’s going to stay here for another one year. With Twitter (via Periscope), Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram offering live video feature, I expect to see more brands, businesses, and individuals getting in on the action. So, just sit back, log on to your social channels, and stream LIVE videos!
Big data and AI will revolutionize the way brands interact with their customers on social media. 2016 has already seen Chat Bots being used to interact with consumers in categories like travel, e-comm, and banking sectors. Brands have started noticing the increase in similar kind of queries being asked on a daily basis by customers, which can easily be tackled by having an automated system in place – hence, BOT!
BIG DATA FOR BIGGER PURPOSE!
Big Data is the name of the game! Imagine when you have access to patterns, trends, and associations – all relating to human behaviour and interactions – the multitude possibilities and the scope of it? But, are we doing anything? Nope. May be 2017 is the right time for it.
Now imagine there’s data from sources such as photos, videos and social media posts, etc., that reads like a digital bio data of every human being. Can this data be used to offer some customised and tailored experience?
For example: If you are travelling from Mumbai to Bangalore by road and have your Google maps on, your data would detect the place you are at and the time, and accordingly throw up options to you like, “There is a hotel available that’s 2 Kms away, would you like to check it out?” Basically what the data does is, captures your location, figures the number of hours you have travelled, finds a hotel nearby, and then throws option at you, so that you can take rest in between. Brilliant, right?
What does this mean?
It means that Big Data allows advertisers to target users with more personalised ads that they most likely want to see. Though the possibilities are endless and exciting, protecting such a data from misuse is also pertinent.
Psst…Marketers, hope you’re listening! This is the year to do something big and drastic with the data available with you!
Influencer marketing, influencer outreach program, influencer meet-ups – 2016 has seen it all and so much of it! At the end of the day, social is all about ‘people’ connecting to ‘people’ – hence, I think, the trend of ‘influencing’ would continue to dominate this year as well.
Having said that, marketers have now realised how an influencer should now play a more important role than just retweet a post. They want them to be their “brand evangelist.” They want them to represent their brand for a longer period. May be in 2017, we’ll see a lot of brands using ‘influencers’ to talk about the ‘experience’ that the product offers rather than talking about its features.
Let’s hope we see some kick-ass work this year!
BE CRAZY. BE INNOVATIVE!
The year is going to witness social and technology marrying each other to offer some great consumer experience. Innovation is the key to open up the clutter. With the rise of VR, AR, 360 degree videos, live videos, social commerce, messaging apps, big data, will we witness something crazy this year? Let’s hope we do!
The year is also going to produce some breakthrough tools powered by AI – let’s just wait and see who takes the first mover advantage of that.
What’s the downside?
Do haazaar satra yaane the year of khatra!!! Haha, no..no, the year ahead doesn’t look scary or dangerous at all. Relax. It just rhymed well.
Anyway, social is here to stay. In fact, social is being taken more seriously as a channel to promote, and I have personally seen an increase in media budget for social plans. The only downside here would be – organic traffic! By looking at the trend and the investment done by various platform owners, getting organic traffic looks very difficult, increasing the expectation of spending more money to get some decent engagement.
All in all, 2017 looks good (so far).
So, relax and go with the flow. Keep an eye open on all the new innovations,
and do your best. This year is for you! Kill it with your content.
All the best!