Lucky for all of the social media marketers out there, 2016 brought a year that catapulted the use of social media to an entirely new level. While pre-2016 was spent convincing others why they should be on social media and how to use it, post-2016 will be filled with helping people who cannot get on social media soon enough! The election alone brought social media to the forefront, and it looks like the President-elect plans on keeping it there (for now). As we head into a year that looks more promising than any other for social media, we need to be on point about what to expect and how to create stellar social media programs that feed the masses. Here are my three predictions for trends we will see in social media over the course of 2017:
Rebirth of Twitter
I know Twitter has its issues, believe me, I KNOW. However, the use of Twitter in the election and continued use of it by the President-elect cannot be ignored. A platform that many were fleeing at the beginning of 2016 seems to be the go-to place now for political news, among other breaking news. One thing that will be interesting to watch in 2017 is how freely brands start to use the platform. I’ve already witnessed more brands, and professionals, be more outspoken in the aftermath of Trump’s boundless tweeting. This can be a good thing if brands use it to speak out about important issues that positively impact the world, but it can be equally as dangerous if brands/people start to rattle off every thought without thinking it through and increase cyberhate.
How to get started: Look at the current narratives happening on Twitter and see where your brand fits into them. If you are going to do Twitter, you have to go all in. This requires at least four tweets per day on relevant issues for your brand, and actively responding to tweets coming in. It’s a lot of work, but I have seen most of the amazing social media interactions between a consumer and brand happen via Twitter.
I cannot speak about this enough! With budgets being cut and limited resources, employee advocacy is sure to become even more popular with brands in 2017. People trust recommendations from friends WAY more than selling points from brands. Employee advocacy is a great tool to get your employees recommending your brand to their friends. It’s also a perfect solve for an under-resourced team that needs more content production. Many tools, such as Dynamic Signal, offer capabilities for employees to submit suggested content. Just think of what you could do as a brand with content curated directly by your employees! For more on employee advocacy, check out this blog: 5 Reasons Why #EmployeeAdvocacy Is Going To Own 2017.
How to get started: Look at how other brands are implementing employee advocacy programs and create a ‘case study’ for your executive team that shows the value other brands are receiving from these programs. Some of my favorite employee advocacy programs are by Cisco, AutoDesk and AT&T. I also recommend reaching out to a vendor, like Dynamic Signal, so they can answer all of your questions and provide you with some talking points as you try to get executive buy-in for the program.
Every platform is rushing to see how it can add live video to its offerings. If that doesn’t scream the importance of tapping into this trend, I don’t know what does. The whole appeal of social media in the beginning was that users could get a real-time, inside look at a company. What is more real-time than live video? Consumers are continuously looking at a brands as a source of news, and live video allows you to have the exclusive about your brand.
How to get started: Start small, and have it very planned out. Live video can be tricky because, well, it’s live! You need to be absolutely prepared for anything that could happen, and set expectations with the executives of your brand that there is a possibility something could go wrong the first time you try it. That being said, also have a plan in place if something does go wrong. When I executed my first Facebook Live, I made sure that we had questions in the queue in case no one participated, our ‘talent’ was briefed and had a dress rehearsal, and that everyone in the company knew that if there was a technical camera failure, we would be going dark and not be trying to come back live. Planning and preparation are vital to executing live components of social media.
Hopefully you can start implementing at least one of these trends in 2017. The exciting news is that social media is not going anywhere in the current climate, and your brand most likely has an important role to play in the conversations happening over the next year.
Happy New Year!
- Marji J. Sherman