The Top 17 Social Media Trends in 2017, According to the Experts

Last year, we interviewed twenty different social media experts about the most important social media trends for the New Year. The Death of Twitter As We Know It “Social media advertising through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest will continue to grow as companies realize their audiences are more engaged on social than other digital marketing avenues. 360° Video “A big trend in social media in 2017 will be 360° content. Livestreaming has been utilized by large social media personalities, but not businesses to the same result. Especially Facebook. It’s a powerful option that’s free as long as it’s done correctly. A company’s social media must be “cool” enough for the employees to want to share it on personal platforms. Zipline is both an app for people to creatively and effectively capture and edit videos and also share them with their followers. If more people start to leave the main networks – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – for more personal one-on-one networks and communications, how are brands going to reach consumers? This has been a recurring prediction for a few years, but most surveys still find that people don’t use buy buttons on social networks.

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Last year, we interviewed twenty different social media experts about the most important social media trends for the New Year. We got a huge response from both the Bitly community and the experts themselves, so we decided to look ahead once again. This time, we talked to fourteen different experts to learn about the emerging social media trends in 2017.

We know that paid social strategy is the present and the future of social media marketing. But what will the best tactics be? What kinds of content will resonate and which channels will be most effective?

Here’s what they predict as we put 2016 in the rearview mirror and look ahead to the trends that will impact social media marketing in 2017.

1. The Rise of Custom Audiences & Personalized Content

As we close our 2016, all of the major social media players (Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) support custom audiences. This gives marketers more flexibility in their segmentation to use tools like predictive analytics, profiling and more to slice their database and export to one of these platforms. In particular, I see more marketers leveraging this platform for account-based marketing (ABM) programs as they can identify their best target accounts and deliver personalized content to prospects.

With this increased functionality, there should be little need for Marketers to seek out ABM-specific adtech vendors to make sure they are staying in front of target accounts. In fact, many practitioners are arguing that with the rise of ad-blockers and declining traditional banner engagement for B2B – that reaching target accounts through social channels provides more coverage, better match rate, and an easy way to optimize marketing budget.

– Sean Zinsmeister, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Infer, @szinsmeister

2. The Death of Twitter As We Know It

“Social media advertising through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest will continue to grow as companies realize their audiences are more engaged on social than other digital marketing avenues. However, I predict Twitter will experience double digit decline in active users, become irrelevant to advertisers, and will get bought by another digital media company.”

– Cyril Lemaire, Managing Director of Traktek Partners,

3. More Interactive Content

“I think enterprises will shift towards more interactive content where the reader has to make choices that influence the outcome of the content. You’ve already seen this, since quizzes and tests were the most shared pieces of content in 2016. In 2017, however, this will go further and delve into interactive videos and blog posts. When readers have a direct impact on the content, they are more engaged and this increases their brand recall.

These pieces of content will be the focus of large social media campaigns in 2017. Brands not only want consumers to recall, they want them to be excited and share the content with their friends. They can then “compare results” with friends. This allows for a single piece of content to integrate social elements into it. Different people will have different experiences, while the brand as a whole wins out.”

– Russab Ali, Founder, SMC Marketing

4. 360° Video

“A big trend in social media in 2017 will be 360° content. More and more people will be shooting 360° videos with their GoPro cameras to upload them on Facebook or Twitter so that their friends feel totally immersed. Businesses will also greatly benefit from this new technology. They’ll be able to show 360° videos of hotels, houses, cars, museums, art galleries etc. to their potential clients on different social media channels.”

– Gregory Golinski, Marketing Coordinator, Arizona Grand Resort & Spa

5. The Big VR Push

“The adoption of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in social media seems likely as the year progresses. Facebook owns Oculus Rift for a reason and will make a steady push for VR use on their platform, everything to get VR into their live stream. Twitter will have to follow suit or risk becoming the next MySpace. Google+ will also move to adopt VR, because it’s Google.

Whether people truly take to VR in social media remains a question.”

– Dr. TIm Lynch, Psychsoft, @psychosoftpc

6. B2Bs Start Using Social for Selling

“2017 is going to be the year of social selling. Salespeople from large enterprises and SMBs alike will use social channels to engage with their sales contacts. It can be as simple as using Twitter to prospect a sales call or using LinkedIn to promote gated downloads to a target company. Whatever the actual channel or activity, the art of social selling is going to gain more momentum in 2017. Especially as more sales people start to find that right balance of reaching out to prospects, without overwhelming them.”

Zaki Usman, CEO and Founder, Pagezii Marketing, @zaki_usman

7. Instagram Keeps Growing

I think 2017 is the year of Instagram. Instagram has thus far been a great discovery tool and has one of the best engagements across social media platforms (after FB), but it lags behind in ROI for advertisers.

With the launch of Instagram Shopping in 2017, that could change. With ‘Shopping’, brands would be able to highlight up to five products in their posts and lead customers to product detail and shopping pages. This will increase activity across Instagram as more brands rush to try out the new promotion feature, and entice more of their followers to respond to their posts and click on the product shopping pages.

Facebook would continue to rule the social media world – both in terms of ad spends and engagement, being arguably the simplest and the most effective platform for brands and customers alike.

– Pratik Shah, Director of Marketing, Grin, @grincreatorapp

8. Livestreaming Takes A Front Seat

I’m expecting to see a sharp rise in the amount of livestreaming done on social media. Livestreaming has been utilized by large social media personalities, but not businesses to the same result.

This is something someone looking to make their brand more personable and authentic should definitely be planning. For example, if you’re running a team-building exercise, consider…

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