By Dave Avran
NOW that we’re in the final half month of 2017, you may be thinking of making a good social media plan for 2018. Let me share some thoughts on what’s hot for social in the coming year, the key trends for practitioners so far, and what to expect in the near future.
Video is on everyone’s mind
The year 2017 is all about video on mobile – short, long, recorded, live, slick, hack, looping, reversed, time lapsed, slowed down, slideshows. It’s levelling the playing-field for businesses of all sizes to bring their stories to life. The tools are getting better too, enabling people to easily record and edit video, create videos in square format, for sound-off, with subtitles, livestream to multiple accounts or platforms. The recent launch of Facebook’s ‘Watch’ (currently US only) is proof that video is their big bet too, so there’s lots more to come in this space.
There’s a definite increase in the number of businesses looking to bring all staff up to speed on social, particularly amongst those who have a mix of younger more digital savvy staff, alongside longer established teams. The ability to engage on social is no longer the domain of just the marketing department.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Being involved in digital communications means that there is always so much to learn to continue to deepen our understanding of emerging practices. The area I am paying close attention to in the last 2 weeks of 2017 is the implications and best practice use of artificial intelligence for lead generation, sales, social customer support and how it can be integrated into business processes.
2017 has seen the continued rise of Dark Social, with customers flocking to the more private channels and interactions afforded by Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Brands have been creative in accommodating this shift like Celcom’s recent innovation with queries on Messenger service, allowing their customers to seek advice and get real time feedback from their digital service team in Facebook Messenger.
Instagram & Influencer Marketing
In terms of social media and the rise of the “influencer” (a word that I personally don’t like to use), I’ve noticed that brands are realising that there are varying degrees of influence and in fact the real influence can’t be solely based on numbers.
I think it’s vitally important for social media strategists to get the message across to companies that while 100,000 or more followers look cool, if they’re not engaged then they’re pretty useless. Too many times I have had people who have said that xyz advised me to buy followers and it can be devastating trying to salvage their brand after that. The real winners are the ones who really know their audience, how to build it organically, keep it and create an engaged community.
There’s definitely more demand for social media training. It’s seen as less of an expense and more of an analytics tool, not just a desire. More and more people are inquiring about Google analytics, Facebook and Waze ads and wanting to gain a better understanding about them in order to utilise them.