What’s hot? 2017 social media trends to watch

Image to support post on top social media trends 2017 by social media agency Clarity Comms

What’s hot? 2017 social media trends to watch

2016 is almost over and another year is upon us. So what’s going to be hot next year? And what does that mean for brand owners? Here’s our prediction of the 2017 social media trends to watch.

Social media advertising will continue to grow

Social media channels show no sign of slowing down. Facebook boasts almost 1.8 billion active users, Instagram has passed the 500m mark and Snapchat has overtaken Twitter in popularity.

Brands too continue to grow their use of social media advertising with ad spend on social growing by over 55%. These figures are solely for media spend and don’t include the time/resources spent on developing and managing brands’ owned social channels.

From a brand’s perspective, the evolution of innovative functionality is being matched with new features to reach social media users. We expect to see more of this in 2017 as brands have to invest more and more to get in front of both owned channel audiences and wider consumers.

Live video & TV

Live video was one of this year’s biggest social media trends. Although it kicked off in 2015 with Periscope and Meerkat, it was the launch of Facebook Live that moved the goalposts. Twitter is hoping live TV through partnerships with the NFL will help reverse it’s fortunes. Snapchat have entered the video space with Spectacles.

In 2017 we expect live video to explode as consumer and businesses embrace the technology. The results we’ve seen have been impressive with Facebook Live driving excellent reach and high levels of consumer engagement. Also expected in 2017 are advertising solutions for Facebook Live.

Snapchat and Instagram are the ones to watch

Facebook continues to rule the roost in terms of the number of user and keeps adding new features. However, Snapchat and Instagram have both been innovating with a range of developments that make them more and more attractive to businesses.

Snapchat surprised everyone with their move into hardware with the launch of Spectacles. The ability to record video directly to your Snapchat account is likely to drive even more loyalty among their young audience. More importantly, video may also help recruit new fans to the brand who haven’t taken to its core ephemeral messaging.

Instagram too has been busily adding new features with a particular focus on its products for businesses.

Image as part of post on top 2017 social media trends by social media agency Clarity Comms

Business owners have been given much greater insight into their Instagram audience and performance .

Instagram is also upping its video game with the ability to add live video to Instagram Stories. This latest functionality is currently only available in the US. The videos will also be ephemeral much like Snapchat’s further blurring the line between the social networks (and itself a trend over the last two years as competition for ad spend increases and each network adds features introduced by others).

The upside of Snapchat and Instagram’s new features is that they offer even greater scope for brands to reach and engage with audiences, especially with younger consumers. Instagram’s insights are a much needed boost for business users as they provide much greater scope for assessing ROI.

Messaging apps

The growth of Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and other apps presents brands with new opportunities for one-to-one consumer engagement and insight. The media call these apps dark social media as they are hidden to analytics and monitoring software.

We think there is a potential role for using them to talk directly to brand advocates or brand ambassadors. Ditto for research getting direct consumer feedback on new products and services. Development of bots for use on Facebook Messenger is also expected to grow though these may not be relevant to every sector.

Whilst use of these apps will grow its important to view dark social in the context of the wider social media strategy.

Our list of the 2017 social media trends to watch has focused on the developments most relevant to brands. Live video, greater insight tools and better advertising options are the key trends for businesses. They offer brands scope to drive better reach, deeper engagement with consumers and more creativity.