Social media is a fast-paced and equally fast-changing industry. New technologies, or new takes on older technologies, rise and fall rapidly due to viral popularity. The trends and fads that dominate social media also dominate our lives and have a strong impact on the way we use the Internet to interact with one another. So how will social media change in 2017? Here are a few trends that we at SKYFALL BLUE feel will be at the forefront of the social media landscape this year:
Studies have shown that millennials are stepping away from Facebook in favour of other social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn. People are moving away from text-based sharing and are instead focusing more on images and videos to share content. ‘Stories’ are a form of image/video sharing offered by both Snapchat and Instagram, and now, in a bid to stay relevant, Facebook are rolling out their own version. You simply upload photos and videos to the story feed, add in any hashtags, doodles or geotags, and your followers can see what you’ve been up to that day in a slideshow format. The story won’t appear on your news feed and will disappear after 24 hours. This idea of ‘disappearing content’ was first popularized by Snapchat, and is especially popular with the younger generation. The concept of sharing content that is only available to view for a short time is a popular one, and fuels the fast-paced ‘get-it-while-you-can’ consumer habits of today’s teens.
The now defunct social video app, Vine, paved the way for the presence of video in social media. Unfortunately, as competitors built on the foundation and added new features, Vine struggled to make money and fell behind. While Vine offered 6 second video clips played on a continuous loop, new apps such as Facebook Live offer users the chance to share real content in real time. In sharing live content, businesses and influencers provide authenticity to their brand. Knowing that many younger people use social media as a source for news, media outlets, such as CBC and The National, have also been using this format to reach out to people.
Social media platforms as news sources
The news media industry and the social media industry have become intangibly linked. As seen in the 2016 US election, the Internet is a popular forum for democratic debate. However, false information is easily spread on social media sites as it takes advantage of the fact that the popularity of the post is based on user-algorithms, and not on whether the post is based in truth. The good news is that social media sites are working to stop the spread of ‘fake news’. Facebook and Google, aware of this problem, have taken steps forward to combat the spread of fake news on their sites, by cutting off advertising to sites that promote false or misleading content.
Many businesses think of social media as purely a marketing tool, however, that is not the case. The use of chatbots – virtual assistants reachable through social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger – is on the rise. Chatbots can guide users through simple tasks or answer simple questions, leaving the more problematic complex cases for human workers. It has been found that many younger customers prefer receiving customer support through social media as opposed to a phone call or email. The result is quick, direct answers for your customers, without long wait times or the need to hire additional employees.
One thing we can be sure of this year, however, is that social media is here to stay. The industry has forever changed how we communicate with one another – whether it be business to client, media to the public, or even friend to friend. By knowing what’s hot and trending in the social media world you can keep abreast of trends and learn how to better grow your online business.
If you require any assistance in navigating the world of social media, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Our dedicated team of social media experts at SKYFALL BLUE will be able to help you focus your online business efforts to ensure successful results.