2016 was a big year for social media changes. We saw the rise of live streaming, the debut of Instagram Stories, and algorithm changes up the wazoo. For a while there it seemed like there were new features and updates every single week! How is anyone expected to keep up with it all?!
One of the best things about entering a new year is that it offers the perfect opportunity to reflect and regroup. I’m going to help you take a look at some of the biggest social media trends happening right now, and what you need to be focusing on to maximize your social media success.
Social Media Trends You Need to Know for 2017
1. Authenticity Matters – The biggest social influencers are moving away from those perfectly staged and overly filtered photos and getting real with their followers via social stories. Worried about poor lighting or lack of makeup? Don’t be … your followers want to get to know the real you. I suggest giving your followers a good mix of curated content (via Instagram or Facebook posts) and unfiltered real life (via Instagram Stories or Snapchat).
2. Boost Engagement with Social Stories – Social Stories, like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, are where it’s at right now. Social Story platforms give you a chance to have a REAL conversation with your followers … wish them good morning, share what you’re up to for the day, and ask them questions. Engage with them and they will engage back. You may feel frustrated because your Social Stories follower count seems low, but keep in mind these are not just regular followers. These followers made a choice to watch YOUR stories; it’s different from just scrolling by you in a feed. They are your hardcore fans, so treat them like VIPs!
3. Video – Like it or hate it, audiences respond well to videos, especially on Facebook. Making a short video, just one or two minutes long, or going Live on Facebook will boost your reach and engagement. You can do quick tips about your job or industry, or show a creative process. I have an artist friend who sets up a live video while she’s painting, and it’s fascinating to watch! I have another friend who is nervous about turning the camera on herself so she does live streams whenever shes visits a new wedding venue.
4. Mobile is King – Have you checked your website analytics lately? If not, I suggest you do so right now. (And if you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, contact your webmaster ASAP.) Only 30% of my website traffic is through desktop – which means 70% of my visitors are viewing my website via their phone or tablet. And 90% of Facebook users are doing so via mobile. So, be sure you are checking out your websites and social media pages on a regular basis to make sure they are in tip-top shape.
5. More Messaging – I’ll be honest with you, one of my biggest pet peeves is when I get messages through Facebook or Instagram instead of email. I wish everyone would just email me so I have all my messages in one place! But, this is a perfect example of someone who’s – ahem – older needing to adapt to the times. We live in an instant-gratification society, where we ask Alexa to tell us the temperature outside and we can Google the answer to any question from our phone or watch. With 700 million Facebook Messenger users every month, it’s a platform that cannot simply be ignored. This is why more and more brands are setting up Messenger chatbots – AI software to answer basic questions. If you’re like me, your small business isn’t chatbot-worthy quite yet … but what you CAN do is set up a Facebook Messenger auto-responder, requesting the sender email you their question or inquiry. (Side note – if you feel like you’re answering the same basic questions over and over again – be sure to write a FAQ blog post, and link that post in your auto-responder.)
6. Increase Personalization – Social media is vast, saturated, and busy. When someone notices you in the huge sea of social media profile pictures, doesn’t it feel good? Make sure you’re giving your followers personalized attention. If someone leaves you a comment, respond thoughtfully and use their name. Hop over to their profile and find out what you have in common so you can start a dialogue. Be their friend, not just another account they follow.
These are the items I feel everyone should be focusing on this year. If anything is 100% certain, it’s that the landscape will change again over the next 12 months. I’m excited to see what the year ahead will bring!