Social media in 2017

What we’ll see from social media in 2017

With the thought of mince pies and mulled wine firmly in the past, we started looking ahead at social media in 2017 and what we think brands will be focusing on this year more than ever.

Here are three of the areas we think will be getting a lot of attention from brands this year:

Customer service

Gone are the days of social media being solely a marketing tool. Customer behaviour has evolved over the years; people use Instagram and Pinterest to research products while using Facebook and Twitter to connect with their favourite brands.

This shift in behaviour has led to customers turning to social media for customer service enquiries, ranging from opening hours queries to delivery updates and (unfortunately) complaints.

According to Social Bakers, more than 80% of customer service requests on social media in 2015 occurred on Twitter. This makes sense; Twitter is seen as the real-time social network where you go to send short messages and expect a prompt response.

Back in September, Twitter announced new customer support features for businesses. These new features enable businesses to tell users they provide help on Twitter, indicate when they’re most active, and ensure people know they have the option to send them a Direct Message. Here’s an example of those new features, from T-Mobile’s dedicated customer service account:

T-Mobile customer service Twitter account

Many large businesses choose to have a separate Twitter account dedicated to customer service, making it easier for consumers to know who to tweet their enquiries to. On the flip side, those brands who don’t respond to enquiries in a timely manner will likely leave consumers with a sense of disappointment and, ultimately, run the risk of losing those consumers.

We can only see this shift in customer behaviour continuing in 2017 and beyond.

Live video

You’ll have heard this before, but video will continue to become more and more important in 2017. User behaviour has changed so much over the years that people would much rather watch a 20 second video about your brand or product than sit and read a couple of paragraphs.

Furthermore, we expect live video to become a big player this year. 81% of internet audiences watched more live video in 2016 compared to 2015, according to a survey by New York Magazine and Livestream. While this is fairly expected, given that live video really burst onto the scene properly in 2016, we believe that audiences will be looking for more live video content from their favourite brands. According to the same survey, 82% of users prefer live video from a brand to social posts.

This has seen social networks signing deals to broadcast events that would previously have been on TV. Last year, Twitter announced that it had signed a deal to broadcast live NFL games on a Thursday night. This was the first announcement of its kind, and Facebook soon followed suit by signing up a number of elite sports stars to create live video content for their platform.

Twitter announced that it would stream live NFL games in 2016

We expect to see more high-profile events being streamed live on social media in 2017.

Audience size is not so important anymore

In the past, social media managers were obsessed with growing their audience size (i.e. number of followers). This year we expect to see them focusing more on reach and engagement.

With Facebook cutting down organic reach significantly over the years, it has become even more important to make sure your messages are reaching a wide audience.

One of the best ways of doing this is by making sure your content is interesting and relevant to your audience, thus prompting them to share it with their network.

Social media in 2017

And this is where paid social can really help.

For a relatively small outlay, you can target your content to those most important to your business and objectives. This gives you a greater chance of having your content shared and engaged with, leading to greater exposure. We regularly see cost-per-engagement rates of £0.01 and even lower for social ad campaigns that we have run for clients.

So whilst growing your audience size is still important, we will see businesses focusing more on reach and engagement metrics moving forward.

If you’re looking to improve your social media presence in 2017 why not get in touch with Red Marlin to see what we could do for you?

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