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What is Social Media?

Social media is officially defined as any ‘website or application that enables users to create content or to participate in social networking’. The three most popular and widely-used social networks are currently Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The social media landscape is continually fluctuating and developing. However, it is possible, through analysing past performance and upcoming trends, to predict how social media will change in 2017. So what can we expect in 2017? Here’s our forecast.

What Can we Expect in 2017?

Live Streaming

Facebook Live is an application which allows the user to record and publically share live video footage (for a maximum of 30 minutes) from their phone any time, anywhere. This feature is readily accessible to anyone who has a Facebook account and allows the user to make an interactive connection with their viewers in real-time. While streaming, viewers can post reactions, comments and questions that the host can choose to address (or ignore).

Since Facebook Live was launched in April 2016, the popularity of live video streaming has sky-rocketed. With Facebook enabling the user to broadcast to the largest audience in the world (1.79 billion monthly users and rising), more and more people, including celebrities such as Ricky Gervais and Kevin Hart, are picking up their phones and recording live footage. One of the most successful examples of live video streaming was delivered to our Facebook news feeds by Candace Payne. Famously known as ‘mum in a Chewbacca mask’, this live footage went viral, accumulating a whopping 91 million views.

In 2017 we predict that live video will become an increasingly prominent feature across all social media sites, allowing big brands to creatively captivate a growing online audience.

Disappearing Content

Snapchat is an app based on storytelling: allowing users to share video and picture moments (or a series of videos and pictures in a ‘story’) for fractions of time before they disappear. These photographs and videos can be altered using geofilters, facial recognition lenses, text, doodles and emojis.

More recently, Snapchat has evolved into a business platform. With companies able to create brand-related stories, generate sponsored lenses and form specific geofilters, the advertising possibilities on Snapchat have grown exponentially. Check out a selection of the best Snapchat marketing campaigns of 2016.

Since its launch less than 5 years ago, Snapchat has gained an enormous following, bringing in over 150 million users every day. The key to this success is undoubtedly Snapchat’s lenses and disappearing content features. Simple but effective concepts, these ever-changing features excite and entice the massive Snapchat community.

With Snapchat’s popularity predicted to continue to rise, we can expect two things: more businesses will utilise snapchat as an effective means of publicising their marketing message and other social media platforms, such as Facebook, will try to emulate Snapchat’s fun-loving, moment-focussing concept.

Chatbots

Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence (AI). There are two varieties of chatbot: one which functions according to a set of rules and another which is programmed to interpret and react to information it is fed. Many companies choose to invest in chatbots to help enhance the customer experience: making query and complaint responses faster and guiding online customers through the browsing and purchasing process as if they were in store.

According to Business Insider UK, messaging apps are now bigger than social networks. As a direct result, messenger platforms, such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger, have begun to incorporate chatbots as part of their offering to businesses:  Facebook launches Messenger platform with chatbots. With the potential to engage and assist audiences on a huge scale, chatbots are fast becoming an effective way to alleviate pressure on customer service teams, promote marketing messages and foster new business opportunities.

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As the dawn of 2017 rapidly approaches, we predict that more and more large companies will invest in chatbots as a key online marketing and sales tool.

If you would like to learn more about social media for business, read our blog or contact us today.