2016… What a hell of a year! A year of Pokémon Go, Brexit and Donald Trump. A year that will go down in history as one of the worst or best, (depending on your view of the world) years to have ever happened. But what’s in store for 2017? A nuclear holocaust? On that subject I’m not qualified to give an accurate answer, but social media, on the other hand, I can have a good guess at. So here are my 5 Social Media predictions for 2017:
Live Streaming Video
This year Facebook introduced Facebook Live, where you could instantly stream live to your friends and followers and interact with viewers in real time. It’s great for broadcasting events and interacting with a live audience. This is still quite new and I think Facebook will definitely experiment with using this platform for many different purposes. Other social media networks are following closely behind too, with recent launch of YouTube Live, and I’m sure many others will use this opportunity!
Rise of the Chat Bots
Artificial intelligence is on the rise, with Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant. And now Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google Allo are all introducing integrated bots to help with customer service, and making bookings, so prepare to start talking to machines much more often. Chat Bots are a great idea for these social media platforms and it allows common questions to be asked which will receive an immediate response and allows booking to made quickly and effectively. All hail the chat bots!
Virtual and Augmented Reality!
Facebook and YouTube are the social media pioneers of virtual and augmented reality. YouTube was the first to introduce 360-degree videos that enabled viewers to interact by moving their smartphones around. This is great for big events such as music festivals, where viewers at home can have a look around as if they are actually there! Although VR has been around for years, it hasn’t been explored properly until very recently.
For people that work in the travel and tourism industry, I think these features could be utilized by giving people virtual tours of holiday and tourist destinations. I’m sure this is something we’ll see more of in 2017.
Something else that will continue to grow in 2017 is the growth of real-time engagement between brands and customers. Users expect that businesses have a social team on their feed to address concerns, answer questions, and assist with any problems that they might encounter. In fact, 72% of customers expect Twitter responses from the brands they follow within the hour, which we know does not always happen! To combat this brands should start investing in customer service teams that operate through social media to help and assist customers.
This year Facebook launched its new reactions emoji set, designed so that people can express how they feel about a post or article. Although this actually confuses things. For example, when someone hits the ‘angry’ reaction, are they angry about what the person has posted, as in “you shouldn’t have posted this!” or are they saying “I agree with you, and this angers me!” Who knows. But it turns out these reactions have been a massive failure anyway. Likes still make up almost 93% of all such responses on the platform, showing that most users haven’t changed their behaviours despite the new options. Will Facebook find a way to spice these reactions up in 2017 and get more people using them? I’m sure they have some idea brewing up.
So, these are my social media predictions for 2017, do you have anything to add? Tweet us @StratetgySMedia