As we enter the fourth quarter of 2016, the year is rapidly drawing to a close. Before you know it, we’ll be into the holidays, and New Years Day will be looming at the door.
Experienced marketers are looking toward the future, therefore, and thinking about the next big trends in social media marketing. Being able to predict future developments before they happen is the goal for many firms that hope to beat the competition and enhance their business.
Social media especially is constantly changing, and in 2017, experts predict a potentially more substantial shift than in the past. Social may just take over the marketing industry as a whole, and many promising features are poised to catch attention for brands among consumers.
Social media may still have a long way to evolve, which implies we will continue to be surprised by changes that present themselves in the coming years. For 2017, here are some of the changes you’re likely to see.
Pay-Only Options for Social Pages
At the moment, most social media pages are entirely free for users … at least the top ones are. But things may be different in the future.
Though the basic package will probably remain stay free — sustained by advertisements and sponsorship — social users may see some pay-only viewing options turn up. By employing this approach, social organizations will be able to create a level of exclusivity that many users treasure.
There will be more paid options for marketers as well. Facebook has already begun instituting a pay-only platform through which companies can promote their business with better-than-average performance on user news-feeds.
Organic visibility is shrinking at the present time, and it’s likely there will be even less of it when we get to this time next year, because social networks are continuing to search for ways to monetize their services.
Monopolization of the Social Landscape
Several front-runners dominate the social landscape fairly equally right now, but it won’t be long before one rules them all. It’s hard for tech companies to share a space with competitors that offer such similar services.
Consider Google. It got its start as the leading search engine on the Internet, but it has since penetrated a broad variety of technology activities. After pretty much monopolizing the search engine category, Google is now seeking to add other fields its empire.
Facebook is the major contender in the social media market. The firm has positioned itself to take over the entire market sometime in the future if that’s what it wants to do.
Facebook already purchased its top competitor Instagram, which had been working its way up as one of the most popular social engines on the planet. If Facebook’s plans are geared in that direction, they could continue to purchase and morph the other social platforms into one.
This will take years to accomplish, but we may see more of this program coalescing in the future.
Emergence of Virtual and Augmented Reality
If the Pokémon Go phenomenon taught marketers anything about the web, it’s that there’s finally a place for augmented reality. After years of trying to develop virtual-reality platforms that consumers would actually want to use, Pokémon Go did it, which provided a preview of similar apps and social networking hubs we are likely to see in the future.
Though it may be a couple more years until it gets really popular, augmented reality will clearly have a significant impact on social media marketing. It should enhance social media, and bring it to a brand-new, in-person social level which could transform how people conduct daily communications.
Does anyone doubt the new experiences people have with their AR and VR tech will make them want to share on social media even more?
All-In-One Marketing Hubs
Don’t be surprised if, next year, marketers begin strategizing to do all their promotion within a single social network. Facebook has already started paving the way for an all-in-one marketing platform with automatic play videos, Instant Articles, built-in advertisements, easy-to-assemble business pages, and other business-friendly tools.
The company is increasing its accessibility for businesses all the time. Pretty soon, it’s possible that a company won’t need to look outside of Facebook to do all its marketing.
Facebook’s apparent move to control the social market will undoubtedly have an impact here. As the social media giant purchases more social platforms and makes deals with competitors in an effort to stay on top, we’ll see further marketing integration that should make marketing easier and more affordable for businesses of all sizes.
Customization for Social Users
Don’t forget about the impact that individualization can have on the consumer experience. Social media platforms are recognizing the users’ need to stand out, and their expectation that their online experiences will be customizable.
This has driven social media makers to the drawing board, to look for ways they can offer levels of customization their competitors won’t have. Right now, the most likely manifestation of the demand for customization will come in the form of user-generated content systems.
This means blog posts, video editing, and more content creation features will be built into the network. Users will be able to express their creativity in brand-new ways.
Brands can harness this tool in more ways than one. First, they can use customization features to boost their marketing efforts. Second, they can learn even more about their customers based on the way they interact with the personalization options.
More Social Apps
In an effort to minimize intrusive ads, many social media users have searched for mobile alternatives. Mobile apps have far fewer advertisement options than desktop social networks, so users can message and communicate with friends and family without the distraction.
According to research from Campaign Live, WhatsApp has become the most popular mobile messaging download because of its shift away from third-party advertisements. By the end of 2017, don’t be surprised if more consumers pick up messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.
These are easier to access for many users than Facebook Messenger is, and there are plenty of opportunities for businesses to capitalize on this market.
Instagram Will Rise Up
The mobile app Instagram is currently the fastest-growing social network on the web. It’s expected to grow 16 percent by the end of 2016, and is projected to expand another 11 percent in 2017.
Since the average social network growth rate is 3 percent, this is a substantial achievement. Experts believe that Instagram will add another 27 million users by the end of 2020.
Instagram has been a big part of smart marketers’ tactics already, but be assured it’ll be even bigger next year. Users love the platform because it offers image flexibility without involving speech. Marketers haven’t mastered the art of visual marketing will have to do it in order to compete in everyday newsfeeds.
Social media has shown some vast improvements, but the changes won’t stop here. The foregoing are just a few of the many predictions for the upcoming year in social media marketing.
As time goes on, more trends will emerge, and if you’re a savvy marketer, you’ll be ready to capitalize on these opportunities.