In the last decade, the power and popularity of social media have exponentially grown and it does not show any signs of slowing down in the next couple of years. This week is all about some of the digital marketing trends that you should look out for next year. But today, we’ll be sharing our insights on social media marketing trends that you should watch out for in 2017!

Virtual/Augmented Reality Tied to Social Media

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. Likewise, Facebook introduced 360-degree videos and photos that allow users to navigate and explore through media.

Virtual reality technology has been around for years. However, it hasn’t exploded in popularity until earlier this year. In fact, the releases of new VR gear from major brands like Samsung, Vive, and Google allowed ordinary users to experience virtual reality right from the comfort of their homes!

Augmented reality has also changed the way we interact with each other virtually. The widely successful Pokemon Go introduced a lot of people to augmented reality and these days, it’s common to run into someone playing the game on their phones when out and about.

Users are also starting to demand social media as a conduit for more vicarious experiences. The practical application of these technologies is already being tested by some brands such as Quantas’ 360-degree videos that take viewers on a trip through some of their most beautiful tourist destinations.

Live streaming videos

Like virtual reality, live streaming has been around for many years. However, it wasn’t until platforms like Periscope and Facebook Live allowed us to conveniently live stream events and share moments with a live audience right from our smartphones that it exploded into popularity.

Live streaming is a great way for brands to have one-way live video chats with their audiences. Businesses can use this to leverage opportunities to engage with customers, impart useful information, and even conduct value-adding meetings with a wide range of active users!

Real-time engagement

Another key area that will continue to grow in 2017 is the growth and demand for more 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.

Brands need to start investing in a customer service team that operates through social media to help and assist customers. Looking into cross-functional social media teams can help businesses keep abreast with the increasing number of daily client queries.

Analytics in decision-making

Gone are the days when social media strategies are ruled by pure hit-or-miss content. In the next 12 months, analytics will play a bigger role than ever. Marketers will depend on social media analytics and competitive analysis tools when creating content and strategizing social media campaigns.

Although social analytics tools have evolved to be more powerful, developers like SimilarWeb and Google Analytics have designed them to be accessible and user-friendly for the average small business owner. Statistics will play an even more important role in the next year and luckily, most of these tools are free and readily available to accommodate the needs of most businesses!

Social media refocusing

Every year or so, a new social media platform emerges from the shadows and tries to hold on to the mainstream media spotlight. However, that is not to say that brands need to be present in every platform.

Instead, in 2017, we will see a trend of refinement. Businesses will begin reevaluating their platforms and refocusing their social media marketing efforts into their strongest platforms. No more spending equal time on five different platforms!

Social media will continue to be a strong platform for any marketing, content, and SEO strategy. It is more crucial than ever for businesses to create a strong online and social media presence to make it in today’s competitive market. Expect social media to continue shaping the future of marketing and customer engagement!

Do you have any predictions on the fate of social media in 2017? Share them with us in the comments! If you’d like to explore the world of virtual assistance, you can sign up for our free five-hour trial!

Check out the other parts of the Digital Marketing Trends for 2017 series:

Pepper Virtual Assistants is a business solutions firm that specializes in virtual administrative and personal assistance, online marketing, customer support, and copywriting. We are known for reliability through our managed services, responsive client handling backed by extensive training, and rockstar virtual assistants hired for their skills and expertise.

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