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Social networks have been with us for just over a decade but it feels like forever. As a result, social media marketing has become part of our everyday business lives. Social media marketing is a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.

SMO & SMM in Details

When we first signed into Facebook we were amazed by how small the world had become. Friends, acquaintances and old college connections we hadn’t seen in decades and living in faraway places popped up on our screen. It was a couple of months later and I joined Twitter. This intersection of people and technology was resonating with our tribal curiosity and creativity. Technology was becoming more human. Then the smart phone was added to the mix. Social and mobile were the perfect storm. Today we are captivated and captured by both of these technologies. They are impacting how we work, socialize and play. So what are the social media marketing trends today and how are they playing out for us as entrepreneurs and as passionate and complicated humans? In 2016, study says that social media continued its rise with more than 2.3 billion active users and more than 1.9 billion active mobile social users worldwide.

This large amount of potential customers has prompted 83% of all marketers to take advantage of social media marketing in order to boost sales, promote brand identity, increase social media followers, engage with prospective customers, generate qualified leads and so on.

What is its Scope?

Social media marketing can do so much for your business than just update your followers with boring status and sales-related updates. Social media can also help you and your business connect with and learn from your potential consumers and the industry leaders. Simple activities such as liking or replying to comments, responding to private messages, retweeting, or even commenting when it matters can lead to relationship building, which is essential for your business as it can help retain consumers and form connections with the industry leaders that can help you.

For many, social media is not an advertising tool but a way to connect in a meaningful way which is a huge advantage for any company who want to get their name out there. With these advantages, there’s no doubt that social media is an indispensable part of today’s digital marketing landscape. And with the New Year, there are some impending social media trends that are bound to affect your strategy and campaign performance. There was no shortage of changes to the social media industry in 2016, which included several new features, consumer preferences, and brand opportunities. Looking toward 2017, social media trends will continue to evolve and surprise us. While it’s impossible to predict how the SMM landscape will change over the course of a year, we’re here to provide six social media trends marketers should keep an eye on in 2017:

It’s the start of another year, which means you’re probably backed in the office after vacation, hard at work on your New Year Resolution. And if you’re a marketer, you may also be fine-tuning your strategic plan for success in 2017.

Various Trends for SMO & SMM

We have a variety of resources for getting your marketing plan organized for the upcoming year — between the2017 marketing strategy kit, the social media content calendar, and the blog editorial calendar, we’ve got your content marketing strategy covered. But before you finalize your social media strategy for the year, it’s important to look at what’s ahead to ensure that you’re allocating your time and efforts appropriately. In this blog post, we’ll dive into what happened in 2016 what we think social media managers should expect in 2017, and how to plan for these changes.

Another year, another trend. Foreseen by industry experts, knowing these SEM trends for 2017 will assist in crafting effective PPC strategies. The field of paid search is constantly evolving (like the elimination of right-hand side ads) and there are ample of changes happening in the PPC industry which triggers changes in market and consumer behavior. Therefore, in order to level up your SEM game, you should adapt to these trends in 2017 and employ the most effective strategies.

1: Live streaming video

YouTube was a sensation in 2004. That technology allowed us to record, upload and view but 12 years later the mobile phone has become a broadcasting device that allows you to capture the live moment. Not recorded and sanitized with editing but raw live footage. Meerkat was one of the first social networks to make live streaming video easy, then Twitter bought Periscope and blocked Twitter’s sharing on Meerkat.

Blab tried hard for a year in 2015 and made some waves but has been switched off. Now Facebook “Live” is taking on Twitter’s Periscope. This trend is changing how we share our stories (both business and private), live events and educate. It is another way to engage with your audience. AI Lenses for Facebook & Instagram

The rise in popularity of Snapchat’s facial filters (artificial intelligence lenses) makes the network interactive, engaging and unique compared to others. However, social media marketers shouldn’t have to wait long until competitors start to catch up with their own facial lenses.

In fact, Facebook already tested facial lenses for its mobile interface in 2016. This could be a major sign of budding social media trends. With the launch of Instagram stories, expect the popular social media feature to move across channels.

According to Techcrunch, there were 100 million active users on Instagram Stories within two months after its release. Additionally, Instagram Stories are watched by 18% of the network’s 600 million active users each day.

2. Chatbots are changing our conversations

Chatbots are a conversational agent that is designed to simulate intelligent conversation without a human being present. In the artificial intelligence era it’s all about embedding human smarts in machines. Facebook chatbots are one application of this revolution, as they rapidly gain popularity and provide a new tool for marketers to leverage. These chatbots are the incorporation of automatic chatbots within Facebook Messenger. Chatbots offer flexibility in order to automate tasks, and assist in retrieving data. They are becoming a vital way to enhance the consumer experience for the purpose of better customer service and growing interaction.

Platforms like Facebook Messenger and Slack use chatbots to communicate with customers, answer frequently-asked questions or to provide immediate information on a product or service. These chatbots can increase communication and reduce response times to social messages in need of an answer.

If you’re only thinking about messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat as alternatives to traditional text messaging, think again — messaging apps are used by 4 billion users worldwide and there’s tremendous opportunity for brands to leverage this presence.

More specifically, many brands are using messaging apps to communicate one-on-one with customers, which are completely changing the way customer service gets done. These apps provide a faster and easier way for customers to get the assistance they need, rather than being placed on hold or waiting for a returned email. Deploying messaging for customer service is more scalable and cost effective for businesses, and by providing a better experience for the customer, brands can solve their problems quickly and retain them more easily.

HubSpot Vice President of Marketing, Meghan Keaney Anderson, “Maybe we shouldn’t be thinking about messaging in terms of apps at all,” Anderson notes, “but rather as an evolving infrastructure.” Customers are always searching for prompt and ready replies to their comments and queries. The chatbots are designed in such a manner that they are able to answer most of the queries placed by customers, without human intervention.

3. Expiring social content

Attracting attention online is a battle between brands with big budgets and savvy marketers with little cash but who know how to hack business growth with technology. The challenge is standing out and gaining attention. Normal marketing tactics don’t work like they used to.

But Snapchat decided on a different tactic. Make content expire. This brought urgency to the content table. Visitors now knew that they had limited time to read or view content before it disappeared. This included the watching of 10 second videos that are gone after one view and then it extended to Snapchat stories. These only last for 24 hours. So Instagram saw the future and just “copied” Snapchat Stories and brought its own “Instagram Stories” to its platform.

Expiring content is now part of the evolving social media landscape. It’s trending and the spurning of Facebook by Snapchat when they were offered a $3 billion buyout seems to have become personal. Their message to Snapchat, If we can’t buy you we will beat you. Social media is no longer an experiment or a game. It is big business. Expiring content is a trend you may need to test and try in your future social media marketing campaigns.

There’s no doubt social media algorithms make it harder for businesses to promote organic content. With the introduction of the need for quality and engaging content has never been higher. To ensure brands get their money’s worth whether it’s paid or organic, content has to have a purpose and be engaging. By using Sprout Social, you can be certain about your engagement rates with all your social content in 2017.

4. Merging of different social media platforms

Any evolving industry moves from a Wild West frontier to a more centralized and concentrated group of players over time. In his book “Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” Tim Wu (a professor at Columbia University) reveals this pattern has been with us since the rise of the telephone in the 1800’s. Social media is no different. Facebook bought WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus Rift. Twitter paid for Periscope. And Microsoft just acquired LinkedIn for a lazy $27 billion.

As big enterprise moves into the social media landscape the rules will continue to change. Control will be exerted and buying a seat at the table will become a high stakes game. Expect this social media marketing trend to continue as smaller social startups struggle to break through the clutter.

The significance for the modern marketer is that it is dangerous to assume that things will remain the same. You will need to watch the changing landscape and keep reinventing your tactics.

5. Acquisition of organic social traffic getting harder

Earning attention in a digital world was straightforward at first. You earned it by growing Likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter. No need to beg the gatekeepers or pay the newspaper and media moguls. But that is changing.

Facebook, Instagram and others are removing chronological timeline updates. They are starting to make you invisible unless you pull out the credit card. Social media is just becoming another paid media.

This is a simplified algorithm that shows the key factors behind how Facebook determines what they show to you the user. And the reason behind is too little space and too much content.

6. Automation moves to mainstream

The splintering of media from TV, radio and analogue to digital multimedia and social has made marketing a complicated and messy endeavor. Managing that with a pencil, piece of paper, spreadsheet or a room of human worker bees is inefficient and doesn’t scale well. Apps like Marketo, HubSpot and other marketing automation software platforms are now essential tools for any grownup marketer.

These are becoming smarter, more intuitive and cheaper to buy. If you aren’t using one today or thinking about it then you may find your competition giving you a marketing wakeup call. Also……it’s costing you money.

7. Personalization becoming a priority

As tools have become smarter and people’s resistance to general advertising grows higher the need for personalized and relevant content and advertising delivery becomes more important.

Facebook was re-targeting and adverts driven by identifying where you have been on the web and your interests are becoming the digital advertising tactic of choice for campaigns. It delivers relevant content that converts at a much higher rate.

Social media marketing automation also can provide the data and the tools to send the right content at the right time to the right customer. Relevance is king for catching a distracted eye and online glance in a noisy world of data clutter.

8. The rise of the social influencer

The social media marketing web gave rise to global topic tribes. Bloggers created content on fashion, food and thousands of other niche passions. They also built loyal followers and advocates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They constructed credibility and trust built on authentic content.

As the noise increases online and reaching your target customer gets harder because of content clutter the influencer and thought leaders who have built reach globally are the new niche gatekeepers. Brands are now paying to reach their admirers and devotees.

9. Social media marketing is transforming business in a trust economy

Making a mistake or receiving a complaint in the past was behind closed doors. A telephone call, a letter or even an email discussion was private and hidden conversation for most.

Stuff up in a world of social networks is like airing your dirty washing in a stadium. It’s visible and sometimes viral. Uber rates the driver “and” the passenger. Don’t drink too much and abuse the driver. Otherwise you may be walking a bit further in the future.

This visibility has been adopted from social. So …transparency is the new business paradigm. Some brands just don’t know it yet.

10. Artificial intelligence and the rise of the robots

The rise of the robots has been predicted since we watched HAL in “Space Odyssey 2001” in what was another world in 1968. In the decades since we have seen the emergence of the personal computer, the internet, social networks and the mobile smart phone. The intersection of these technologies is changing entertainment, business and our lives. The last 2 are obsessive technologies that have made 7 billion of us publishers. We are now all video creators, selfie photo producers and writers that share by the billions every hour. And the result comes out is a content explosion.

As the data volume has increased exponentially, the scale of the noise means that making sense of it needs artificial intelligence and machines with big powerful processors. It includes search on Google and Facebook. Where is this artificial intelligence being used that maybe you don’t even notice on your favorite social media networks?

Tagging of friends on Facebook with facial recognition and that deep learning technology that is woven into Facebook’s suggestions as well as Newsfeed algorithms and trending topics has now become the trend. Apart from that LinkedIn uses “AI” to provide better job matching between business and candidate. Pinterest uses the intelligence of the robots to boost image recognition and search

And this is just scratching the surface. Expect to see more of these technologies and trends emerge in social media marketing automation tools and beyond.

What are the implications of these emerging trends?

John Maynard Keynes said, The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones

As marketers and entrepreneurs you will need to let go of practices and tactics that are not effective as they once were. We live in a fast changing world.

You will need to keep reinventing. Learn more about these trends and what to expect in the social media universe in 2017 with this beautiful info graphic from CJG Digital marketing.

This will make more businesses go back to digital basics. Optimizing for search engines so you rank on the first page of Google.  Building email lists so you can reach your own audience without a Google or Facebook algorithm blocking or filtering your content and updates. Working harder at evolving skills that include growth hacking that is the new “art and science” of marketing. So don’t put all your eggs in the social media marketing basket. It is time you pursued a multi channel strategy.