While we won't know everything 2017 has in store for us right away, we can still have fun guessing what the year will bring. Taking a cue from this past year, we can probably expect the continuation of certain social trends that made a name for themselves in 2016. It's a pretty good guess that video and instant gratification type articles will remain popular. However, there are a few surprises in store for the year in social as well.
Social first got its start with the appeal of sharing posts with everyone, but we've seen a shift in the way people use social media in recent years. Take Snapchat for example, its major point of differentiation is users have the ability to cherry pick the people who see their posts. It's exclusive social sharing at it's finest.
Not convinced? Consider this. The four most popular messaging apps - Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, QQ Chat and WeChat - have a larger community than the top four main social networks do.
Facebook announced in November that they will be adding a new feature to their advertising platform. Brands will soon be able to pay to have their clicked ads redirected to an open chat window with the user who clicked. Also, companies like Everlane already use the Facebook Messenger application to update their buyers on the shipping and status of their online orders.
Video Usage Will Increase
Both Facebook and Twitter announced Facebook Live and Periscope integrations this year, and Instagram wasn't far behind with their live video release to U.S. accounts.
Another aspect to watch out for in video is the increase in 360-degree capabilities. Facebook recently announced it plans to release a 360-degree video for all Facebook Live users including company profiles this year.
Video is a powerful tool for businesses, especially workplaces and co-working offices who are trying to raise brand awareness and share insight into their company culture. Video takes a viewer into your world, and takes them much further than a photo every could hope to. While text and photos will always be part of what makes social media special, video may just take the top spot this year, or at least score a seat at the cool kids table.
Snapchat & Instagram Continue to Battle
While they were probably a little bummed by Snapchat's rejection of their $3 billion offer, Facebook used that frustration to create their own platform...which failed miserably. But the social media king didn't give up, the brilliant minds in Palo Alto decided to build their own app, right within their other popular site, Instagram.
Once Snaphat and Instagram were defined competitors, the claws really came out. Snapchat released "Moments" so users' photos could be stored for later use, similar to Instagram. Both sites also happen call the 24-hour timeline of videos and photos "Stories".
The clear takeaway from this battlefield is storytelling and exclusivity are key trends for 2017. It's no longer just about sharing your content with everyone, but sharing it with who you choose, and who wants to see it. Companies can use this to tailor their messaging to each platform, and should ensure their posts feel personal and approachable.
All Eyes on LinkedIn
Since the highly publicized (and extremely expensive) $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft, all eyes are on the tech giant to see exactly how they're going to gain return on this impulse purchase. Popular with B2B companies and job seekers, LinkedIn certainly has a niche market - one of educated, involved global professionals - but just how will Microsoft leverage this?
Microsoft's Chief Executive, Satya Nadella, told the Wall Street Journal, “It’s really the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network.” What does she mean? The blending of this professional powerhouse and data mogul is simple, it connects the right people, with the right information. We think communication and data analytics will be key features in Microsoft's development of LinkedIn over the next year.
The Crack Down on Fake News
While this issue came under light during the recent election, fake news isn't doing anyone any favors, and has become a serious issue for major sites like, Facebook. Although most social sites have stated they've banned fake news, the shear number of posts published per day makes it difficult for them to monitor everything that goes live.
Both Google and Facebook have vowed to up their efforts to catch fake news posts and eliminate the sources to prevent future false articles from spreading. Many experts believe the "amplification of false information will become more difficult" along with any threatening online behavior, which is good news for us all.
We're excited to see what 2017 has in store for us, and while only time will tell us if our predictions are correct, it will be quite the journey to see everything unfold.