If you own a business, then you probably know how important social media marketing is. A lot of businesses of all sizes have tapped social networks like Facebook and Instagram to reach their audience and interact with them. Social media has been around for a decade and it continues to make an impact in everyone’s lives.

By now, it’s already very clear that social media marketing is not going anywhere and its importance can be attributed to a single characteristic: it keeps on evolving. It constantly exceeds our expectations, responds to new technology and brings us better features.

So what’s in store for 2017 for social media marketers? 

1. Emergence of New Areas of Communication

Three old rotary phones in a row

Social media was created as a means for people to communicate with each other online. Eventually, brands realized its potential and now they are using it to communicate with their customers and prospective customers. In the near future, we expect social media to offer new communication areas. It will be able to offer a means for businesses to provide customer service, boost interaction between brands and consumers and offer diversity in communication.

2. Vicarious Experiences for Users

Nowadays it’s no longer enough for people to post how they feel about something – they have to show others what it’s like to be there. This is done through Facebook Live, 360 images and real time posting. Experts are seeing a rapid rise in the popularity of these features, and brands are also beginning to take advantage of this technology.

3. Snapchat’s Advancement Will Pave the Way for New Opportunities

An iPhone at the Snapchat loading screen

Snapchat, now known as Snap, has evolved and transformed user expectations for the future. It has brought back a moment-focused perception of communication, paving the way for more live content. Moreover, it has aided mobile-centric app developments and made vertical videos mainstream. We can expect big things from Snap in 2017, including significant marketing opportunities for businesses.

4. Rebirth of Ads.

While social media platforms subtly force companies to consider using paid advertising, the increased competition also forces social networks to come up with better and more creative ad options for companies. The result – resurgence of social media advertising. In 2017, we can anticipate more cost-effective advertising from the leading social networks.

5. Twitter will Become More and More Irrelevant

A dead bird on top of rocks

While we can’t really say Twitter will die in 2017, its popularity will continue to dwindle in the coming years. Twitter was exciting and novel at first but nowadays people are craving for bigger and more detailed information. Receiving and sending bite sized updates can be tiring and overwhelming, and now people are wanting pieces of content to be rolled out at a slower pace. The limitations of Twitter are what will trigger its eventual demise.

6. Brands Will Pick Social Platforms That are Likely to Survive

New social networks are being created every year but marketers and entrepreneurs can’t really be expected to spend their resources on every one of them. Brands will likely pick one or two platforms that they believe will work best for them and focus their efforts on just a few good ones.

7. Social Media Will Remain a Vital Element for SEO

Scrabble tiles spelling out SEO

Social media will continue to be relevant in any SEO strategy just as it is important today. Any business who wants to increase their visibility online without spending millions of dollars should incorporate social media marketing in their SEO efforts. It has proven to work and will continue to be effective in the coming years.

Other Important Points

Aside from the trends that are expected to grow or come out in 2017, the following points should also be noted:

Facebook isn’t dead.

Facebook has around 1.5 billion users every month and it continues to rule the social media landscape when it comes to user engagement. If fact, despite being dubbed as a social network for the older generations, 82% of Internet users in the United States who are between the age of 18 and 29 are active on Facebook. What may have led people to suspect that Facebook is for the older generation is that millennials are sharing less personal stories on Facebook, and more on Instagram.

Instagram ads will continue to create better brand awareness.

In fact, an estimated 97% of branded Instagram campaigns led to a marked increase in ad recall. In 2017, this phenomenon is expected to grow bigger as Instagram continues to develop its ad targeting features.

Since the launch of Instagram ads in 2015, more than 500 global advertising campaigns have been created, and Instagram already has more than 200,000 advertisers. It has been predicted that Instagram ads will eventually outsell Google by 2017, with a revenue of $2.81 billion.

Video will rule.

An iPhone at the YouTube loading screen

By 2019, it’s predicted that video content will comprise 85% of search traffic in the United States. A 2016 eMarketer report showed significant growth projections for video content ad spending in the next 4 years, from $9.9 billion in 2016 up to $28 billion by 2020.

In 4 years, video will make up four-fifths of global search traffic. Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg estimates that Facebook will be predominantly video.

Final Thoughts

It’s really not that difficult to see where social media is heading in 2017. It has been a revelation on many fronts and as people come up with more novel types of content and innovative methods of sharing them, social media is poised to become bigger.

Social media, unlike other forms of media, evolves continuously and will remain very relevant in the future. It gets smarter just as people are becoming smarter. Once deemed only as a tool to share funny or inspiring memes, now social media is leading all others when it comes to customer-focused brand engagements.

If you’re a business, it would be to your advantage to seriously consider how invaluable social media marketing will be in the very near future.