Social Media Trends to Look for in 2017

It’s that time again. With each new year, brings futuristic thoughts and opportunities it could bring. Most of us like to know what’s in store and plan accordingly. So, to make life easier when navigating your small business’s social media platforms, I’ve created a list of the top 5 trends you can expect to see on your timelines.

Disclaimer: I can’t see the future. However, that would be quite helpful in many aspects of my life. If you do know someone can predict the future, please send them my way. These are my thoughts after doing some research and reviewing of past trends and social media’s current position. Take it as you will.

  1. Video, video, video

You heard it all through 2016, and you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll hear about it more in 2017. Video content capabilities have been integrated into almost every social platform out there. Not only do we have the option to create regular, ole videos. We can now live stream our videos and share 360 degree videos with our followers. Expect to see videos (long, short, live, aerial or 360) in not only your social media mediums, but also in emails. By adding short videos into your mailing list emails, it can better tell your business’s story and promote your brand.screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-1-44-13-pm

2. Virtual/Augmented Reality

Cue the Pokemon Go era this past summer! (If you missed out on that trend, no worries. You can still check out the previous blog that covers it here What Can Pokémon Go Do For You?!).

What exactly is virtual or augmented reality, you ask? Fabulous question. My definition is: probably the coolest, out-of-this-world thing ever. As for a formal definition that is actually useful, TechTarget describes it as: “Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input. Thus, providing a composite view.”

While I don’t expect you to be applying and creating these videos yourself, it does help to know about them and be ready to participate if a trend arises. What I mean is, don’t be afraid to jump on the next Pokemon Go bandwagon and have your small business take part in the fun.

go

3. The name is Content. Paid Content.

Ever wonder what you would do if social media was taken away? What I mean is, what if all our favorite platforms were no longer free?? Not to scare you, because I don’t see that happening by any means, but I do see the need for paid content rising. While platforms can’t completely take away social media, they can change the algorithms of the content we see. They are becoming increasingly different and slowly losing their ability for organic (un-paid) content to reach all our followers. For the future, we will need to be even more strategic in our content that we post and build our online following in innovative ways.

4. Employees as Advertising

I know what you’re thinking, and no, they aren’t standing on a corner dressed in a costume twirling a sign.

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Nevertheless, employees can still be great voices and advocates for your small business through THEIR personal social media. As we’ve said before, spreading your brand recognition is key to acquiring the trust of your followers and future customers. If you’re curious on ideas that employees could post or share, stay tuned to our blog for a future post regarding content ideas. Just make sure your employees are representing the business in an appropriate way, and you’ve got yourself a free, simple way to spread awareness.

5. Social Shopping?

By entering the online world, what might be a small, local business can turn global. No longer are you tied to a certain location, you can promote your product at any time, to anyone. There are so many outlets now that allow businesses to promote product and sell online. Pinterest, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram and Amazon are all great option to name drop a few.

My favorite part about this trend is that the Center is having an upcoming New-Media Marketing Bootcamp (learn more here!) that will have several session touch on brick-and-mortar, along with online e-commerce. Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded and national spokesperson of Small Business Saturday, is a retail guru and will be speaking at our New-Media Bootcamp. I can’t wait to get her take on brick-and-mortar, along with online shopping. Our Bootcamp will also have a special e-commerce section on what to consider before taking the plunge to selling online. An easy way to get number 5 checked off your list of research to-dos!

Beware! My crystal ball has been known to be wrong before, but I’d expect to see more video, augmented/virtual reality, paid content, using employees as advertisements, and e-commerce expand. I invite you to attend our New-Media Marketing Bootcamp in February to learn how to tackle any of these 2017 trends. Visit ruralengagement.org/bootcamp to learn more.

Do you have any different ideas of what will happen in 2017? Leave a comment! I would be delighted to hear from you!

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