By Sarah Hansen (Space Coast Chapter)
With months of research under his belt, Arik Hanson, principal at ACH Communications, shared his opinion on where social media is heading in 2017 during a presentation at the recent Florida Public Relations Association Annual Conference.
1. Less is the new more. The new strategy for social posts is “less is more.” In other words, you don’t need to post multiple times a day! If you can pull together a small social advertising fund, then posting two “boosted” posts a week means your content will appear all week long with less work.
2. Could the all-video news feed be a reality? YES! It certainly seems to be heading that way. According to the research Arik showed, the number of videos Facebook published in June was twice as many as April. Facebook Live is a good example of how the platform is pushing more video content. Brands such as Oreo and Dunkin Donuts are on board! In the nine posts Oreo had in July, seven of those were videos. Platforms are adding new functionality all the time, and there are huge rates of engagement.
3. Will Instagram lose its “cool” factor? (Arik thinks so.) Instagram shot up to 400 million users from 2010 to 2015. It slowly began allowing brands to advertise, and then finally late last year, it opened its ad platform up to all businesses. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed these ads and felt a tinge of annoyance.
4. Live social video will lead to deeper brand engagement. Live streaming through platforms such as Periscope or Facebook Live can bring consumers access to things they may not normally have. For example, Mayo Clinic streamed a live video of a colonoscopy, while a world-class physician discussed the process and answered questions on the spot! Interviews won’t always work though, so get creative. And remember, the Internet likes weird, crappy stuff (like the IHOP Facebook Live pancakes on a beach – look it up for a good laugh).
5. The emojis heydey is over (for brands). We use emojis to communicate with our friends and family and to convey certain emotions in a simple, funny way. Brands are trying to get on board with this and failing. Most brands are clunky and don’t understand how to use them properly. Speak the language your customers are using, and keep it simple!
6. LinkedIn publishing will help close the gap between leadership and employees. CEOs publishing on LinkedIn is becoming a bigger trend. It’s reaching the right audience and humanizes them in a way other communications haven’t. Since it’s a professional network, more leaders will begin joining.
7. More brands will be relying on third-party vendors to produce podcasts. Why will they outsource? Brands don’t have the skill set in-house, and agencies aren’t offering/don’t have the skill set either. The content is more compelling when created by experts, and professional companies can produce a polished and finished podcast.
8. More Pinterest. Less Snapchat. Pinterest doesn’t get the credit, but a lot of people use it. People on Pinterest are building boards, then buying. For some companies, Pinterest is a huge traffic-driver to website. Why not Snapchat? It has few meaningful metrics, is not super-intuitive for brands, and is hard for brands to do right.
9. Expect more brands to start employing 360-degree photos.They are more engaging in most cases, and they provide a richer, deeper experience. Why don’t we see it yet? It’s still early – just launched in June. Brands think you need a 360 camera, but the pano camera on your phone works fine.
10 (bonus trend!). Feed-stopping interactive content: GIFs. With all the advertising cluttering social platforms, companies need to get creative with content that “stops the scroll.” Gifs are a great example of content that most consumers will stop to engage with.
Editor’s note: The post was adapted from coverage of a presentation given by Arik Hanson at the Florida Public Relations Association Annual Conference in 2016. Read the full post here.