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Digital marketing continuously changes, it’s one of the things that us marketers love about it. So what does 2017 have in store? It can be hard to define and predict exactly what is going to happen but here are some of the clear areas that we think will lead the way this year.

The Trends

1. The Power of the Top Social Media Channels will Rise

Facebook, Google and Microsoft are some of the big names we recognise in the digital world, 2017 will see them continue to rise and the social media platforms they own will be the place where your content has to be seen. social media icons on a mac desk Only the most important information will get through, so having a strategy in place is key. We will see the fight against fake news and a reduction in “clutter”. If you want your content to appear on the giants of social media, this will continue to come at a price, it’s time to get a social media advertising budget together.

2. Social Messaging

The best social media apps now have a larger following than their respective social media platforms, like Facebook Messenger, as these become more popular, customers expect more immediate responses and easy access to the brands they love. Enter social messaging. Finding a way to ensure you are using one of these platforms, whether it’s a WhatsApp group for special offers or a Facebook chat thread for support queries, it will ensure that your customers feel valued and are able to get in touch with brands at a convenient time.

3. More Targeting and More Integration

Internally, businesses will see a rise in integration with software, using CRMs to track and monitor sales and leads will be increasingly connected to project managers and tracking software. By using tools like Zapier the sky is the limit of connecting your systems. The valuable data can be used to develop and enhance your marketing strategy to target your key audiences.

Brands will need to develop new methods for targeting; Influencer Marketing will become even more popular, brands should celebrate fans and followers which will encourage them to become brand advocates. Paid social will continue to rise and will become a major player in making sure your content is seen by your target audience. With Instagrams last algorithm in 2016 the majority of social networks are now trying to put as much relevant information in front of their users as possible, meaning paid content is only going to increase. According to Adobe $41 million will be spent on social media advertising in 2017.

4. Facial Filters & Storytelling

Things are getting creative in 2017. We’ve seen more and more social networks use artificial intelligence lenses (facial filters), starting with SnapChat and now Facebook, quickly followed by the launch of Instagram stories. They add a fun element to a brand that customers can interact with. Instagram stories and Snapchat memories allow brand stories to be developed, a special event can be documented and share, they give the feeling of immediacy, helping to connect users to the brand story.

5. More Social Business Tools

As businesses become more involved in social analytics and feedback across social media platforms the need for valuable data has been on the increase. Thankfully the social networks are answering our prayers. Instagram launched its business tools feature in 2016 and Pinterest implemented similar analytics. Facebook and Twitter have had their insights available for quite some time and they are able to provide in-depth feedback in terms of reach and engagement.

business man using internet on smart phone and laptop

This move towards a more analytical approach will see marketers becoming more competitive with all that lovely data.

6. Less Automation

Good news for 2017, fewer auto responders, auto DMs and more meaningful conversations are ahead, as people seek out something more interactive and detailed. Marketers will need to take into consideration their management tools and allow more time for interacting with customers organically. By being personal and highlighting that there are people behind the business customers will find this more beneficial and valuable.

7. Live Content

2017 will see a rise in “live” video even more so than 2016, live streaming was initially made popular by Twitter and Periscope, but this has now been brought in-house, users no longer require the periscope app to launch live video, highlighting Twitter’s commitment to live video in 2017. Facebook have been pushing Facebook Live in recent months and will continue to do so in 2017, an added advantage is the ability for users to react to the videos, giving instant gratification and recognition.

8. Curated Information

2017 will see people seek out thought leaders who can provide the information they seek, this will see a rise in social influencers and influencer marketing. Why does your brand require influencers? According to Kissmetrics, “An influencer is a mutual friend connecting your brand with your target customers.” People would rather trust a recommendation from someone they admire or know rather than a stranger bombarding them with information. Influencers bring their own audience network to the table, giving you additional exposure you may not have had access to previously. They can be found by using Google alerts or by monitoring the social media platforms you through specific hashtags, search around your own industry and see who is saying what.

Conclusion

Ultimately, 2017 is going to focus on less disruptive advertising and content, you’ll see a reduction in pop-ups and banner ads and instead an increase in creative content, images and videos. It will be an opportunity to enrich your marketing plan and provide curated content to your customers. It may require a re-evaluation of internal resources as more time needs to be spent on creating valuable content rather than using automation.

Chris McGuicken

With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, Chris is responsible for business growth, as well as maintaining relationships with existing clients and developing new ones. His experience of working within a family business and his passion for project management has lead the company from strength to strength, alongside his unique understanding of local business owners and his approachable, non-tech approach.

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