If there’s one thing 2016 has showed us, it’s that nothing in the social world is written in stone. This year brought the shuttering of popular micro-video blogging platform Vine, InstaStories emerged as a direct competitor to Snapchat and Facebook Live has all but crippled Periscope’s hold on direct access live video. The social world moves fast, almost as fast as Twitter’s recent decline 🙁 . At Digita, we’ve made it our duty to stay on-top of media trends in order to offer the absolute best service to our clients. And when we say we’re staying on-top, we really mean staying ahead, so here are some well-informed predictions of 2017 social media trends and how your business can stay on top of it.

1. Organic Reach Reaches Less

Long gone are the days of simply posting content and expecting to reach the ideal and widest range of online engagement. In 2016 we saw a huge plummet in the power of organic reach primarily based on the new algorithms sites like Facebook and Twitter introduced this year to determine which content gets seen and which doesn’t. Even Instagram made tweaks to its algorithms.

What does this mean for your brand? It means that in 2017 you should definitely continue to create great content for your followers; content that you know they will engage with and share. It also means you should decide, which pieces can be enhanced with paid advertising. Prepare to allocate more cash to maintain your audience reach.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that paid advertising is as simple as throwing money and doing some loose targeting. Putting a bunch of cash on content that wouldn’t naturally get much engagement is foolhardy. Though organic reach on it’s own is waning, the goal to weather this forecast is to achieve a good balance of engagement on your posts based on BOTH organic and paid reach.

2. Influencers Become More Dominant

Social proof is more than just a nice concept; it has real value. Maximizing the dwindling amount of organic reach means strategically conceptualizing a more organic way to reach your potential market. We foresee that influencer marketing will become a more integral part of your marketing strategy.

With influencer marketing, you are reaching your potential clients in a way that feels organic to them, but this must be particularly strategic on your end. Consider: Do your influencers actually “influence”, how much? Is their promotion of your brand one that feels believable? What kind of compensation will you offer, if any? The best way to approach influencer marketing is to demonstrate the actual value of your brand to someone who identifies and aligns with it. Naturally, their passion and appreciation will be evident to their followers (soon to be yours!). Never forget though, you can’t improve what you don’t measure, be keenly aware of the ROI whether you offer cash or kind.

3. Live Content & Video Will Thrive

Every year, marketers face the challenge of innovating around the emerging marketing channels and technologies. This year we saw a burst in appeal of live video sharing platforms and features, such as Snapchat, and major platforms have quickly made moves to play catch up. Ergo Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Instagram and Twitter Live.

Live sharing gives every brand a powerful opportunity to broadcast content and meaning like never before. Live video content will continue to rule social media in 2017 and strategic use can quickly take over your follower’s hearts.

4. Empathetic Content Will Gain Precedence

2016 has revealed a very divisive world, and the do-gooders online are quick to chastise brands for any thing that is less than politically correct and inclusive. Social media content creators have a unique opportunity to address this world-wide division and to push for unification. This means that, more than ever, content creators must be on the pulse of global happenings. There is a powerful opportunity for brands to find themselves on the positive side of history in the making, which can be followed by increased returns. On the flip-side, insensitivity can be devastating.

Brands must learn to care about their followers. As social superstar Gary Vaynerchuk says, “jab, jab, jab, right hook”; give, give, give, then ask. Consumers want true value, this is how you even get the foot in the door to build a meaningful relationship. In 2017, brands who over-promote will find themselves in trouble with the new consumer who can spot an ad 5 miles away.

Content marketing is the only marketing left – Seth Godin

5. Data determines Directions

Smart data-led campaigns will go mainstream. This brings us back around to our first prediction: continued decline of organic reach. As it stands now, constant critical analysis of advertising campaigns is what separates the sheep from the wolves in the digital media world. In-depth investigations of the relevant market and intelligent assessment of their levels of interaction and direction of interest will mine social gold.

The experts at Digita are digital data gods, ready to grant you a beautiful field of followers dripping with enthusiasm and real spending power. Let us get started on your 2017 social media strategy today.

About The Author

Kemal is a serial entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He loves digital media, is a certified techie and re-incarnated lion (or so he tells himself). He trains executives, mentors entrepreneurs, and heads a soon to be well-known company called Digita Global Marketing Ltd.