We’ve all seen it and you’ve lived it; quite a lot has happened in 2016. Social media is no exception. We have seen viral challenges, advances in social technology and the rise and fall of popular platforms. We’re going to take a look at some of the trends we saw this year as well as what worked, what didn’t, and what we can expect to see more of in 2017.
First on the list:
#1: Live Video
Without a doubt, one of the most popular trends in social media this year was the development of live video. Streaming live video is an easy and effective way to interact with people, most effective among those who use a Q&A format to encourage participation. Live video became popular back in 2015 by the dedicated streaming app Periscope (owned by Twitter) but didn’t take off until 2016.
The first platform to kick-off their live video feature was Twitter with their deal to stream Thursday NFL games. In addition to the popularity of Snapchat, other social sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram all jumped on the live video bandwagon. This movement in social media speaks volumes to what users react to best, and that’s real-time interaction.
Facebook Live Campaign
#2: Disappearing Content
Snapchat stories have been around since the app’s launch in 2011, but their concept of “disappearing content” became a popular trend in 2016. Snapchat Stories are unique because they’re only available on a user’s feed for 24 hours and then disappear. Instagram made headlines this year when they added a similar function called Instagram Stories.
The popularity of this feature shows how social media has become much more than a connection-conversation based platform, but really a place for storytelling. What we’ve seen from the disappearing content trend in 2016 is that people respond to storytelling as it forms a closer connection than the regular picture/status.
For those of you unaware, here’s Snapchat’s Story Campaign from 2013
ALGORITHMS: Many platforms have introduced newsfeed algorithms that now sort posts based on relevance, rather than based on the time posted (Facebook and Instagram for example).
BUY BUTTONS: Advertising has always been around on social media, but just recently has the advertising experience become more aligned with the shopping experience. Products available for purchase have begun popping up in user’s newsfeeds with a “Buy Button.” This simple feature was introduced into newsfeeds earlier this year and has helped brands in converting their followers into customers.
GOIN’ VIRAL: With the abundance of viral challenges we’ve seen in 2016, here are just a few that have BLOWN UP every social media site.
RIP VINE: Although we’ve seen such a drastic increase of video content, not all video platforms had the same success. In 2012, Twitter purchased the popular video clip-based app Vine for roughly $30 million. Unfortunately soon after 2013, Instagram added a video feature, which was a major blow to Vine's appeal. Then Snapchat's rise in popularity only further damaged Vine's chances at long-term success. Twitter had experienced their own difficulties in 2016 and didn’t even try at a reboot of the app. Twitter announced they were shutting down Vine once and for all this past October.
FAKE NEWS: Another serious problem that we saw quite a bit of in 2016 (especially during the election) was the spread of fake news. Lots of people began pointing the finger at Facebook, claiming they added confusion to the election process by spreading false news. As of December, Facebook announced a new flagging process that relies on users to mark any stories they deem as “false.” To be determined on whether this process will work.
What can you expect for social media in 2017? Well, videos are officially the unanimous content choice of social media users, so be prepared for much more of that and plan how your bar or restaurant can utilize video to your advantage. Facebook reports that by 2020, 75% of all mobile data will be video. In 2016, brands that didn’t create and publish original video content began falling behind their competitors. People love videos.
Unfortunately, another social media prediction for early 2017 is a further decline in organic reach opportunities. Multiple social media sites are showing a much greater increase in paid social reach (paying for your content to be shown to more people) whereas organic reach is on the decline.
Without a doubt, social media has seen some pretty remarkable changes within the past year. No doubt, 2017 promises to be no different. However, social media is taking a major leap forward, shifting its focus to storytelling through video, which has resulted in companies seeing killer return on investment. In 2017 think VIDEO!