What does the social media landscape look like in 2017? What networks are going to help me drive awareness, conversation and conversions? What types of content will have the most impact on my audience? Is Snapchat a good investment?
As we near the end of 2016, these are likely just a few of the questions being asked by marketers everywhere. While I’d love to say there’s a magical crystal ball with all the answers out there, we all know that nothing is permanent or sure-fire when it comes to social media. But we do have some data and insights that can help.
In it’s The State of Social 2016 report, Buffer surveyed more than 1,200 B2B and B2C marketers to better understand how they’re currently using social media and where they plan to go in 2017. Those who participated work for companies of all sizes and across a variety of industries.
Below we offer a few key takeaways from the report as well as some tips for using those insights to guide your social media marketing efforts in the coming year.
#1 – Now is the time to invest in video.
Humans are highly visual beings, so it’s certainly no surprise that online video content is becoming a favorite source of information and entertainment across the digital landscape. As a result, marketers want to create more video content, but they often don’t have the time, resources or cash to do so. In fact, according to Buffer’s report 83% of marketers said they’d create more video if they didn’t have resource limitations. In addition, 30% said they would like to focus more on Facebook video in 2017.
With that said, now may be to the time to determine if video is right for your brand and audience, and aligns with your overall business goals, particularly when it comes to Facebook.
“Right now, video is hot and is standing out in the Facebook News Feed. But that won’t always be the way,” Buffer said. “As video creeps up in popularity and more and more brands and individuals are sharing it, it’ll be harder to get noticed. Eventually, brands may have to pay for video reach, just as many do already for sponsored posts and ads.”
As for the content of your videos, some options to consider are customer or client testimonials, product demos or how-to videos. At TopRank Marketing, each week we create an industry news roundup post that features a video of our team members discussing the latest happenings. Below is a recent example.
Check out these resources for more video ideas:
- 6 Ways to Use Video to Add More Value to Your Digital Marketing Strategy
- Going Native: Tips & Examples for Effectively Incorporating Native Video Into Your Social Strategy
- Life After Vine: 5 Tips to Help Brands Move on with Video
#2 – Facebook is still a leading social platform for marketers.
Despite Facebook’s changes to its News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and family, and a general decline in organic visibility, marketers are not abandoning the platform. According to Buffer’s report, 93% of marketers still use Facebook for their business and 91% have dabbled with Facebook ads.
Whether you’re relying only on organic reach or paying to play, you need to find a way to get your content to stand out. A great first step is digging into your website analytics and Facebook Insights to uncover the types of posts that are really resonating with your audience. Look at the kinds of posts that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those that are garnering the most engagement on your page. Use that information to tweak your content plan, as well as your messaging.
Check out these resources to help boost your Facebook efforts:
- 7 Tips for Making Your Brand More “Likeable” on Social Media
- Find the Bright Side: 6 Things Brands Should Do in Light of New Facebook Page Layout
- Is Your Brand Likable? 7 B2B Technology Brands Taking a Creative Approach on Facebook
#3 – Google+ is losing steam.
According to the report, marketers are beginning to abandon Google+, with 27% saying they’ll be using it less in 2017. For many of us, this may not be that surprising. While it showed a ton of promise when it launched five or so years ago, some of us have found it’s hard to get the engagement and ROI necessary to justify the efforts.
So, if you’re planning on jumping ship and putting your efforts elsewhere in 2017, you certainly won’t be alone. But, don’t let this statistic make the decision for you. Google+ still may be worth your time and effort. Read Buffer’s 5 Surprising Reasons To Reconsider Google+ (That You Can Act On Today) before you pull the plug.
#4 – Social media can be a powerful customer support tool.
Social media is an amazing tool for building brand awareness and encouraging engagement, but most aren’t harnessing the power it has as a customer service and support tool. According to Buffer’s report, just 21% of respondents said customer support was a reason for using social media.
The bottom line? Using social media to provide customer service is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors, engage in meaningful interactions and grow the one-on-one relationships with your customers.
But, from my perspective, the caveat here is that you’ll have to be prepared for public displays of negative feedback. As I wrote in another recent TopRank Marketing post:
“Every brand and business dreams of complete customer satisfaction, but that’s rarely the case. Things happen and social media is often an easy place for your customers to air their grievances. While it can be scary to allow mistakes to be visible for the whole social media world to see, use any negative feedback as an opportunity to show humility, understanding and your drive to take care of your customers.”
#5 – The struggle to drive website traffic, generate leads and measure ROI on social is real.
Many marketers are struggling to inspire measurable action from their social media audiences. According to the report, 58% of marketers say driving traffic to their website is one of their biggest challenges, followed by lead generation (49%) and defining ROI and measurement (42%).
How do you overcome these challenges? First of all, make sure you have a detailed and documented social media marketing strategy. A documented strategy will help you plan and execute your efforts, and provides a foundation that can be refined as you analyze the data coming in.
Check out these posts to get more insights on social media strategy and inspiring audience action:
- Can Marketers Really Generate Sales on Social Media?
- Roadmap for Social Media Marketing Strategy
- A Fresh Start: Learn How to Put Your Social Media Strategy on A Paleo Diet
Read the full The State of Social 2016 report.
What something you’ll be adding or dropping from your social media marketing strategy in 2017? Tell us in the comments section below.