Social media doesn’t stand still for too long! In 2016 we saw lots of change and evolution.

Newer, emerging channels like Snap Chat and Instagram developed and became more mainstream. The more established options like Facebook and Twitter evolved to meet user demands and expectations.

Social Media marketing is undoubtedly here to stay. If you’re including social media in your marketing mix (as you should be), then it’s important to keep up to date with changes.

These are my predictions for the major social media trends in 2017 –

The continued rise in mobile

Throughout the last few years all of the major social media channels have developed their software to enhance user experience on mobile.

In 2016 mobile has started to overtake desktop traffic, this shift will continue into 2017.

As mobile traffic continues to rise, content and campaigns should be created to maximise and enhance the mobile experience.

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The demise and death of Google+

Since launching, Google+ has received a few rethinks and changes, most notably in 2015 when Google decided to split the offering into ‘photos’ and ‘streams’.

If Google+ is going to thrive, then it needs a major relaunch. Despite massive amounts of investment, it’s lost too much ground on it’s major rivals.

The main problem is that Google+ doesn’t have the features, user base or flexibility and compatibility that Facebook offers.

Twitter will survive, but evolve further

At this time last year, lots of experts were predicting the death of Twitter.

In 2016, as Twitter struggled to keep up with the active user numbers of other channels, it made some pretty major updates, including changing what is counted in the 140 character limit.

I think Twitter will continue to exist, but 2017 will see more changes, updates and developments. New features including live streaming and real time news are apparently in the pipeline.

A big year for Instagram

I think 2017 will be a massive year for Instagram!

Instagram has already started to develop it’s offering and ‘monetise’ the channel – mainly through advertising options. This trend will continue further in 2017.

However, it’s important that this does’t ‘backfire’ as users have appreciated the authenticity and impartiality that comes with using the channel.

Users also appreciate the simplicity of the Instagram interface. Therefore, I think it’s crucial that Instagram doesn’t become overly complex in 2017.

The evolution of messaging based apps

In recent years social media users have embraced messaging apps including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

I think the use of direct messaging will continue to rise in 2017.

It will be interesting to see how brands and advertisers take advantage of this increase?

More advances in augmented and virtual reality

Virtual reality has been talked about for years, without ever really happening.

In 2016 Pokemon Go introduced augmented reality to the masses.

Virtual reality has the potential to reinvent how brands communicate with consumers. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a new story telling medium.

I think 2017 will see more developments in these areas but there are still technical and practicality issues that need to be resolved.

More video throughout social media

Only a few years ago, everybody was predicting that images were the future of social media. Now the experts are predicting that video will dominate in the future.

Mark Zuckerberg recently predicted that by 2020 most shared content on Facebook will be video.

The use of video (including live streaming video) will also increase throughout social media marketing in 2017.

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What do you think? Am I wide of the mark, or have I missed something major?

It will be fascinating to review this post in a years time!

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