A notable social media trend in 2016 was the rise of video marketing and it is projected to increase significantly in 2017. In fact, 70% of marketers plan to use social video advertising in 2017 and 65% of marketers will focus on Facebook video advertising in 2017 followed by YouTube at 39% and Instagram at 21.7% according to Animoto. Brands are encouraged to keep videos short (up to 30 seconds), focus on simple messages and realize that videos will often automatically play with the volume off so adapt the video messaging so that it can be effective without volume. Social networks are also beginning to serve as specialized search engines and are often preferred over general search engines like Google and Bing. In fact, among 16-24 year olds, social media is now only 6% behind search engines as the preferred engine to discover brands. Social media driven commerce is also on the rise as marketers are continuing to find savvy ways to drive traffic and sell products online.
Major social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram are great for spreading brand awareness through imagery and storytelling. Facebook and Twitter are great for both and is being used by businesses mostly to drive direct traffic and engage with customers. LinkedIn has continued to drive their focus on using LinkedIn as a content hub and peer-to-peer selling. Pinterest is trying to position themselves as a social discovery network as opposed to a social network. Marketers in the past have noted that it has been built like a social bookmarking website that can provide an incredible search engine optimization boost to brands.
In 2016, many social networks (most notably Facebook) have continued to decline organic social reach for brands and place a focus on content from user content. Many marketers have begun to pay for social advertising in order to combat the decline in organic reach. One of the many reasons why it is important for businesses to invest time and resources into social media marketing is because it has become a form of ‘word of mouth’ marketing and it is proven that peer-driven media is effective in building consumers trust in brands. In fact, 67% of consumers trust recommendations from families and friends and 72.6% of salespeople who incorporated social media into their process outperformed colleagues according to Altimeter “Social Media Employee Advocacy 2016”. Brands of all sizes need to make use of these tools. Social media usage is increasing and it is quickly becoming the most popular way for consumers to identify, evaluate and engage with brands.