Independent Thinking Blog

2017 Social Media Trends: Less Bling and More Basics

Let’s talk about 2017 social media trends.

But first, some context.

Buffer’s social media team tweeted out a terrific visual on product adoption. It took 50 years before the telephone had 50 million users, and 22 years before televisions boasted such reach. Facebook? 3 years.

Today the social network boasts over 1 billion daily users.

As a result, it’s no surprise that Facebook remains a key focus for many marketers, particularly on the consumer side.  A new social media marketing trends report [free with registration] finds that 67 percent of marketers plan to increase their Facebook focus — including on the advertising side. I had trouble actually getting the report (I tried twice to sign up), but I did grab some summary information here.

Your 2017 social media trends are confirmational.

2017 social media trends -- ads

There’s no big news. The 2017 social media trends report confirms that the platforms you expect to find companies paying attention to are the ones companies are focused on. Facebook gets attention, but so too do Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and (to a lesser extent) Pinterest and Snapchat.

That’s true for posting content and also for advertising. I actually think the ad piece is a combination of eyeballs and value. LinkedIn advertising can be effective (particularly on the business-to-business side), but you need a pretty big budget to get any traction. In contrast, you can advertise effectively on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with a small budget. This also gives you far more flexibility to test and tweak.

There is some good news here, though it’s likely just a pause.

There’s no new bling.

Look at where people are spending their time and money.

There is no new hot social network where all the cool kids are hanging out. There are a number of niche networks that, like LinkedIn groups, vary by industry and might or might not be worth paying attention to. I periodically get invites to different business networking sites; until one takes off, I’m focusing my efforts where I know there’s value.

Where are the podcasters?

Social Media Trends -- content

Whoever said blogging is dead clearly wasn’t paying attention. I’m heartened by what looks like a renewed focus on creating anchor content. The other trend that’s growing: live video. As I’ve said before, livestreaming matters.

Finally, a word about podcasting. Nielsen, which rolled out a syndicated podcast measurement service this year, said that podcasting is:

“no longer a nice-to-have in the audio world. Consumers today expect to be able to listen to what they want, when they want and however they want. Among adults 18 and older, monthly podcast consumption has doubled over the past five years, according to Nielsen Scarborough.”

I’m not saying run out and add a podcast. But don’t sleep on the option either.

PS: The survey respondents were primarily based in the U.S. (49 percent), the UK (8 percent), Canada (6 percent), Australia (4 percent), and India (4 percent), and this does impact the results. If you’re doing business in China, for example, you don’t want to ignore WeChat.

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