To be successful at social media marketing, it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest trends. Social media is all about relevancy, so if you’re still using last year’s most popular hashtag - it’s time to do some research and get up to date.

Here are just a handful of the social media trends that and other sites are predicting will be crucial for marketers in 2017:

·       The march of emojis. Ever since Twitter emerged with its 140-character limit, online communications have been striving towards becoming increasingly more concise. Why say it with a whole sentence when one tiny emoji can say it all? Experts are predicting that 2017 will see this trend continue, with increased use of emojis, GIFs, memes and images on social media. Marketers will need to embrace this, which can be a challenge when there is lots of product, service or event information to impart.


·       Live video. Video is widely considered one of the best formats with which to engage an audience. It stimulates emotional reactions, is easy and enjoyable to share and can also boost conversion rates. 2017’s big trend will be live video, particularly on Facebook Live which the platform is pushing hard. This will change how brands communicate with their customers and tell stories.


·       Rating and reviewing. According to research, millennials love ratings and reviews more than any other user group. They rely on this user-generated content to make purchase decisions, and they enjoy providing their own thoughts and feedback too. Brands in 2017 may want to look at how they can encourage this kind of word-of-mouth marketing across social media and other platforms. It starts with asking for opinions, with open Q&As, polls and surveys, as well as encouraging users to share your content with each other.


·       Expiring content. If you’re struggling to get heard above the noise on crowded social media platforms, you may need to increase the urgency of your content. This is why platforms such as Snapchat have been so eagerly embraced by marketers, as the 10-second window to view practically forces customers to look at the content or risk missing out. 2017 will see similar new platforms emerging, such as Instagram Stories.


·       The decline of organic social media traffic. In their push to make brands spend more on paid advertising, platforms such as Facebook are making it much harder for marketers to reach audiences organically. It uses complicated algorithms based on interest by users and previous performance of posts by the brand to determine whether a new post appears in a user’s newsfeed. This isn’t such a problem for established brands with loyal customer bases and lots of engagement, but it makes things very tough for start-ups. Brands are advised not to put all of their eggs in the social media basket in 2017 (unless they’re prepared to pay for ads and sponsored posts) and to spread their focus across multiple channels instead.


adam baetu