It’s hard to believe we’ve already reached May, but with the impending summer slowly ratcheting up the heat, now is the perfect time for businesses to take a step back and review their marketing plans for the rest of the year.
Principally, I’d like to focus on social media, which is a marketing practice that continues to develop at a rapid pace; the trends we started the year predicting have already either been surpassed or moulded into something entirely different.
With that in mind, I’ve picked out five social media trends that I’m confident will dominate the rest of this year for businesses.
1. The continued rise of the emoji
Take a look at your email inbox. I can almost guarantee that you’ll have at least one message in there that features an emoji within the subject line.
The rise in popularity of emojis is nothing short of staggering, but their use in marketing is likely to increase as 2017 draws to a close. Dominoes, Pepsi and even Australia’s Foreign Minister have all proved how powerful those little yellow faces can be, and if your business is yet to let its guard down and emojify it’s communications, it’s probably missing out on some serious engagement.
2. Social media eCommerce
If you run an eCommerce business, social media should already sit comfortably within your marketing arsenal.
Services like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have all become brilliant ways to showcase products and provide direct links to online stores. Even Pinterest, who’s monthly user rate recently hit 150 million people, has proved its worth as a sales channel.
What can you sell via these mediums? Remember – the audience is huge and can be targeted demographically.
3. Messaging apps will enter the social realm
Often thought of as a separate component of the digital economy, messaging apps will increasingly become a part of the social media realm.
The reason is simple: with the advent of powerful and unnervingly human-like chat bots that are capable of holding meaningful conversations with potential customers, apps like Facebook Messenger are fast transitioning from forms of communication to social platforms capable of delivering serious ROI.
Are you speaking to your customers via messaging apps yet?
4. Virtual reality will start to make its presence felt
Many doubted how popular the re-emergence of virtual reality (VR) would be, but with corporations as big as Facebook, Sony and Samsung putting their money behind it, this is a form of technology that surely has a bright future ahead.
It’s uses in social media marketing remain questionable – but that’s the point. Virtual reality is demanding companies experiment with the medium, and by the end of 2017, it’s highly likely we’ll see it put to use by big brands in conjunction with their social media efforts.
How long VR and augmented reality takes to trickle down to small and medium sized enterprises remains to be seen – but it’ll certainly be fun to watch.
5. Bye, bye, Snapchat… hello, Instagram Stories?
It’s argued that Instagram did nothing more than borrow an idea originally invented by Snapchat when it introduced the Stories feature last year, but there’s no doubting the Facebook-owned social network’s ability to make it a resounding success.
According to reports, Instagram Stories experienced 100 million daily active viewers after just two months of going live. Assuming that’s true, and with Snapchat maintaining ‘just’ 150 million users against Instagram’s base of 600 million, there’s a strong likelihood that the latter will grab far more attention from businesses looking to make waves with this form of storytelling.
There’s no doubting it – the next few months will whiz past at breakneck speed, and while I’ve only scratched the surface above, it’s clear that we have a very exciting time ahead when it comes to social media marketing.
What excites you the most?
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.