Social Media for Businesses in 2017 is Different

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Tools of social media for business could often go out of vogue as soon as their creators trim advertising budgets. Such fast turnover often turns out to be quite costly. Companies invest in new marketing strategies and develop advertising plans only to find out that the latest hot networking platform is no longer alive. Take Vine as an example.

The secret is to create a social media strategy that will survive the latest networking trends. The focus should be on the macro-trends driving the industry.

Here are five big waves that will change social media for business this year:

1. Building up an audience overtime and sharing updates simply no longer works. Reaching users on social media organically has become old fashioned merely in a few years. 

Algorithms are increasingly limiting the percentage of your own audience that sees your posts. This reflects the reality that our feeds are more cluttered than ever with messages, photos and videos. It is simply not possible for all types of content to reach your eyes.

Money talks and advertising dollar rules the choices. All the social media networks have evolved their own native ads. These are the promoted posts and updates that look just like the real thing. An easy way to create eye catching sharable content is by using video creating software.

Such native ads are actually a smart investment. They can be highly targeted, easily shared and it’s easy to track the return on your spending in terms of views and clicks. 

2. As social media adoption is now a norm amongst consumers of all ages, naturally, employees can become every brand’s social media army.

For companies looking to expand the reach and impact of social media without a budget, the increasingly powerful option is their own employes strong engagement. This new trend in social media for business is poised to become a game-changer.

Even medium-sized businesses have enough employees to tap into hundreds, if not thousands, of new followers. Messages fired out from personal accounts are more trusted and also circumvent some of those pesky algorithms mentioned above.

The process of sharing also has to be dead simple. Some new tools (Hootsuite offers one) let employers push out updates to employees for re-sharing via mobile app.

3. More companies than ever are using social channels for marketing, customer service and sales. But training and resources for frontline employees is still largely ignored. Most workers don’t have the requisite skills to leverage social media for business as a success tool.

Social media coursework is slowly being incorporated into university programs, and not just for students pursuing marketing and communications degrees. For businesses seeking a quicker fix, online, on-demand resources can help fill the gap.

4. CEOs finally get the hang of social media or at least will hire ghost “spokespersons” to represent them.

In 2016, Facebook launched a new “business influencer” program, attracting the likes of Sir Richard Branson. LinkedIn’s blogging platform Pulse now showcases more than 500 elite business authorities.

It’s no longer an option for companies, but a business necessity. Globally, more than two billion people are now on social channels; the average user spends nearly two hours a day plugged in.

In 2017, expect to see more executives take the plunge into legacy channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

5. Many executives still consider social media for business purely as part of their marketing strategy. But in reality, consumers learn about products on Pinterest and Instagram. They are sold to on Facebook and Twitter. They seek customer service on messaging channels like Facebook Messenger and chat bots.

This trend toward “conversational commerce” is set to accelerate in 2017 with the rapid deployment of chat boxes in apps and websites.

A chatbot is a kind of virtual assistant living within Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or another platform. These AI-powered bots guide customers through an array of simple tasks in natural, conversational formats. Think about ordering a pizza and booking flights, or even managing finances.

The rise of chatbots promises a way to quickly scale social selling and customer service efforts, offering users the equivalent of 1:1 service without necessarily requiring additional employees.

Social media for business is here to stay and it will only become more sophisticated. It’s increasingly the one reliable place to reach consumers.

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