As social media becomes the foundation for information sharing and virtual interaction, 2017 will see the rise of new trends and features on digital platforms. Video, commerce, ethics, and customer service are four trends that I predict will take the stage and be the focus of new updates and app development.
THE RISE OF VIDEO
Video became a popular integrated feature in 2016 across major social media platforms and will become a content sharing preference in 2017. Live streaming is an available feature on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube that will be enhanced and expanded in the New Year. In addition to 360° video and Facebook Messenger’s six screen video group chat, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two digital media forms that will define the future of video.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Over 200 million VR Headsets are predicted to be sold by 2020, including current models like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR as well as competition from the HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR. This rise of VR in mainstream entertainment encourages its integration into social media in 2017. In addition to the popular PokemonGo app, startups like myVR and ZapBox illustrate the convenient capability of accessing a virtual reality through your smartphone.
One-third of online activity is video related, and this has revealed storytelling video trends which have become the standard of visual media and a new marketing frontier. Overlayed text, upbeat instrumental background music, creative animations, and an average video length of one to three minutes are overarching video themes mastered by sites like BuzzFeed and UpWorthy.
New video apps are the best way to create marketable video content in 2017. Zipline and Rocketium are two video tools that can take your virtual content to the next level. Additionally, storytelling can be personalized using Snapchat Spectacles, which are wearable technology that records 10 second videos from a first-person viewpoint.
THE INCLUSION OF COMMERCE
Social media and shopping will go hand-in-hand in 2017 with the launch of new shopping mechanisms and business-friendly features. Facebook recently launched Marketplace as an easy way for users to locally buy and sell goods. Marketplace gives consumers a community-centered platform to discover and sell merchandise, and Facebook pledges to “continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people.”
Instagram is the front-runner in commerce inclusion, launching Shopping in 2017. Instagram also integrated links and mentions into their Stories and created a template for business profiles which allows brands and businesses to direct consumers to their websites and related content.
A GREATER EMPHASIS ON ETHICS
Mental Health Awareness
While hoping to achieve a healthy balance between regulation and freedom of expression, many social media platforms are taking steps to thoughtfully manage user content. A new Instagram feature enables users to anonymously identify posts that indicate mental and physical health concerns, including self-harm and depression.
The rise of social media has unfortunately led to an increase of discouraging dialogues as well as negative and hurtful content. In addition to campaigns against cyber-bullying that hope to decrease malicious internet activity, including a federal initiative, social media platforms will increase their stance on making their sites a safer and more positive environment.
Twitter is also making changes to reduce unpleasant conduct by adding a mute tool and developing reporting options to address users who practice online abuse. This will be an important trend in 2017 and hopefully most social media platforms continue to improve online behavioral ethics and positive internet conduct.
THE DIGITAL CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT
Assistance from Artificial Intelligence
With 2.34 million social network users worldwide, social media platforms are working to improve the quality of user experience in 2017. Facebook is testing a feature called “M” in Facebook Messenger as a way to integrate service and artificial intelligence. Acting like a personal assistant, M is an unreleased chat feature that offers suggestions and responds to user questions. Facebook also now offers aLive Audio option to give customers another option on how to consume the media.
Asking for User Feedback
Twitter made their case for customer service known when CEO Jack Dorsey publicly polled Twitter users for feedback. Looking to make desirable and effective changes, Dorsey asked users “what’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017?” indicating that Twitter has no intention of settling as a second-rate platform this year. Responses to this broad question include the ability to edit tweets, a tool to bookmark tweets, and a way to highlight interesting conversations.
TRENDS WILL SPUR INNOVATION
2017 will be a groundbreaking year for social media with new trends and updates focused on video, commerce, ethics, and customer service. Be aware of these trends as you share and socialize online this year and discover which platform will be the most innovative in 2017.