Happy New Year everyone – how is 2017 treating you so far?
I had every intention of making this first post of the year a list of New Year’s resolutions – like I did 12 months ago – but, after sitting down to write them, well…
I got bored!
Sure, pledging to keep blogging once a week, making this year’s CASE Europe Social Media and Community conference the best one yet and keep growing my podcast are all worthy things to resolve to do, but they’re not interesting enough to warrant a full blog post.
(Plus, they’re basically the same as last year’s ones!)
Instead, I thought I’d plump for the other go-to article for this time of year…predictions, specifically predictions around social media in 2017.
So, with that in mind, here’s my predictions for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and few other things too – these originally appeared on the Net Natives blog just before Christmas, so apologies if you’ve already seen them there!
Despite what you’ll be able to find online with very little effort, Facebook is not dead, nor will its death knell be struck in 2017. Let’s face it, the platform is still a behemoth, it’s the easiest and most effective place to spend money and it has the biggest and most active userbase.
In short, it’s going nowhere – Facebook will continue to be the social media big daddy in 2017 and we’ll all continue wanting to be there.
However, I also foresee it becoming even more difficult to get our content seen without having a budget to back ourselves with. I’ll be amazed if Facebook for brands and organisations doesn’t become even more centred on paying to play, so maybe it’s time to go cap in hand to your budget holders…while still making your organic content as awesome as you can of course!
Finally, this whole live video thing that has gone mega in 2016; I can’t be the only one who has noticed just how much offline advertising Facebook has been doing to push its live function. Couple that with the favourable treatment live content gets in the algorithm and the endless notifications that your friends have gone live, and you’re probably thinking I’m about to encourage you all to jump on the live train.
To me, this excessive encouragement to go live, to me, smacks of desperation. It feels like Facebook is worried.
Let’s face it, how often have you ever actually watched something live? And, how often have you watched a reply of something that was a live video and thought to yourself ‘damn, I wish I’d watched this live’? Probably not that much. Also, is Facebook really a space for right here, right now? The way the algorithm messes with time on that platform I don’t think it ever can be.
I wonder if 2017 might end up being the point where it becomes clear we don’t actually care about live as much as the big networks think we should. Videos, yes, but live videos? Meh.
While Facebook isn’t going anywhere in 2017, I’m less confident about the future health of Twitter – something doesn’t feel right in the little blue bird’s nest and the next 12 months could be crucial for its future.
That said, I think the recent tweaks to what does and doesn’t affect the character limit are really sensible moves and it won’t surprise me if any further changes Twitter makes in 2017 will be based on intelligence and requests from its community.
I also predict a flurry of blue ticks as more and more accounts get verified – most institutional-level pages should be a shoe-in to being approved, and maybe we should encourage our tweeting academics to apply too?
Finally, I think Twitter will continue to be the platform for ‘of the moment’ coverage and be a fantastic source of breaking and developing news – that’s where Twitter really excels.
The biggest question for Instagram in 2017 is exactly what remaining bits of Snapchat will they rip-off next? Will they jump on the geofilters train, will they throw out lenses or will they even take more ‘inspiration’ from Snapchat’s Spectacles and create some Instagram goggles?
There are, however, some things that I feel simply have to be on the horizon for Instagram – namely better analytics. They’ve finally rolled out some basic stats this year, but they are just that – basic.
In 2017 I expect to see far improved analytics and insights from Instagram and I won’t be surprised at all if we’re soon able to access them on desktop – probably as a subset of Facebook Insights – rather than only on mobile.
Talking desktops, will 2017 be the year that Instagram gives in and formally allows desktop uploads? Again, I wouldn’t put it past them.
I’m really interested to watch what Snapchat does in 2017. They’ve been pretty humble amid the launch of Instagram’s Stories and have continued to really connect with their core audience.
I reckon Snapchat will continue to mature its business model in 2017 and continue to refine the user experience – some better discovery options must surely be near the top of their list.
Also, 2017 feels like it will be the year where, if your organisation is going to ‘do’ Snapchat, they need to either get a move on and do it in the next 12 months or not bother. There’s only so long you can leave these things before you come across as too much of a Johnny-come-lately.
Things are nicely poised for LinkedIn as we head into 2017. The Microsoft partnership, the acquisition of Lynda and increasing numbers of people realising just how useful a space it has become all of a sudden.
2017 is going to be the year we all finally sort our profiles out and do some good stuff on LinkedIn – whether that’s networking, learning or blogging.
Also, the new University Pages are slowly-but-surely being rolled out and they look great – just watch as they become an incredibly powerful alumni engagement tool over the next 12 months.
To round off, a few predictions that aren’t specific to one particular network…
Blogging will continue to plod along quietly in the background, doing brilliant stuff. This art form is resilient, engaging and incredibly useful and there will always be great stuff being done with it. 2017 will not change that, even if they might become a bit more media rich.
Analytics across the board will become better and more respected. Not only do I think we’ll see better insights from all our social channels, I also think an understanding of how to work with analytics to report on your content, plan for the future and using data to make better decisions will become a key skill for anyone working in this industry. If you’ve not already got your head round analytics 2017 ought to be the year you sort that out.
Regardless of what I’ve already said in this post, everyone will want us to go live.
Likewise, if any one social network does something cool or innovative in 2017, everyone else will copy it pretty swiftly – the big channels will slowly continue to worry about keeping up with the Joneses rather than confidently forging their own path.
Finally, people will wake up and smell the podcasting coffee. Serialised audio continues to boom, advertising options around podcasting are becoming more sophisticated and effective, and the power of the podcaster is growing enormously. Not only do I see a future with more brands and organisations starting their own podcasts to tell their story, I can podcasters soon attaining the kind of celebrity status that today’s top YouTubers have.
Over to you
What are your predictions for 2017 in the world of social media? How might the social landscape change over the next 12 months? Let me know!