As Genoa Black’s most recent graduates, we, Becca and Steph, aim to stay up-to-date with and share current trends in the industry. Following the Hootsuite Social Breakfast, we were interested in delving deeper into the five key social trends for 2017. The following aims to give you a basis on how these trends will apply and can affect your business, as well as what to consider during your marketing activity in 2017.

Dark social rising

Dark social refers to social sharing that comes from outside sources, which cannot be tracked by web analytics tools.

According to RadiumOne, 70% of all online referrals come from dark social. This is preventing marketers from understanding the wider picture, and weakening their ‘informed’ decisions into how content, products and channels are performing.

The main sources of dark social include SMS/Chat (such as WhatsApp), email, native mobile apps (such as Snapchat) and private and secure browsing (e.g. using incognito browsing mode).

If we can’t track this dark traffic, how can brands’ track their ROI?

There are tools available that can help to measure your dark social. One way is to set up an advanced segment in your Google Analytics which will allow you to track visitors who come to your website through direct search, yet, not to your homepage. Analytics does not provide you with the complete picture of how your target audience are responding to your marketing activity. Therefore, it is important to have a balance of quantitative and qualitative data to ensure your marketing is as informed as possible.

Social Media Today discuss further tools here.

Video social is rising

In 2017, social advertising will move significantly towards video. It is thought that 65% of marketers will focus on Facebook video advertising in 2017, followed by YouTube. Four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it (Animoto, 2015), and almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store (Google, 2016). It makes sense then, that social advertising will move towards video; it is a more engaging way to advertise products and customers are more likely to watch, appreciate and share this on social media. Social platforms other than YouTube for video are now taking over, particularly with paid advertising where you can target certain audiences.

Social catches up with search for discovery

Rather than going through a search engine such as Google to find a product/service/webpage, people are becoming more prone to searching for what they need through social media. Therefore, it is important to make businesses work online, creating the same relationships digitally and building trust so that when searched for through social media, your business has strong brand awareness and credibility.

However, all too often, social media has become not enough social and too much media – while it’s crucial to promote your business, you must always consider the end user, creating a relationship, and connecting with your customers.

Social commerce shows promise

With 98% of digital consumers using social networks, social commerce shows new promise. In 2017, it is all about ease of purchase and being able to get things instantly. With social, it is easy to be taken directly to a checkout page, and now social platforms are evolving so that you can buy in-app. It is no surprise then, that 35% of European marketers list social commerce as a key strategic priority.

This is great from a consumer point of view as it saves time and if you see something you like on social media, you can easily find and buy it. It is also great in that it encourages impulsive buying and takes out the time where you might change your mind between seeing something you want and buying it.

Organisations turn to a connected workforce

It is likely that everyone has heard the phrase “people buy people”, and companies are now capitalising on one of their greatest marketing tools – their people.

Over the last decade, businesses have seen a greater focus on what people value and why companies should value their people. From using staff as the face of the brand, to creating innovative and fun environments that staff will praise outside of the business, companies are seeking to optimise their workforce impact.

For instance, employee advocacy is a great way to promote to your customers. In addition, people connecting their social networks to their professional networks is also an increasingly popular way to raise brand awareness, credibility and of course, pave the way for employee advocacy.

Putting a focus on your people, and allowing them to promote the business, is a resourceful and effective way to market your business.

These are the key social trends for 2017. Got it? Good. While all might not apply to you and your business, some certainly will. Now it’s time to go and implement some of them into your marketing strategy for 2017.

Further information

Genoa Black can help you create or execute your marketing strategy effectively.

If you don’t know how to go about tackling these new trends for 2017, or simply need some marketing expertise, contact us!