We know that you expect to see trend predictions for the new year in early January, so you might be thinking that we’ve missed the boat a bit by waiting until mid-February to share our social media ‘ones to watch’ for 2017. By waiting a few weeks, though, we’ve let the dust settle a little bit – so now we’re not making predictions so much as looking at the trends that are already affecting businesses using social media to promote their brand. And, as always, we’ll be concentrating on how they’ll affect small-medium sized businesses – the types of companies that we manage social media channels for every single day!
The End of Vanity Metrics
Do you measure your success on Facebook and Twitter by likes, comments or even follower counts? It’s easy to get drawn in by these so-called vanity metrics: they look great after all, especially when you can see them growing and growing. And, while they’re clearly an indication that you’re doing something right as far as engagement is concerned, if you’re trying to get a return on your investment then you need to be thinking about value-driven metrics like leads, enquiries and conversions.
At the moment, we’re in a position where a lot of businesses are still unsure about the metrics they need to be analysing – while they may be seen as less and less important, vanity metrics are still being used simply because they’re easier to measure & immediately available. At the same time, agencies like ours are moving towards more meaningful data, and in 2017 we expect to see more companies following suit.
The Rise of Dark Social
If you’re interested in social marketing then you’ve probably heard the term ‘dark social’ before; if you’re only just beginning to consider it for your brand then you probably haven’t – either way, though, it’s going to have an impact on your business! That’s because dark social accounts for around 84% of on-site shares and 62% of click backs… in other words, dark social is where people are most likely to be talking about your brand, sharing your content and having discussions about your industry.
The catch is that, by its very definition, dark social is the stuff that we can’t measure or analyse – it’s the content that is shared privately, where we can’t see it. This presents a big challenge to businesses who want to base their social media strategy on real data (which should be all of you!): in the short-term we can overcome it by focussing on engaging more personally with our customers and potential clients to encourage them to share data with us. In the longer term, once there is more data available, it may mean using dark social tools, or finding new ways to measure traffic and shares.
This last one is something that we’re sure you’ve already come across: live videos are one of Facebook’s latest innovations, and they’re already taking news feeds by storm, with content being shared both by individuals and businesses. This is a trend that we’re already getting behind at JamRock, and we’ve found that live videos are great for sharing educational and inspirational content that your audience will love, but wouldn’t otherwise have access to – such as the networking events that we attend and, with permission, broadcast to a wider audience.
Of course, when you use an agency with social media expertise to manage your feeds and channels for you, this great new form of content can present challenges of its own: how can we create live content that resonates with your audience? Well, the best-case scenario is for agencies to work closely with you to help you generate live content from your working day that will resonate well, to educate your team members on what sort of videos they should be broadcasting, or to send representatives to industry events and broadcast relevant content on your behalf.
There are so many more trends that we could talk about – and if you’re interested in coming on board for our social media services then please feel free to chat about the current social media marketing landscape with one of our social media executives! Otherwise, keep an eye on these trends to improve your own social media strategy, and don’t forget to head back to this blog where we’ll be posting more updates and analysis of industry trends.
Want more details, or to find out how we can help you boost your social media R.O.I? Give us a call on 01524 844649 and chat with our friendly team.