What our Social Media Manager is excited about for 2017

Our Social Media Manager, Sarah A. Parker, likes to opine on all things social media from time to time, so we’ve given her space to do just that here on our blog. She’ll cover everything from the new and unusual to the outdated and annoying. Got something she missed our something you’d like her to cover? Find her on Twitter @SparkerWorks

I’m no Nostradamus so I won’t pretend to know what absolute social media truths 2017 holds, but I can definitely tell you the trends I’m excited about this year (not to mention the ones I think an average brand should be paying attention to).

Agree? Disagree? Just like my Nostradamus reference? Find me on Twitter to tell me about it @SparkerWorks.

First thing I’m excited about? Video content marketing continuing to grow.

Video is one of the best ways for brands to connect with their audience: It puts one or more relatable, knowledgeable faces to the brand, it’s an increasingly preferred form of communication, and it doesn’t have to be expensive to produce, among other advantages.

Social platforms continue to introduce new forms of video- including live- giving brands more informal ways to experiment with communicating with their audiences. Live-streaming isn’t expected to be high quality and polished but is expected to be fun and lend a behind-the-scenes glance at any of the numerous things that go into maintaining a brand.

I’m excited to see not only how this technology progresses over the rest of this year, but how in particular brands will continue to embrace it with creativity. And I’m excited about a few small experiments of my own I have planned for Union Metrics and video content!

Second? What the big brands are going to do with VR and AR.

I don’t think this will be “the year of VR and AR” for the average brand; hardware adoption isn’t saturated enough for most brands to put a lot of effort into producing content their audiences can’t even access. But for big brands with big budgets who have the room to play, it’s going to be extremely fun to watch them get creative with this new technology and the stories it can produce.

It pays for smaller brands to pay attention to what bigger ones are doing not only as a nod to the future, but also to draw inspiration for the present. What’s the spirit of what a big brand is trying to do and how can a smaller one replicate it to reach their own audience?

The same can be said for big brand experiments with chatbots, IoT (Internet of Things) connection and whatever other innovations 2017 will send our way. Rather than letting trends intimidate, we should approach with curiosity to see how they’re being applied now and how else they might be applied in the future.

Finally, I’m excited about a more serious focus on metrics.

The nerd in me (though she took more English than math) is excited to see a stronger shift across industries in paying attention to how different social metrics can help measure and achieve different goals. Creating beautiful, creative content is fantastic, but without knowing how it performs you’re likely to lose the necessary resources to create any more of it in the future.

I also hope this means there will be a bigger focus on the quality of data sources in general; metrics are only as good as the data they’re built on, after all. Brands need to be sure they’re relying on the most solid data available rather than imaginary numbers that might make them feel good in short term but that aren’t ultimately telling them what they need to know about their audience and content performance.

What are you excited about in 2017, reader? (It’s okay if it’s not about social media marketing at all, though I’ll wonder why you’re reading this blog and also give you extra thanks for reading this post in its entirety.)

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