In just a few short years, social media has evolved from “something we use to share holiday photos with our friends and family members” into one of the dominant forms of communication on the planet.
This is especially true in the world of marketing where by most estimates the number of worldwide social media users is expected to balloon to roughly 2.5 billion people by as soon as 2018.
But that’s not all. Social media checks a lot of boxes on the wish lists of every marketer operating in the digital space.
According to MarketingSherpa, 95% of adults between the ever-important ages of 18 and 34 are likely to follow a brand on social media.
71% of people who have a positive experience with a brand on Facebook or Twitter are likely to recommend it to others.
Visual content – one of the biggest trends of today – is 40 times (!) more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content.
To say that social media marketing has come a long way is something of an understatement.
However, it’s important to understand that we still have more to do in 2017 to cut through the noise, clutter, and inferior content being churned out through every outlet.
The Future of Social Media Marketing
2017 is the year in which marketers rethink the very definition of “engagement” in terms of social media marketing.
Since the rise of Facebook and Twitter over the last decade, social media engagement has been seen as merely basic implementation.
This was especially true with the release of the first iPhone in 2007 and the dominance of smartphones.
If you have the ability to instantly reach someone at any time in any place on a small, powerful device they carry around with them all day long, engagement is a guarantee, right?
The Rise of Live Stream
Many experts agree that live streaming will become the social media marketing trend to watch in the New Year. Particularly because of the way that it increases engagement with an audience in an active way to enables instant gratification.
People can’t interact with a recorded video, but they can play a role in a live one – even if they’re halfway around the world at the time.
Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators, stated that social video is such a powerful idea “because [companies are] not just streaming what’s happening live.”
They’re allowing you to engage with those streams… you are now able to be a part of the conversation.
Relationship marketing specialist Debra Jason agreed, saying that “If you have built an enthusiastic audience, you may find they’ll stick with you throughout a longer broadcast.”
The best part of all is that these live video streams don’t exist in a vacuum.
Let’s say you’re in the insurance business and you’ve hired a marketing content writer to generate high quality insurance content for your audience.
You can hold a live stream on important topics (like recently announced changes to the industry) and then, when it’s over, include links to that previously written insurance content to keep the experience going in a new way.
When done properly, social media marketing techniques like social live-streamed video don’t replace existing techniques at all. They compliment them.
They strengthen the very foundation on which your campaign is built, letting you take it in bold new directions as time passes.