Six things to expect from social media in 2017

2016 was a crucial year for social media – we saw fundamental shifts in how platforms worked, a move towards higher quality content, and an increased focus on instant messaging. This year looks to be just as momentous – here are my six social media predictions for 2017.

(By the way, my predictions from last year were pretty spot on!)


1. Blurred lines between platforms

It once felt like every single major social media platform had a significantly different proposition. Facebook? Be connected. Instagram? Share beautiful imagery. Snapchat? Share the moment. Twitter? See what’s happening.

We’ve recently seen many platforms instead look to blur the lines between them and the competition. Facebook seems to endlessly be trying to replicate Snapchat’s main feature. YouTube is testing community features where users can share Facebook-like posts. Instagram created Stories – and encouraged users to share more Snapchat like content.

Ash Reed, from Buffer, hits the nail on the head:

I believe we’ll likely see more of this trend with every the major platform battling it out to become the go-to place for short, snackable and in-the-moment content. And by the end of 2017, we’ll likely see most of the major platforms enabling users to:

·       Create and share video content

·       Create and share live video content

·       Discover news and what’s going on around them (based on location)


2. Brands will focus their efforts

As some platforms merge and compete for features, it will become more difficult for brands to justify splitting efforts across so many channels. In 2017 we’ll see more focus on certain platforms. Rather than splitting effort between five or six channels, more businesses will focus on the platform that works best for them and their audience. As such, we may begin to see greater fragmentation of brands across platforms.


3. Video will grow (even more)

Facebook decided to double down on video over the last year, and 2017 should see that continue. They’ve seen huge success with video engagement and video ads, and marketers are indicating that this will be a focus for them. 30% of respondents in Buffer’s State of Social Media survey said Facebook video is the #1 channel they’re looking to add to their efforts in the next 12 months.


4. Augmented Reality

Facebook has also committed itself to augmented and virtual reality – with huge investments in both areas (Oculus and Masquerade). We’ve already seen lenses and masks tested in Facebook Live, and Mark Zuckerberg himself see AR as a strong focus.


Brands, on Snapchat, have already been able to carry out promoted lens or filter campaign, and it’ll be interesting to see how Facebook iterates on this. No doubt there will be huge opportunities for brands willing to invest.  


5. What’s it like to be there

People are becoming tired of seeing other people’s sentiments about an event, they want to be shown what it’s like to be there. You can do this with things like live video, 360 images and video, and even just more real-time posting. The idea is to make your users feel like they’re a genuine part of the experience, as it’s unfolding. We’ll see brands follow this, and focus on more immersive content.


6. Circular video

OK, my final one is more of a hope than a concrete prediction. Snapchat recently unveiled the circular video format, to accompany its recent Spectacles. It could finally end the problem of whether to film in portrait or landscape – and I hope we see further adoption. See a demo here: