Recently I had the chance to talk with Andrea Robinson and Troy Hayden, hosts of AZ AM for FOX 10 in Phoenix, about what to expect in the world of social media in the upcoming year for 2017. Here’s what we discussed…
CONTINUED GROWTH OF LIVE STREAMING
Last year was the first full year of Facebook Live being available to all users. We watched many of the more savvy brands and ESPECIALLY news organizations institute a plan and strategy to capitalize on being first movers. In December 2016 alone we witnessed the dawn of Instagram Live AND Twitter Live, the latter of which now doesn’t require using or even having the Periscope mobile app.
It also feels like new developments will come in the form of true, original (some even scripted) programming for social media live streaming channels. We’re already seeing brands like Cheddar utilizing Facebook Live as a daily outlet for their morning “show”.
Live streaming has also created a whole new, bustling cottage industry for peripheral needs in the form of cameras, apps, lighting equipment, microphones and more (including drones), and this will only get bigger over the next year. Marketing departments, entrepreneurs and even small businesses are reaching into their pockets in efforts to bring video to their marketing plan. The cost doesn’t have to always be high either, which makes it a very attractive offering for the small business owners and startups who’s funds may be limited. In theory, if you have a smartphone alone you could put together your company story in a pretty amazing way.
SOCIAL MEDIA BACKLASH
Shortly after the presidential election concluded, we started to see a great deal of credit/blame for the result attributed to the rise of “fake news” in the form of misleading headlines, questionable social media accounts and newly-generated websites. Two months later and we are already at the point where “fake news” is a meme unto itself, with the phrase being posted in comment sections from reddit to YouTube to (of course) Facebook. Will the general user base get tired of this and decrease their time spent on these channels? (Answer: not likely)
It also feels like there’s a new attempt at a social media platform release happening every day, which could (and probably will) result in the bursting of this particular bubble, leaving just the major players like Facebook/Instagram, YouTube (Google), LinkedIn (Microsoft), Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat. A newer channel like Musical.ly could have a chance because its already becoming embedded in the lives of Gen Z like its predecessors did within Gen X and Millennials. But the recently released channels that actually have a chance to survive are few and far between.
END OF AN ERA
Within the last few months of 2016 there was a sudden whirlwind of discussion around possible meetings being held with Twitter by several of the big players who could potentially acquire them. According to reports, Disney, Salesforce, Google and others were all potential suitors until the talk ended as suddenly as it had started. I still believe there’s a high probability it WILL happen in 2017, and if I had to guess it would still be Google.
An acquisition of Twitter would then leave Pinterest and Snapchat as the only two major players who operate truly independently (Facebook/Instagram is a publicly held company)…and Snapchat is about to go public with an IPO. Don’t underestimate Pinterest’s power in the marketplace either, or its potential to either have a bigger influence and/or to challenge Google and YouTube when it comes to search engine usage and performance.