Here’s What to Expect in Social and Content in 2017

There will be a new set of unique challenges and opportunities in 2017

As marketing practitioners, one of our most loved phrases is, “The only thing constant is change.” It’s a reminder of how we must constantly transform and innovate in order to stay relevant to our customers’ rapidly evolving lifestyles.

As we look ahead into the new year and immerse ourselves in new strategies and creative techniques to build the best content experiences, it’s always an opportune time to break down some of the trends we’re seeing.

And while we may reflect back on the successes of the previous year, we also know there will be a new set of unique challenges and opportunities in 2017–particularly as the worlds of paid and organic content come closer together.

Take a look at some of the most important trends we identified as we prepare to reach new levels of success in 2017:

Greater investment in social media personnel

The most valuable weapon of any brand or agency is undoubtedly its people. As the social and content landscapes shift, there is demand for a new multifaceted talent pool whose skill sets lie in a unique blend of creative, strategy, data and analytics and storytelling.

For this reason, both brands and marketing agencies will invest more resources in finding, cultivating and retaining the right talent to meet these more complex marketing objectives.

This being said, companies must focus on finding the right talent–not all millennials or “young people” are born with social media prowess simply because they grew up with Facebook and Twitter. What was once the job of a, perhaps, more green community or social media manager has since evolved into a role that requires an understanding of how social fits into the larger scheme of the customer journey and the marketing organization. It also requires enormous adaptability and integration capabilities, and knowing when the right conversations need to happen to align efforts.

Today, social media is extremely data-driven, which is something companies must keep in mind when seeking out the best talent.

Increased adoption and innovations in live video

As consumers crave authenticity and experiences that make them feel part of a brand, we will likely see increased adoption of live video formats.

Facebook has been a leader in live video innovation, and it has continually harped on the importance and opportunities of video content for advertisers and media publishers. According to Facebook, users spend three times longer watching live videos compared with prerecorded videos, which has since prompted the platform to position live videos higher in the News Feed.

With the explosion of live content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, consumers are more connected to their friends and their own communities, but also to brands, celebrities and other social influencers.

While the opportunities are certainly viable, brands are also hesitant to go completely live. Without a script or any real guidelines involved, companies run the risk of saying or doing something that could be perceived as off-brand.

However, this may push those companies to establish more concrete guidelines for live content, because the reality is that consumers will only continue to seek out more real-time experiences.

Experimentation with different video formats

With consumers becoming more and more disillusioned with traditional advertising experiences, their desire to form meaningful brand connections will drive marketers to invest and experiment more in innovative content formats.

Virtual reality, for instance, grew in market size throughout 2016, but it didn’t quite find its place in the hearts of consumers, and arguably not yet in the content strategies of brands. An obvious challenge in the past has been the lack of adequate content creation and distribution tools, but perhaps now that we’ve seen some compelling VR plays from companies across the spectrum, marketers will be more willing to embrace it.