Happy New Year, and welcome to our first blog post of 2017! 2016 was a doozy for many people and we saw social media at the center of all of it. Facebook became a video first company and is dealing with how to combat the spread of fake news. Twitter shutdown Vine, became Vine Camera, and is currently struggling to find itself. Snapchat was the next frontier for brands to conquer. Instagram double-downed on adding Snapchat-esque features (Instagram stories, anyone?) and matured when it came to brands by offering business accounts and analytics.
So, what’s going down in 2017? With a fresh year on our hands, I rounded up the S2 team to help me look at what the future may hold for social media. I asked them to share three things: their social media predictions and wishes for 2017, as well as their favorite book read in 2016 (because we can all do some extra reading this year). Let’s find out what the team had to say!
Social Media Predictions
The landscape of social media is ever-evolving. Facebook celebrated 10 years of the News Feed in September 2016, and I celebrated 12 years on Facebook this past December. Does anyone else remember social media in those early days? I don’t think I could have ever predicted that signing up for Facebook in 2004 would lead me to a career, and that social media would become its own industry.
What does the S2 team predict for 2017? Here are their answers:
- Facebook will introduce a tap-to-buy e-commerce product for brands. This will elevate a product placement tag in an image or video to a click, or a tap-to-purchase experience. (This also predicts that we’ll be able to tag videos!) – Helen Todd, CEO
- In continuation of the “video first” angle, Facebook will begin to prioritize 360 video° over traditional video. – Chance Kellar, Community Manager
- Instagram scheduling. – Ashley Williams, Social Media Marketing Manager
- People and brands will get better at Instagram Stories, and we’ll see some creative use of them. – Mari Smith, Account Executive
- Instagram live video just launched and we’ve learned that the videos don’t save after you’re done streaming. I predict that brands will be using it as a tool to purposely reach a smaller audience for things like giveaways, contests, and exclusive promo codes. – Summer Williams, Graphic Designer
- Twitter will further optimize how users can share more content per tweet as they did in 2016 with GIFs and images not counting towards the character limit. – Arnold Carreiro, Copywriter
- More video and another new platform that will, I hate to say it, disrupt the space. – Helene Kwong, Community Manager
- Twitter and other social media platforms will be negatively impacted by the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president and the political climate that he influences. – Gerri Baum, Social Media Marketing Manager
- Enhancements to Snapchat, like going live features and the ability to share your snaps directly to other platforms. – Megan Botti, Social Media Marketing Manager
- I have two. The ability to upload GIFs directly to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (and the subsequent death of GIPHY). A trend towards the darkweb. Snapchat will begin focusing more on being able to control who sees the content you post, as evident with the group messaging feature that they just rolled out. Not super great news for brands since it’ll make it more difficult to infiltrate feeds. – Beth Amann, Creative Director
Social Media Wishes
In a perfect world and if we had a genie, this is what we’d ask for:
- The team had lots of suggestions for Instagram! Ashley, Mari, Gerri, Megan and Helene all hope for better analytics, Instagram scheduling from your desktop, live URL links in the image copy, and a way to regram more easily. Hopefully, Instagram steps it up in those departments!
- First, an oldie but a goodie – the ability to edit tweets! Also, Facebook’s efforts to better inform users of hoaxes by partnering with third-party fact checkers is a great start to partnering with outside organizations. I’d like to see all the major players work with third-party algorithm watchdogs. The decision-making that goes into the algorithms that determine the content we see and consume through the lenses of these platforms should not rest solely on the shoulders of one company. – Helen
- Donald Trump will have his Twitter account taken away from him. – Chance
- LinkedIn redesigns their platform to have a better interface. – Summer
- Widespread acceptance of emojis in all social media posts. They’re like the sprinkles on top of an ice cream sundae! – Arnold
- Twitter to be cool again. – Helene
- Facebook is becoming bloated with features, fake or misleading news, and endless ads (think MSN homepage but for the social media generation). My wish is for a massive redesign that refocuses on Facebook’s mission – to connect people across the world. Or at the very least, keep all the excess stuff out of partner apps like Messenger and Instagram. – Beth
Favorite Books Read in 2016
We love to read here at S2. Enjoy some of our favorite books that we devoured over the past year and check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration.
- Women of the Smokies by my dear friend Courtney Lix. The book captures the meaning of mountain grit through the inspiriting stories of 19 strong women who helped forge and share a great love for the Great Smoky Mountains community. It includes an interview with Dolly Parton, beloved local hometown hero, about the influence of traditional Appalachian mountain ballads. – Helen
- The Revenant (way better than the film) by Michael Punke – Chance
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Ashley
- The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr – Mari
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I highly recommend it to anyone who does creative work or thinks creatively. – Summer
- Oh, that’s an easy one: Press Play to Inspire! – Arnold (Way to go for publishing a book, Arnold!)
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan or Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – Helene
- Defending Jacob by William Landay – Gerri
- Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah – Megan
- The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory. Also, re-read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Doug Adams. – Beth
Our predictions and wishes lead to more questions than answers. Will Twitter have a new moment in the sun, or will it fade from sight? Will Instagram catch up to big sibling Facebook by offering in-depth analytics and scheduling tools? Will video continue to dominate the scene? Will we share more privately than publicly?
As for myself:
- I predict that brands are going to need to step up their game even more to reach their fans with the expansion of advertising and algorithms. If you’re not taking social media seriously and investing accordingly, you’re going to get left behind.
- Sure, I would love to see things that make my job easier like scheduling Instagram posts and editing tweets. However, my bigger-picture wish is for critical thinking. If you see a post or a link, take the time to examine the source and determine its validity before blindly sharing or retweeting.
- After binge-watching HBO, I finally made it through the first three books of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Epically good. Also, I finally read Cheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, which I found especially relevant.
Check back in 11 months when we examine what we got right and wrong. Do you have any social media predictions or wishes for the new year? Share them as a comment!