Much like in 2015, 2016 was a year of change within the world of social media. With the constant evolution of features on a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, 2016 was a year of change and experimentation. From the revolution of virtual reality to live streams on Facebook and the introduction of Instagram stories, social media reached to new advances in 2016. It is no surprise that we are looking forward to finding out what 2017 has in store for the social media industry.

Some may say that it is impossible to predict the future of social media for a whole year, that I would agree with. With trends dying out in the blink of an eye and trends developing into a viral phenomenon within seconds, who knows what 2017 will bring. For example in the summer of 2016, you could barely walk down the street without bumping into someone trying to “catch ’em all.”

  1. Bots Bots Bots

So, we begin the list with thinking about the customers. Customer care is one of the most important aspects of a business. Many brands this year are looking for ways to increase their customer service resources, and what could be more efficient and responsive than an artificially intelligent chatbot? Platforms such as Facebook Messenger use chatbots to communicate with customers, give them advice, provide information on a product or answer any other questions they may have. The best thing about it is that it is all realtime! Chatbots significantly increase the relationship between the customer and the business by providing a platform for instant communication. Many websites, particularly travel websites, already use chatbots to provide information to help customers. Currently on Facebook, there are over 11,000 active Facebook Messenger Bots, engaging with customers on behalf of the brand, businesses on Facebook are well on their way to providing instant customer service.

  1. Online Shopping in an Instant

In recent years the infiltration of ecommerce platforms has skyrocketed! 2017 is the year where online shopping becomes easier than ever. More and more networks are providing brands with easier and quicker ways to sell to customers. Instant purchases are available on Instagram but throughout the year other social media networks are hoping to provide the same service! Many consumers focus on a brand’s social presence to determine whether they would try that service and buy their products. Throughout 2017, many retailers will find faster and more convenient ways to make sales and reduce purchasing decisions. A fantastic example (which also refers back to bots) is Domino’s customers can now order pizza via Facebook Messenger.

  1. Everyone is Live

2016 was the year Facebook introduced live streaming. Initially just for celebrities, soon after is trickled down and was available for everyone. Video has become essential for the growth of any business as it has consistently showed higher engagement than other formats. Live streaming will give brands the potential to release engaging and interesting content to its customers to promote their products and services. Expect live video streaming to be everywhere in 2017.