2017 Social Trends: Three things you need to know from PR News’ Social Media Conference

social-media-marketing-imageSocial-savvy individuals from around the country gathered in New York City last week for PR News’ Social Media Conference, where brands, nonprofits and agency experts discussed brand-building and reputation-enhancement via social.

The day was stacked with presentations and insights for everything from the Snapchat movement and live broadcasting on social, to working with Instagram influencers and developing Facebook video content strategies, before wrapping up with predictions for the next big social media platform.

While the theme of the day was brand-building and reputations on social, there was one underlying theme throughout the majority of presentations: the privatization of social.

Now more than ever, consumers are choosing who they interact with online – and they’re doing it offline.

1072-how-to-send-instagram-direct-message-315x198Snapchat is a perfect example of this, as users on Snapchat typically use the platform for 1-to-1 messaging. However, users also have the option to share public stories. When it comes to Snapchat stories, users have to choose to interact with a brand, not only by adding the brand to their friend list, but also electing to watch their stories. From there, if your brand is doing it right, users can further engage through direct responses and deeper engagement – but more to come on that.

Instagram is another platform where we are seeing the privatization of social come to life. Recently, Instagram added a direct message option that allows users to send photos directly to their friends in a private messaging app. While users continue to tag friends in popular, relatable photos, many users are starting to take the conversation offline.

If your brand is doing cool stuff, show it off.

Isn’t that what social is for? Snapchat specifically can be used as a live portal inside the world of your brand – making it a great tool for brand and reputation building. Engage your consumers by including sneak peeks, teases, surprises and big reveals into your Snap stories.

dunkin-snapsDunkin’ Brands is an example of a brand who is doing Snapchat right. The brand uses Snap stories as a way to showcase its adventures at events across the country, take its consumers behind the scenes, engage via gamification of stories and, of course, inspire its followers to head to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Story gamification was a new concept for even an avid Snapchat user like myself. The idea is to create a game out of your story, and incentivize your followers to respond – ultimately enabling you to further engage with your consumers in a private, 1-on-1 conversation (see, I told you this was a trend). Snap to Unlock, which is essentially Snapchat’s twist on QR codes, is another gamification tactic that is also becoming a more formal advertising option for brands on Snapchat. For those who are skeptical, Dunkin’ has seen great engagement from these concepts.

So, what’s next?

If you’re still reading, it’s probably because you want to know what the experts deemed as the next big social media platform. Well, of course, no one could pick just one. Snapchat continued to dominate the conversation with its upcoming launch of “Spectacles” in December (think Google Glass in sunglasses form, but for Snapchat). Most seem to think the concept will take off, while a few skeptics think it will be Google glass fail – part two.

spectaclesMessaging apps and social media for the workplace also were strong contenders for the future of social. LinkedIn Elevate is a beta program focused on helping companies empower employees to share content, and Workplace by Facebook is platform for employees to communicate, share and work together through features like virtual brainstorm.

While all of our favorite social platforms will continue to battle it out to make the next big social disruption, my favorite part of this discussion was how our smartphones are actually becoming the next big social platform. Smartphones helped social media take off, and with each update, our smartphones continue to adapt to encompass all of the features we love about our favorite social media platforms.

What are your predictions for social in 2017? Will Spectacles take off? Will employees spend even more time on Facebook? Share your thoughts in the comments below!  

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