Social Media Snapshot – What Lies Ahead in 2017
“The future of social media is exciting and promising. As a framework for social interaction, it has brought us closer together and redefined access to information. As a side product, it has the capacity to actually redefine the complex dynamics that govern human exchanges and actions.”
As access to the internet continues to grow, so does the worldwide dependence on social media. As of today, 3.4 billion people, or nearly half of the planet’s total population has access to the internet and of those, 2.3 billion use social media.
Certainly, the big players in the field have already established themselves and are continuing to thrive in the blossoming industry. Nevertheless, we are living in a period of transition for the internet and in terms of who is creating content; there is a clear shift from corporate-generated content to user-created content, which is often the work of influencers and social media celebrities.
As such, social media is presented with an interesting set of challenges and innovative trends that will have to be addressed in 2017 which is where influencers are likely to play a vital role:
1. Social media will play a continued role in the disintermediation of established industries
The greatest success stories of the last few years have been companies that have found ways to remove the middle-man and facilitate direct transactions between users. Though we think of Uber or Airbnb as trademark examples, there remains countless industries that have become antiquated and inefficient.
Unsurprisingly, 62 percent of U.S. adults get their news through social media, 37 percent of recruiters are finding talent through social and professional media outlets, and, 8.1 percent of all retail sales are now done online.
As already seen in the 2016 election, social media has played a defining and informative role. However, in the coming year, social media is set to establish how it will expand into the healthcare industry, education sector, and more. New key players are likely to emerge as solutions make their way to the forefront that facilitate the mutual bond between social media and these industries.
2. Social media will continue to disrupt traditional marketing and advertising
As users become more and more immune to traditional advertising, we are seeing an undeniable shift away from presence and visibility towards the fostering of brand equity. As a matter of fact, social media platforms earned 8.3 billion in advertising dollars in 2015 and 81 percent of brands who have used influencers in marketing strategy consider it to be effective. This is probably because 92 percent of people trust user recommendations over brands, even if they don’t know the other person.
Influencers themselves are becoming brands and powerful tools as 60 percent of marketers expect to see higher budgets for influencer marketing in the future. In fact, the share of marketing budgets spent on social media is expected to more than double over the next five years, from 11 percent today to 24 percent by 2020. The role of social media in establishing the relationships between brands and appropriate influencers will be of utmost importance.
3. Social media influencer workforce will continue to see a drastic rise
With the proliferation of social media comes the emergence of crowd and opinion leaders. These key influencers in the lifecycle of trends and in the diffusion of content are rapidly taking their place in the general psyche. As proof, top-tier social media celebrities have seen their yearly incomes increase ten-fold over the last few years, reaching up to $8 to 12 million per year.
Nevertheless, whereas the fruits of social fame were once reserved for upper-tier influencers exceeding the one million plus follower threshold, platforms such as FameBit, carrot.fm and clarity.fm are providing a new route for monetization through micro-transactions with followers and fans alike. Patronage models for social media celebrities are set to become stand-alone industries in their own right and a new sustainable career path will emerge.
The future of social media is exciting and promising. As a framework for social interaction, it has brought us closer together and redefined access to information. As a side product, it has the capacity to actually redefine the complex dynamics that govern human exchanges and actions. Companies and initiatives that bridge behavior and social influence are the ones that will experience the most success over the next year.
It is reasonable to expect 2017 to be another big year for social media; the shift away from ephemeral entertainment to a disruptive force in business, marketing and even employment, are certain to create a new wave of key industry players.
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