The New Year is looming, and social media trends in 2017 are evolving faster than ever before. From Snapchat’s new name – Snap – to Twitter’s fatiguing numbers, it is shaping up to be a year of winners and losers. The question is, which side will your brand end up on?

As you prepare your social strategy for the year ahead, it’s important to keep in mind not only emerging social media trends in 2017, but also areas of improvement that fell by the wayside this year, like after-hours moderation and consistent video content. Don’t make excuses, just do better.

In the season’s spirit of giving, here are eight areas your brand needs to focus on to nail social media trends in the coming year. Don’t hope for a good year, plan for a great one.

1. Original Content

Working on authentic, interesting, captivating content actually created by your brand is and will continue to be the most effective way to engage people on social media. It’s not enough to share links from other sources. Your community will come to you looking for expertise and entertainment. Feed the masses.

2. Focus on customer persona

Customer personas are fictional descriptions that build a picture of your ideal customer. Clearly defining these personas, and visualizing them as you build your social strategy will help you to create communication that speaks to the right people.

3. Consumer reviews

88% of customers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. Encouraging customers to leave a review, while making it easy to do so, will convert more members of your community at pivotal times in their personal sales cycle.

4. Moderation

Your brand’s first line of defense for social moderation should be managed in-house, scaled by an agency. No one knows your brand like you do, so you should manage the relationship with an agency focused on social moderation as this will reduce risk of social crises and build authentic interactions between the public and your brand. You should be working with an agency that checks on your social channels many times a day, with the frequency increasing dependant upon the needs of your brand.

5. Agency monitoring/after-house only coverage

Your social channels should be monitored 24/7, and the only way to guarantee that is to either build out your own round-the-world team, or hire a savvy social agency to provide a level of service that fits your needs. You may only need after-hours coverage, which ensures your social channels are monitored, and proper crisis-management guidelines are followed outside your normal 9-5.

6. Community building

Never view your social media as “Our brand talking to you, the customers”. It’s much less like a speech, and much more like a party. You need to leave openings for discussion, engage with commenters and frequent “likers”, and foster a spirit of community. A note of caution: this means avoiding typical “sales-y” posts and jargon in your social.

7. Video

If you haven’t heard that video is a trend yet, you’re living under rock somewhere cold and remote. Maybe Antarctica. Say hello to the penguins down there!

If you’re not currently ice fishing in 14 thermal layers, you know that video is where it’s at. Creating and using original video content across all social channels is a major key to success in social for 2017. If you’re not playing in this arena, your competitors are.

8. Help community live vicariously

It’s no longer enough to tell your community what you’re doing, and giving them sneak peeks. People want to be immersed in the experience. A focus on including those who interact with you on social media will increase engagement, and build trust with your brand.

Keeping up with social media trends in 2017 has never been more important. Consumers expect a quality of content and interaction, and brands need to meet them where they are. Implement these tips and watch your social engagement, brand trust, and conversion soar.

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