Now begins the time of year when marketers start making predictions and anticipating where priorities should lie in 2017. This year, more companies spent money advertising on social networks than the year before, and many are now evaluating those efforts to ensure social networks still make sense for their business.
So what does this mean for you? How can you leverage what brands have learned in 2016 in order to plan for next year? We’ve taken out some of the guesswork for you by compiling information about the top 10 social networks that marketers should plan for in 2017, based on potential marketing opportunities and industry buzz.
THE TOP DOGS
With 1.71 billion users, Facebook remain the largest and strongest social network. Over the years it has demonstrated its capacity to innovate, anticipate users needs and shape the social media landscape.
Facebook can boost engagement levels and increase impressions on posts or videos, generate brand awareness and website traffic, impact customer churn and retention levels. With Instant articles and Facebook Live, the social media is expanding possibilities for publishers and companies to share content and interact with their audience.
The social network was initially more appropriate for B2C marketing and according to a recent ebook put together by BuzzSumo and HubSpot, B2C posts on Facebook get an average engagement of 85.6 versus 26.1 for B2B posts. However Facebook has big ambitions and it’s now becoming a go-to platform for B2B marketers too.
In 2014, Perrier created a comprehensive video campaign which boasted 6.7 million people reached in 24 hours (25% of all French citizens aged 18–49).
Now owned by Facebook, Instagram has grown exponentially over the past few years and has surpassed Twitter in active users, with over 500 million in 2016. Mainly a B2C platform, B2B organizations are also successfully using the media to share branded content and show their company in a different light.
With visuals being the beating heart of this network, brands are often using their audience best artwork to promote their brand and publish user generated content on their feed.
While sharing photos and videos might be a part of almost every network, Instagram has made it its business. Filters with names as famous as the network itself, linked apps like Boomerang offering more features for videos; Instagram has what it takes to increase visibility for branded content and images, and also to acquire and retain new users and followers for niche communities or organizations.
By becoming one of the first French brands to use mobile app install ads on Instagram, Menlook was able to generate thousands of installs for its stylish app.
The video network owned by Google gathers over a billion users which represents one third internet users. YouTube is also the number 3 website in the United States. The reach is huge, possibilities are endless and video is one of the fastest growing content format these days so why isn’t it higher on this list, though? The site is much trickier to engage with and monetize than most social networks.
Both B2B and B2C organizations are using YouTube daily, however a leading B2B software company compare conversions achieved by different social networks and YouTube accounted for 0.39% of conversions against 46% for Facebook and 27% for Twitter. Regardless, video is booming at the moment so you should get on that train!
YouTube is great for tutorials, interviews, and more educational content. It can boost brand awareness and increase views of branded content and videos, as well as impact search results. For example, B2B marketers can use it to replay webinars or share Q&A and interviews with experts.
Modcloth’s TrueView campaign had an 18 percent clickthrough rate and allowed the brand to reach even more customers at a ninth of the cost of its average search campaign.
Billed as a professional social network, LinkedIn is a place for meeting and connecting with colleagues, customers, potential new recruits, and more. In the past couple of years, LinkedIn has also rolled out further resources for active users, such as continued education with its partnership with Lynda.com, as well as publishing opportunities.
Just shy of 470 millions users, LinkedIn gathers both B2B and B2C organizations, however, without surprise, B2B posts receive an average of 25.7 shares against 9.8 shares for B2C posts.
LinkedIn remains one of the top platforms for B2B marketers. It is a great place to distribute your content through the use of sponsored posts, ads or sponsored InMails, thanks to the possibility to target a very specific audience (and exclude a specific audience as well).
This professional social network gives the opportunity to position your employees as thought leaders, educate your current employees and recruit new ones by using both your company page and your employees’ profiles as part of your strategy.
Additionally, LinkedIn opens the door to more content formats with SlideShare, giving the opportunity to impact lead generation, customer acquisition and retention.
Vestas used LinkedIn Banner Ads to raise awareness and drive consideration for their organization and saw 80% of targeted opinion leaders visit their microsite to learn more.
THE MUST HAVES
With over 150 million people using Snapchat every day, the 4-year-old app is now surpassing Twitter in daily active users.
Starting as a messenger app with self-destructing content, Snapchat has grown into a full social network since the addition of “stories.” They’ve developed a variety of marketing tools and are a real contender in the market. Thanks to its Discover feature, Snapchat is getting big players among publishers looking to reach a younger audience.
Snapchat is targeting B2C marketers looking forward to increasing brand awareness among certain demographics and age groups, and impacting customer acquisition and retention rates. Marketers are on board, building teams dedicated to content that are specifically taking care of this social network.
Snapchat is growing and has yet to show the full extent of its opportunities but some brands are already matching their ROI. By using some of the unique features to Snapchat, such as Sponsored Lenses or Filters, Gatorade was able to increase purchase intent for their product.
Even though Twitter has experienced some organizational changes in 2016, they still offer some of the best options for directly engaging with a community thanks to the openness of the network and mechanics of Twitter conversations.
Twitter received some pessimistic press recently and with a community and engagement rate not growing as fast and as much as other social media. Regardless, Twitter remains a must-use for content distribution to boost visibility and drive follower growth in niche or specific communities.
Both B2B and B2C organizations are including Twitter in their strategy despite B2B being slightly stronger on Twitter with B2B posts shared on average 13.7 times against 9.3 for B2C posts. Conversion is here for those with the right strategy: last year, MVMT Watches created a Twitter campaign which resulted in a 353% increase in sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared with their daily averages across the rest of Q4.
B2C branded content has been a key aspect of Pinterest’s success and they are always adding new marketing features including a new tool for promoted video content. However the social media remains tricky with shares of B2C posts averaging 5%, which is quite low.
Pinterest can increase website traffic, promote e-commerce sales and boost brand awareness and engagement of branded content. Brands are also using the media to showcase their DNA through a careful selection of boards and pins.
B2B marketers do have some options to leverage the audience on Pinterest by using the platform to display their informational content such as tutorials or infographics, the latter receiving a great amount of shares compare to other content format.
An example of a successful strategy is Adore Me : since using promoted Pins, the company has seen increases in email sign ups, revenue, website traffic and click to purchase rates.
This social media is designed for B2C organization and allow users to discover brands and products and shop on the same platform. With over 20 million unique visitors per month, Polyvore has the highest average order value of any social network.
Indeed, Polyvore can drive referral traffic and generate revenue for e-commerce brands, boosting brand presence and awareness.
Richkids is an exclusive social network, available to everyone, but truly only accessible to the wealthy, who are able to afford the steep 1,000 Euros (or $1,100) per month subscription fee. A social network that has little interest at the moment but needs to be monitored by B2C organizations.
The first music video community is a free service and social media platform for creating and sharing short videos. With over 90 million registered users and an average of 12 million new videos posted every day Musical.ly is now one of the Top 30 largest Apps in the U.S and a fast growing social network.
Designed for Chinese users, the app boasts more than 600 million users and offer them a wide range of features. In a country where most Western world mainstream social media are inaccessible, Wechat offer a message app, a social media, and more under one app.
Best for B2C organizations, Wechat lets brands push out one message per day and a service account that caps the number of brand messages to one a week. The app exposes brand messaging to new audiences, impacts customer service initiatives, and facilitates e-commerce growth.
Many luxury fashion and lifestyle brands have created a customized presence on WeChat in order to better connect with Chinese consumers.
Known as the Twitter of China, Weibo helps B2C organizations market their products to a Chinese audience, acquires and retains new customers, drives purchase intent and sales, expands marketing reach.
Lancome is one example of a Western company embracing this platform to market to international audiences and experiencing a dramatic increase in engagement rates with hundreds of comments for its posts on its Weibo page.
So which networks should you use?
At this point, it is not a question of whether or not you should be on social media networks, but which ones should your brand have a presence.
For 2017, companies and organizations should be focused on the ones that directly align with target audiences (B2B or B2C), as well as the networks that directly support business objectives. Companies should find their brand voice and keep a consistent message throughout social media. Focus on where your target audience is and adapt your strategy as fast as social media platforms evolve.
With nearly half of the world’s population using some type of social media platform, the importance of having some presence in social is greater than ever.