A lot of brands found found social media difficult in 2016, especially travel brands given the number of high profile incidents that discouraged travel to a lot of locations.
While it appears that some social media platforms are moving towards paid advertising models, others are making algorithm changes to suit user experiences, limiting the organic reach of brands.
These changes are fair game, at the end of the day without users, social media platforms don’t have a life blood.
In some respects, travel brands are in an enviable position when it comes to social media marketing. User’s posting their holiday photos tend to get a lot of engagement, and often spark other users into doing some holiday research of their own.
2017 however promises to shake-up what we’ve previously thought as being best practice for social media marketing. It’s important that we adopt agile strategies and evolve and align with what the market (and the social media platforms) are doing. The following are social media trends and predictions that you need to be aware of, and be preparing for.
Facebook’s prediction about video content
Facebook have predicted that within the next 5 years it’s News Feed will predominantly consist of sponsored, commercial and user-generated video content. The traditional ‘written’ status update will be replaced with wider adoption of Facebook Live and SnapChat style messaging features, something that the social media giant has been testing.
User behaviour has already changed to the point where we know to swipe up or down to close and view further videos. This is something we’re seeing happen in the real world, and we’re seeing Facebook encourage this shift in user behaviour through the use of television advertising.
For a while, video content has been a positive benefit for both user experience and your travel website’s SEO. While it may take a lot of resource to create and not every video will be a viral hit, it’s an important multi-channel marketing tool.
Get on board with GIFs and Emojis
GIFs and Emojis are not new, they’ve been around a long time, the first GIF was created in 1987, and Emojis can trace their origins back to the emoticons proposed in 1982.
Both emojis and GIFs are now being used by users to convey their emotions, mood and sentiments towards other content. Facebook again has steered it’s user base towards using more visual methods of engagement, with their Facebook Reactions (launched in February 2016).
Artificial intelligence set to impact social media
Chatbots are here and are already being adopted by some travel brands – primarily as a tool for providing customer service at peak times (and outside of office hours). We’ve been surrounded by artificial intelligence for a number of years now, with automated Live Chat features on websites and smartphone personal assistants such as Siri and Cortana.
However, the internet is a fickle place and AI is still in it’s early stages. In 2016 Microsoft launched Tay, which they described as an “experiment with and conduct research on conversational understanding”. Sadly it only took a handful of hours for trolls and other users to influence Tay’s learnings enough to turn the program into a ‘genocidal maniac‘.