It feels like social media has been around for ages now. You would think at this point everyone would have it figured out. But, sure enough, every year we see massive changes in the way people use social media. There are also new applications and features. 2016 certainly was no exception

This is by no means a bad thing. With every new year comes new innovations. Once the social media trend takes hold it never takes long for people to figure out how best to use them. This is true for both individual and business use. Every new feature or innovation on social media opens a new door for interaction and reach with their customer base.

Some social media trends catch on and others die off quickly. Since experimenting with these innovations is usually free (or at the very worst an extremely small cost to you) it pays to try new things.

Here are some new social media trends and innovations that you should keep an eye on in 2017.

The Live Video Arms Race

One of the biggest trends we have seen in recent years is a copy-cat mentality among the social media elite. For example, we recently saw Instagram create “Stories”, a direct response to the short, in-the-moment content that Snapchat had cornered the market on.

The next big social media arms race to keep an eye on is in the world of live video. Last year we saw Facebook launch, and put a lot of emphasis behind, the new Facebook Live feature, which allowed users to broadcast live video on their phones. This was, of course, a counter to Twitter’s Periscope. Well now it seems that Instagram is getting in on the action.

This comes as no surprise, seeing that Instagram is an entity of Facebook. However, this is noteworthy as it shows Facebook’s commitment to the feature. This past year, Facebook Live showed a lot of promise for business use, but ultimately everyone was still just trying to figure it out. As new companies put their own spin on the concept, we will no doubt discover new and exciting ways to use it for marketing and promotion.

Instagram’s Business Tool

This application actually launched in mid-2016, but it really did not gain a lot of initial steam. However, this new tool has a lot of promise and, like many social media features, it may just take a little time to take off. Additionally, it sounds like Instagram is committed to expanding the tool.

The tool allows businesses to make designated “Business Profiles” on the platform, allowing for direct contact from fans and location tags. Users will also be able to promote sponsored/paid images and posts as well as receive insights and information on who is visiting and interacting on their page.

Essentially, Instagram is doing what you have been able to do in the past on Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. Maybe it is not extremely exciting on the surface, but for businesses who focus on visual marketing and promotion like food companies or artists, this kind of designation and the information you can receive make it extremely valuable. Don’t be surprised to see it gain heavy popularity in 2017.

YouTube’s Very Own Community

Google has had a hard time getting social media right. Many use it, but very few would say Google+ is any sort of powerhouse in the social media community. Well, they are giving it another try with a new feature currently being beta tested for YouTube.

This new “YouTube Community” will allow video creators and their fans to directly interact. Creators can upload text posts, GIFs and other content that followers can like, dislike, comment on or share, similar to other social media sites.

A few popular YouTubers are currently testing it, but it opens up a unique avenue for companies that post commercials on YouTube or work heavily in video. These posters can interact with their fans to immediately gauge their responses to their new content, tease and provide updates on future projects/videos and just have a new method of interaction. Ultimately, this may be a very niche social media experience, but for that niche it may be very valuable.

These are just a few of the interesting things that that are happening in social media in 2017. What trends are you keeping an eye on?

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