Social Media Predictions

5 social media predictions from an industry expert for 2017

Published by Colm Hanratty on Jan 25, 2017

One of the things I love about working in social media is having a career in a space that is forever changing. This keeps me on my toes and makes my day-to-day job a lot more interesting.

This means that year-on-year there are always lots of trends I need to know about. Since you’re a tour or activity provider, social media is key to your business growing which means you need to know about these trends too.

Now that 2017 is officially underway, its safe to predict the five key trends we’ll see develop in social media over the next 12 months.

1. More live streaming (with more people)

If I read another blog post about trends for 2017 that says "video will be big" this year, I think I’ll crack up. Video is big and has been for a long time. Though, what’s a lot more current is live-streaming.

If you read my blog post on social media trends for 2016 you’ll notice I pointed out live-streaming would be big in 2016. And it was. But what I think we’ll see more of this year are videos with structure.

A narrative is what gives videos more structure. But what provides that narrative? People! 

More tour guides and activity operators will appear in videos, telling potential customers what they can expect and more. If you’re not already doing it, it's time to start. You can do it yourself or simply look around the travel industry, see who’d make a good host, and invite them to be in your live streams!

Do you have a personality among your tour guides? Is there a person you know people will engage in online? If so, ask him or her to be in not one, but multiple videos. Essentially, you’re looking for them to be your host!

What this means for your business

Video guarantees wide organic reach on Facebook so you'll need to take advantage of the trend. But before that, you'll need to find somebody that will be good in front of the camera.

Live video 

2. The hype surrounding Snapchat will begin to die down

Even though I’ve written about Snapchat not once but twice here in the past, I’m not a big fan of the channel. The reason for this is that I don’t feel people share relevant content there. Let me explain:

If I look at a travel blogger's stream on Instagram, I'll see a bunch of travel photos. If I check out a fashion blogger’s YouTube channel, I'll see fashion videos. But if you were to check out either on Snapchat, you probably have no idea what you’re going to get. It could be a rant about pop music, it could be what fast food they like, it could be... well, anything.

I suspect people will begin to tire of Snapchat quickly. While it's a beloved app by many and the bubble won’t burst, you probably won’t hear as much about the social network as you did in the previous year.

What this means for your business

With so many social networks to focus on, if you’re not seeing much engagement or growth on Snapchat, stick to the social networks you know are already working for you. It's hard to build a following there, anyway. So whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, focus on what works. 

Speaking of Instagram, did you know it has its own version of Snapchat called ‘Instagram Stories’? Just try that if you're having a harder time on Snapchat. It's also a great place to host live videos. 

 Taking photos

3. Twitter won’t go anywhere

In October 2016 it was reported that Twitter would be letting go of about 9% of it’s workforce – that's approximately 350 people. The microblogging platform’s share value also dropped 40%, causing many to think Twitter was the social network on its way out.

But this won’t be the case. While Facebook is where people go to share photos of their travels or monumental things in their life, it’s not where they go to repeatedly discuss a particular topic over a short space of time. Twitter is where people have always done this and will continue to do so over the next year.

What this means for your business

Due to their algorithms, sharing multiple posts in a short space of time doesn’t work well for Facebook or Instagram. But with Twitter this is common behaviour.

While I recommend you still tweet regularly, look at it more as a tool to share real-time content, giving your followers a real taste of what they can expect on your tour.

Just before you set off, tweet to your followers telling them you’ll be live-tweeting the tour for the next couple of hours. This way, they’ll know exactly what you cover, giving them more reasons to book.

 Twitter feed

4. The rise and rise (but not really rise) of influencer marketing

Another topic I’ve written about on this blog (not just once, but twice) is working with influencers. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, an influencer is somebody who has a large following online, be it on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat or their own blog. As a result, ‘influencer marketing’ is collaborating with one of these professionals to market their brand or business.

While more brands will work with influencers, tracking your return on investment can be tricky. Will small to medium enterprises start to work with them? I think not.

What this means for your business

If you’re approached by an influencer looking for a complimentary trip in return for exposure on their social channels, by all means consider it.

Just do your homework on them – make sure they match your product and you have an idea of how you’re going to see whether or not it was worth giving them the free trip. A clear contract is a good idea in many cases.

 

5. Facebook and Instagram advertising will grow (but not Twitter)

Every time I log on to Facebook or Instagram I see more local businesses popping up in my feed. There are two reasons for this:

1. Facebook and Instagram's advertising is far more cost effective than Twitter's
2. Facebook and Instagram’s targeting is far more robust than Twitter’s

If you haven’t tried Facebook advertising yet, you should. It’s targeting is extremely powerful and you can start campaigns for a small enough budget that anybody can try it. If you haven’t tried yet, here are seven steps to creating your first Facebook ad campaign.

What this means for your business

While it might seem like nearly every business is dabbling with social media advertising at present, I can assure you’re they’re not. Get ready to see even more adverts from businesses in the travel space in 2017.

 

Looking to shape up your social media? Read TrekkSoft's ultimate guide. 

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Colm Hanratty

Published by Colm Hanratty

Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.

Topics: Social media insights

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