Expert Round Up: Social Media 2017 Edition

4 September 2017  
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social media plan 2018 ideas

I invited some of the leading lights in social to share their thoughts on what’s hot in social right now.

Read on to find out what have been the key trends for Ireland’s leading Social Media practitioners this year so far, and what are they thinking about for the future?

  • Video
  • Digital Transformation
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Dark Social
  • Ads
  • Instagram and Influencer Marketing
  • Continuous Learning

Video is on everyone’s mind

good roundup post social media Felicity McCarthy, Spark Digital

2017 is all about video on mobile – short, long, recorded, live, slick, hack, looping, reversed, timelapsed, slowed down, slideshows. It’s levelling the playing-field for businesses of all sizes to bring their stories to life. The tools are getting better too, enabling people to easily record and edit video, create videos in square format, for sound-off, with subtitles, livestream to multiple accounts or platforms. The recent launch of Facebook’s ‘Watch’ (currently to US only) is proof that video is their big bet too, so there’s lots more to come in this space.

Meadhbh Quinn, Virgin Media

Facebook’s autoplay video, which while annoying to some consumers, demonstrates how mainstream video content is becoming.

Greg Fry, Content Plan.co

The Digital Revolution continues to evolve in 2017 and “Live Video” continues to dominate the digital airwaves. Keeping up to date with the latest Video tools and Facebook Live updates can be daunting (subtitles, split screens, sharing screens etc). If you are looking to up your live video game you may want to look at tools like BeLive.tv, BlueJeans and Open Broadcast Software. As more and more people embrace video the need to quality production and content has increased. Businesses and Marketers need to plan and think through their video content and ensure what their audience consumes is valuable and an enjoyable viewing experience. We are all in the TV business now.

Samantha Kelly, Tweeting Goddess

Video is very important..if you aren’t using it somewhere on your marketing you need to start.…..it’s all about learning every single day.

Matt Jennings Temple, Silvercloud Health

Video I believe is making a huge splash this year for B2B companies. Allowing customers to see a human side of who they are is now being brought to the forefront of most business decisions. For too long companies have had a sense of being more corporate will get them more customers. I don’t agree with this one bit. Companies need to show themselves in a much more human setting. Smile, it won’t break the camera. Show the business community your company has values and respects its audience. If the videos are well shot, they will achieve this.

Marie Ennis O’Connor, Writer and international keynote speaker.

I’m shifting my focus towards creating more graphics and video. I plan to take my top performing content so far this year and repurpose it into video. People expect more than just ordinary videos now so you need to get creative. I’ve started experimenting with video animation and am planning on doing more of this in Q4. I want to develop a deeper understanding about what videos draw viewers in and what engages and resonates for them. 2017 has seen increasing growth and potential of video marketing as evidenced by consumers and audience behaviour. Demand for live video has grown with the exponential rise of mobile video consumption. Facebook in particular is putting greater attention on live video in its algorithm. Marketing is now less about pre-produced, scripted videos, and more about delivering an authentic experience that people can connect with and feel part.

Clive Hooper, Internet Marketing

With time becoming a very expensive commodity for audiences consumers of social media are demanding fast, concise and engaging information delivery and “live streaming” is fulfilling that need. Live streaming is also allowing audiences unprecedented access to areas that were never accessible before. As more of us have access to faster internet this media will truly take off.

Aileen O’Meara, Media Consultant

For me, the thing that defines 2017 so far is the massive digital media disruption happening in front of our eyes i.e. on our screens. We are moving away so fast from the “traditional” TV screen, and onto our ipads and phones, away from the TV schedules and to our own Netflix and YouTube watching. Also for me, the excitement is around how the media is adapting to the growth in video as the central way to communicate.

Nicola Swan, Bank of Ireland

The landscape of social media is ever changing; people are drawn towards more instant, effortless interactions. The biggest shifts I have seen would be the use of virtual and augmented reality also the huge popularity and continued success of video and authentic live content. There’s also been a gradual change in the demographic, with growth in the older audience adopting social networks and younger users steering towards more closed private messaging so it’s going to be exciting to see what changes this brings with it.

Marie-Clare Byard, Now Media Live

The future is video and my future is bringing this message and benefits of video/vogging to the market.

Clive Hooper, Simply Social Media

With time becoming a very expensive commodity for audiences consumers of social media are demanding fast, concise and engaging information delivery and “live streaming” is fulfilling that need. Live streaming is also allowing audiences unprecedented access to areas that were never accessible before. As more of us have access to faster internet this media will truly take off.

Susie Santry, Social Media & Content Specialist

Take a look at what some brands are up to on Instagram stories and the video content that plays out there. Primark for example, often have someone just holding up key new items. It’s interesting because it isn’t always highly polished, but it’s still grabbing people’s attention.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”CH0FL” via=”no” ]”Facebook’s autoplay video demonstrates how mainstream video content is becoming.” @meadhbhq[/ctt]

Digital Transformation

digital transformation ai

Maryrose Lyons, Brightspark Consulting

There’s a definite increase in the numbers of businesses looking to bring all staff up to speed on social, particularly amongst those who have a mix of younger more digital savvy staff, alongside longer established teams. No longer is the ability to engage on social just the remit of the marketing department.”

Cathal Melinn, Digital Marketing Institute

I’m most excited about digital transformation within organisations. It’s starting to accelerate into businesses of all sizes and industries so efficiencies in process and transparency across organisations will increase.
It will mean that job roles will change and new skillsets will come to the fore but as more and more services go online (which is what consumers want) we will be better able to efficiently live without overloading ourselves with unnecessary busy work.

This is what I find most interesting, not a channel development or a new platform but a noticeable shift in the dominant business psyche to meet consumer needs and that boils down to digital transformation.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”b7TFR” via=”no” ]”No longer is the ability to engage on social just the remit of the marketing department.” @maryrose[/ctt]

AI (Artificial Intelligence)

artificial intelligence roundup

Krishna De, Live Video Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker

Being involved in digital communications means that there is always so much to learn to continue to deepen our understanding in emerging practices. The area I am paying close attention to in this last quarter of 2017 (in addition to those areas I am currently involved in!) are the implications and best practice use of artificial intelligence for lead generation, sales, social customer support and how it can be integrated into business processes.

Sasha Kinch, Independent News & Media

Just one key thing stands out to me for 2017, and going forward, and that is AI. I’ve seen it used for customer service in chatbots (even the little guys are using them now), seen it form core parts of amazing marketing campaigns (IBM’s Watson, The Young Pope) and soon to drive what content we write (IBM Watson again). I think we are only scraping the surface of what AI will offer us.

Marie Collins, Digipulse Marketing

What I’m most interested in learning more about by the end of 2017 is Facebook Messenger bots. I’ve already dipped my toe in the water as they are something that really interest me. I can see huge possibilities with them. However, you need to get in there quickly to be unique as in a year or two they will be commonplace.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”dy6XR” via=”no” ]”Just one key thing stands out to me for 2017, and going forward, and that is AI.” @Sasha Kinch[/ctt]

Dark Social

dark social roundup Cian Corbett, Radical

2017 has seen the continued rise of Dark Social channels with customers flocking to the more private channels and interactions afforded by Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. Brands have been creative in accommodating this shift like AIB’s innovations with Mortgages on Messenger service – allowing customers to seek advice from Mortgage specialists in Facebook Messenger.

social media ads gdpr

Johnny Ryan, PageFair

Digital types often say something big is occurring, and then nothing much of interest results. But something very significant is indeed due to occur in Q1 2018, which will have consequences that take several years to resolve. Two new European regulations (GDPR and ePR) are due to be applied at the end of Q1 2018. As I have said in Wired and Advertising Age, they will change how online services operate. We at PageFair have been spending much of our time in Brussels, speaking with regulators and lawmakers to build a picture of what we need to do. Others should do likewise. My take: this is an opportunity to improve privacy for citizens, and publishers’ position versus adtech, but it may disrupt online media in the short term. See our repository of official documents, analysis, and explainers.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”bcG48″ via=”no” ]“GDPR is an opportunity to improve privacy for citizens, but it may disrupt online media in the short term.“ @johnnyryan[/ctt]

Instagram & Influencer Marketing

instagram roundup Meadhbh Quinn, Virgin Media

Marketers are using Instagram influencers and sponsored posts increasingly. Still relatively good value for money.

Maya Brischle, Stylist + Social Media Consultant

Moving image content. Gifs, videos, and live streaming have been around for a while but they seem to have really taken off this past year as a key part of social media strategies. The introduction of Boomerang and Instagram Story have pushed people away from sharing still images and brands have had to shift to adapt to the public’s appetite for more engaging content.
Facebook live has helped brands engage more directly with their audiences. The candid nature of these streams also seems to create a stronger connection than the more stylised images and videos that were more widely used at the start of the year.

Una Minh Caomhanach, Social Media Consultant

In terms of social media and the rise of the “influencer” (a word that I don’t like myself personally), I’ve noticed that brands are perhaps realising that there are varying degrees of influence and in fact the real influence can’t be solely based on numbers. I think it’s vitally important for social media strategists to get the message across to companies that for example 100,000 or more followers looks cool but if they’re not engaged then they’re pretty useless. Too many times have I had people who have said that so-and-so told me to buy followers and it can be devastating trying to salvage their brand. The real winners are the ones who really know their audience, how to build it, keep it and create an engaged community.

Eoin Kennedy, Founder of Congregation.ie

Hoping for a break through social media platform that not purely motivated by ad generation and profit.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”XWFuR” via=”no” ]”100K or more followers looks cool but if they’re not engaged then they’re pretty useless” @unakavanagh[/ctt]

Continuous Learning

Melanie Boylan, STOMP Social Media Training

More demand for social media training. It’s seen as less of an expense and more of an analytics tool, not just a desire. More and more people are inquiring about Facebook Ads and wanting to gain a better understanding about them in order to utilise them.

Tim O’Driscoll, BeeOnLion.ie

Continue to grow my understanding of Google products with a focus on Google Sheets and Google Apps.

Patrick O’Connor, PrinterInks.ie

I’m excited to learn about software and analytical tools which aid tracking sales and visitors to our site … effective software and online presence is pivotal to the success of any business going forward, especially in E-commerce!

Luke Duffy, Inpho.ie

You can never learn too much from the people who come after you … turning to those younger than you can show you the up and coming trends.

Jon Harrison, Goos3D

Previously we worked off an almost helter skelter approach of throw everything at the wall and see what sticks but now we can be a lot more streamlined and clever about content creation as we have clearer insights as to what our readers expect and how we wish to approach them.

Did I mention that we’ve got a social media online course “Learn Social Media Like A Pro” that will enable you to stay on top of social media changes as they happen?

Thanks to everyone who took part and shared their insights!

What do you think? Have you switched to video (like we did in 2017)? Are you tinkering with a bot? Are you all over Instagram? Prepared for GDPR and deadly at dark social?

If you’re not, don’t be overwhelmed!

You’ve still got plenty of time to make a social media plan 2018!

As you can see, there is a lot of help out there, an entire industry of social media people who are skilled and equipped to guide you through the changes as they happen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ireland is punching above its weight when it comes to social. When I attended Social Media World Conference in San Diego I realised that a lot of the things we in Ireland have discovered and adapted and use daily, many of our US peers are only getting to grips with.

If you would like to have a conversation on what you should be doing with your social media in the coming months, and are thinking about making a social media plan for 2018, why not get in touch?

Contact us today.

We’ll always get back to you within one business day.

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  1. Thanks Mary Rose for curating this article – I know a lot of work must have gone in to publishing it. It is interesting to learn what is on other peoples minds for 2018. And thank you for inviting me to contribute too.

    I think we probably all need a tick against the topics referenced plus more besides for success in 2018!

    1. You are most welcome Krishna, and thanks to you for taking part. Overall it was a brilliant exercise for me to learn where everyone’s heads are at. We are so lucky to be part of a brilliant community.

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