Future Implications

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There are two primary motives for social media users: communication and connection with others…, they way company’s match these motives is constantly changing.

Social media – it’s constantly changing and evolving, therefore, companies’ social media strategies must do the same. The start of a new year is a great time to look ahead at 2017 future implications for brands and how these might impact social media strategies.

Google “social media trends for 2017,” and you’ll stumble upon a plethora of links to 2017 projections for social media. Four caught my eye, causing me to pause and reflect on their relations to each other. Two “work against” each other: Analytics and Dark Social, while two “compliment” each other: Real Time Customer Service and Chatbots, and are important for businesses to monitor and adjust their social media strategies for.

Analytics versus Dark Social


With the use of social media increasing daily, it is important that businesses understand how their social media marketing/engagement efforts (in both dollars and resources) are working towards building relationships, visibility, and ultimately increasing profits. According to a KPMG survey, 92% of C-level executives use data and analytics (D&A) to “gain greater insights into marketing,” while indicating their biggest challenges in decision making and using data analytics include: difficulty in evaluating data quality and reliability, appropriate data not always available, and limited expertise in running queries.


How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017? Brands will need to determine clear goals and tie social media metrics to intermediate goals or conversations…and all will have to lead back to revenue. Businesses must evaluate their current analytics tools and determine if they are providing the data that allows them to back up their social media activity and determine if they are obtaining tangible results.


Dark Social

Dark Social refers to social link-sharing that is not recognized by analytics in the proper way. For example, if someone finds a link to a company’s website through Facebook, then shares that link with their “friend” via text, their “friend” then clicks on the text link – or copies and pastes it into the URL bar, current analytic tools will view that “friends” visit to the website as direct traffic, as opposed to a result of the Facebook post. “Over two-thirds of all link sharing gets grossly mislabeled by web analytics tools.” Dark Social sources include apps on mobile devices (including Instagram and Facebook), email, text messages, and mobile apps. In addition, private messaging and peer-to-peer networks provide individuals with the opportunity to hold private conversations and share links with those individuals and small group members, without “analytics” picking it up. As a result of “Dark Social” companies receive inaccurate results from their analytics.

How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017?  Businesses must continue to monitor their analytic tools and determine if these tools are”correctly” the labeling the results. Social media platforms are working on finding fixes for this issue. To help companies continue to target their customer, even if they’ve gone “dark”, they will “need to build local communities,” providing personalized content. This will encourage users to “opt-in” to the company’s community – offering more one-on-one interactions with and information to the customer, along with providing better feedback as to what brought a customer to a specific site or purchase.

Real-Time Customers Service and Chatbots

Real-Time Customer Service

Today, customers expect businesses to have someone available 24/7 to respond to tweets and posts, on whichever platform is used. In fact, 52% of Twitter users expect a brand to respond within an hour. This expectation will continue to increase in 2017.

from Search Engine Watch

How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017?  Businesses must look to allocate resources to make sure timely responses are occurring and social media is being monitored.



We are all familiar with Siri – “Hey Siri, what’s the capital of Massachusetts?” “The capital of Massachusetts is Boston.”

Chatbots are similar to Siri. They are computer programs that “respond to texts or digital chats, effectively carrying on quasi-conversations with the humans.” They can answer standard social media customer questions. If programmed correctly, they take on the personality and “voice” of the business, mimicking a “conversation with a customer in a tone that reflects the brand’s identity.” Chatbots help solve need customers customers have for 24/7 availability of a company via social media, taking some of the burden off “live” employees, by answering basic questions, and sometimes adding humor.

How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017?  Although this may not be possible, or necessary, for all businesses, it is an option some companies will want to consider in 2017, to help with their “real-time customer service.” (But there are pitfalls to be aware of.)

These are just a few projections companies need to accommodate.

How is your company adjusting for 2017?