Which social networks are on the rise? Which are starting to wane? And where should your priorities lie as a social media marketer? Have you invested time on multimedia content because of the popularity of networks like Snapchat and Instagram? Should you spend less time on Twitter as it struggles to find its place in the social landscape? With 2017 around the corner, be sure you're investing in the most important social networks to connect with customers, fans, and contacts. Here are the top 9 social networks for marketers to plan for in 2017 based on potential marketing opportunities and industry buzz.
Though there have been times where it looked like other networks might have a shot at challenging Facebook for supremacy, at this point it is clear that Facebook is number 1. It might not have the current excitement or buzz that Instagram and Snapchat enjoy, but Facebook has the users, with over 1.71 billion active users on the network. Add in the popularity of Facebook Messenger, with its use of chatbots, and it's clear that Facebook has become something impossible for marketers to ignore.
While sharing photos and videos might be a part of almost every network, Instagram has made it its business. Now owned by Facebook, the network has grown exponentially over the past few years and has surpassed Twitter in active users, with over 500 million. They're aware of the looming presence of Snapchat and have made an effort to fight back by copying features in hopes to slow down the competitor's growth. It might not be working but the popularity of Instagram isn't diminished.
Snapchat is pretty simple: take a picture or video, customize it with filters, and share it with your friends. Starting as a messenger app with self-destructing content, Snapchat has grown into a full social network since the addition of "stories." They've developed a variety of marketing tools and are a real contender in the market. Engaging with not only friends but brands on Snapchat is now easier than ever.
Once ranked number 1 on Social Media Today, Twitter is struggling to find where it belongs this year. With rumors of a potential buyout cropping up regularly, it's harder to sing the absolute praises of Twitter. That said, they still offer some of the best options for directly engaging with a community thanks to the openness of the network and mechanics of twitter conversations. They've also been actively adding new tools for messaging and marketing in recent months. The next 3 to 6 months are going to be interesting to watch because of the potential changes to Twitter and whether or not those buyout rumors come true.
It might not come up in the same conversations as Facebook and Twitter but YouTube is definitely a social network you should not overlook. YouTube is the number 3 website in the United States. Why isn't it higher on this list, though? The site is much trickier to engage with and monetize than most social networks. Additionally, YouTube has been making some changes that appear to be scaring away many of their original content creators and influencers. Be sure to explore how helpful YouTube may be in achieving your marketing goals next year.
Like Instagram, WhatsApp is a social networking app owned by Facebook. Last month it was announced that WhatsApp will begin sharing user data with Facebook in an effort to begin greater monetization of the app and it's 1 billion users. With the addition of Snapchat-like features just last week, it is clear that WhatsApp is being positioned as yet another competitor to the snappy ghost. The marketing potential of WhatsApp is clearly untapped at the moment, but it's user-base and expanded features make it hard to ignore.
Much like Twitter and Facebook the shine has definitely come off LinkedIn but thanks to the purchase by Microsoft earlier this year there is hope that it might shine again. Billed as a professional social network, it's a place for meeting and connecting with colleagues, customers, potential new recruits, and more. Though LinkedIn isn't considered as "fun" and exciting as networks like Snapchat and Instagram, with expanded publishing and marketing tools the network hopes to encourage more use and engagement going forward.
The virtual idea board has grown into a great place for generating traffic and targeting your perfect audience. Branded content has been a key aspect of Pinterest's success and they are always adding new marketing features including a new tool for promoted video content. They don't want to be left in the dust socially though as they have been adding new features for sharing and messaging within and outside of the app.
The social app that continues to take the teenage social world by storm. In many ways, it has gone completely unnoticed by marketers and social media managers but it's growing dominance means that it shouldn't be. Musical.ly continues the trend of video popularity on social media as it has users share 15-second skits and music videos for followers to watch. Thanks to easy editing tools it has become a place for teens to get creative on social media. Will it be even higher next year? Maybe. Its rise is very similar to Snapchat but it remains to be seen they will be able to maintain this growth. If teens are among your target audience, it'd be wise to keep an eye on this network.
How do you plan to finish 2016? What are your plans going into 2017? What networks are you planning to put your resources into? Is there anything that I missed that you think is worth taking a look at? Let me know in the comments.