Digital PR in 2017 – What does the Year Ahead Hold?

by Kenny Murray

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Peek into the future with our Digital PR expert and keep your business ahead of the curve

Social Media PR PredictionsTELLING what will happen in the year ahead is a difficult move for any business, especially in the fast moving world of digital media.

However, we managed to predict the year ahead quite successfully at the start of 2016, so figured we’d try again this year (fingers crossed).

Truth be told, if our skills lay in foretelling the future. we’d have an agency-wide lottery syndicate on the go and a fleet of Jet Skis tethered on the Water of Leith.

However, we do pride ourselves in being knowledgeable in our industry, so we constantly have an eye on emerging trends. That means we can make an educated projection on what is coming in the year ahead.

So, without further ado we’ve taken our eyes off the Jet Ski shop and broken down some key predictions for what lies in store in digital PR in 2017.

1 – Curated Content

We correctly predicted last year that social media code and algorithms would have an ever greater effect on exactly what social media users see on their timelines.  This is now true for Facebook and Twitter, while  Instagram is looking to implement new algorithms.

Essentially, social media users will never see all the content from all the friends they connect with or pages they ‘like’, ‘follow’ or subscribe to; instead they are all given a ranking based on the type of content they share and individual posts then bid it out for attention based on a series of computer codes.

This will only further move ahead in 2017. With the rise of Fake News, Facebook and Twitter will look to stop the spread of false news content, which means further tinkering with their code. This means that if you run a business which uses social media (almost all of them) then you need to be aware of how to effectively engage with your audience – which is where we excel.

2 – Pay to Play on Social Media

Last year we correctly predicted this would feature even more in the day to day management of social media accounts. Why? To put it simply, social media sites need to make money and they do this through advertising. However, with so much going on – they have to curate content (see above) but they also then need to allow people to skip up the ranking, for a price.

The nature of posting on social media has changed so now your audience don’t see everything that you share. Instead they see what Facebook has decided is worth them seeing or what Facebook wants users to see – unless you pay.

The trouble is, with Facebook changing their algorithm so often, it’s hard to stay ahead of the game and therefore paying is not only a cost effective way to engage with social media – but sometimes the best.

We reckon that in the next year, we’ll see costs for paid for promotion rise, as the market for paid for promotion gets much busier – unless you target much more specifically, something we’re already doing for clients.

3 – Social Commerce

We predicted that Facebook would exert more control over the ‘Buy and Sell’ pages this year and indeed they have.

With the launch of ‘Facebook Marketplace’ we saw this happen and in swift fashion. It was a move that saw Facebook exert ownership over a market that formerly Gumtree seemed to have a monopoly on, in the UK at least.

We’ll see this move further and further forward this year with options for businesses as well as individuals to benefit from the tool – don’t be afraid to be the business that makes that first step.


4 – The Return of Influencer Marketing

As organic reach on social media becomes much more difficult to achieve, we’ll witness the return of ‘influencer marketing’ in 2017.

What this means is that, faced with an increasingly hard to crack social media feed, businesses will seek to circumvent this by appealing directly to brands, individuals and organisations that appeal to their target audience.

We’ve seen this over the last year with the rise of sponsorship for Vine (RIP) and Facebook video stars, who received financial backing from big business and even Hollywood. Even Arron Crascall (a man who is famous for doing silly things on the internet) managed to interview some A list Celebs.

We’d suggest that your business should start looking at ways to work with influencers or target their followers with advertising. Indeed, we’re beginning to do this much more, so we’d gladly help you navigate the world of influencer marketing.

Such collaboration is likely to become a key part of any business communication strategy in 2017.

5 – Video, VR & Quality Photography

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture the attention of people on digital platforms, yet this is where most internet users seem to spend most of their time.

So, how do you reach them? The trick is to create quality content that fits into current trends and also manages to link into some form of ROI for your business. Yes, it can be difficult to achieve, but it is worth getting this right – and that’s where we can help.

We’ve seen VR or Virtual Reality become a large part of the current media conversation and 360 photos are quickly becoming the norm for sharing fun photos from events. So it’s important your business gets at ease with these developments and looks for ways to embrace them, if relevant.

An example is when we took advantage of the Tasty style video that became a trend on social media sites for food and drink brands. Seeing as we’re experts in Food and Drink PR we created one of these videos for Mackies Ice Cream – have a look below:

Equally, quality video and photography taking advantage of trends where relevant, like the mannequin challenge. These are all ways of reaching a wider audience on digital media & in traditional media. This is why we’ve got an in-house videographer and why we also work with Scotland’s Press Photographer of the Year.

If you don’t have quality video or photography – expect things to start going downhill in the new year when it comes to your social media reach.

6 – It’s make or break for Twitter

Do you or your organisation use Twitter? Start making connections with your followers on other platforms too – it may be the end for Twitter in the next year. It’s a bold prediction – but it’s going to go one way or the other.

Why? Growth has stagnated, there is no real competition for Facebook in terms of the advertising platforms on Twitter. Meanwhile  Twitter simply can’t shake off the bad name it has attracted, in regard to trolling and negative behaviour. That has already put off potential suitors, including Disney, who were linked with buying Twitter and coudl see it take a further dive.

Alternatively, the rumours of a Google takeover could come true and spark new life into Twitter, it’s advertising options and indeed, its entire offering. So plan for both eventualities.

At the moment there are currently between 70,000 – 100,000 active Scottish users on Twitter, but if Google use similar tactics to their G Plus launch then this could rise sharply in the event of a takeover.

We like to stay ahead of the game with digital media – so we’ll no doubt have further predictions throughout the year for our clients to benefit them.

Looking to benefit from our expert Digital PR knowledge? Get in touch with our team to learn how to benefit from our insight into the digital world.

Our expert team has worked on different digital projects in a variety of sectors – learn from their expertise and tap into their insight to plan ahead for your business.

Do this by getting in touch with us on 0131 561 2247 or take a few seconds to complete the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you:

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