What a year it has been! Social media has gone from a way to connect with old high school friends to the top driver of news coverage in the world. If people need to know something, they are turning to social media platforms first. This means social media is the place to establish a new brand, or develop thought leadership, like never before. Just ask Chewbacca mom, Donald Trump, and all those people who snapped flower headband photos.

While we hope some 2016 social trends will fade in the new year (we’re talking about you, flower headbands!), there are some trends we predict will only continue to pick up steam. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, it might be time to give a few of these a try.

Facebook Live Video exploded in 2016. News channels have used it to stream breaking news coverage. Sports teams have streamed games. Parents have gone live at the school play. It’s everywhere and it’s available to everyone. What makes Facebook Live especially powerful is its placement in the newsfeed. Facebook gives live video powerful reach and even alerts friends and followers. If you haven’t utilized live video yet, start making plans for 2017. It’s the type of content that will deliver the best reach and engagement, and thus the greatest results.

Snapchat has been a favorite of millennials for a while now; in fact, the platform claims to reach 41% of people 18-24 each day. That’s why brands are flocking to the channel . . . and you should, too. It’s a great platform to really share an authentic and personal look at your work and life. If you need to reach a millennial audience, there is no excuse: open a Snapchat account today.

Instagram was the first platform millennials fell in love with, and this year, it’s come out swinging against SnapChat by unveiling ‘stories’ and some other features to keep a younger audience engaged. This is a great platform for brands and thought leaders with beautiful and interesting images to share. If you would rather write than snap a photo, Instagram may not be right for you, but we recommend experimenting. Communities grow quickly here and they respond well to advertising. The rivalry between Instagram and Snapchat means more innovations will likely come to each platform. Plus, audience numbers keep growing for both.

Gamification of Social Media started when Pokemon Go came out of nowhere and became the most popular download in history. While it is technically a game, it also combined social networking capabilities, unveiling new frontiers for social media. Pokemon Go has lost some of its steam, but we predict there will be other gamified social platforms to come and other opportunities for brands and thought leaders to connect with highly-specialized audiences.

Meme Power has existed since the beginning of social media, but this year memes grew in speed of deployment and reach. While there is no way to predict what will capture the eyes and clicks of the internet, a meme has a better chance than nearly anything. Turn your thoughts into clever memes. It works fast, and on every platform.

LinkedIn Pulse has become a top publishing outlet on social media. It’s a great place to develop thought leadership and create a network of people with similar interests and skills. In some cases, publishing a post on Pulse has delivered greater results than posting on a stand-alone website. If Pulse editors like your blog, its reach can go sky high. If you aren’t regularly sharing content here, sit down and map out a plan for 2017. Your personal brand will thank you.

While many things change in social media, there is one thing that stays the same—consistent, high-quality content delivers results.  It’s the only approach that has had lasting success.

While you plan for 2017, consider taking a few minutes to decide how you can be more targeted with your content, how you can deliver more consistently, and figure out where you need to be to reach your specific audience. We also challenge you to try one new thing on social media in 2017, because consistency is crucial, but it’s important to never stop growing with and responding to your audience.

What are you planning to experiment with in social media next year?


Image Credit: rvlsoft / 123RF Stock Photo