Top experts share what they will stop doing on social media in the New Year

With close to 3 billion active social media users worldwide, you just cannot not notice the runaway expansion of its impact on the businesses. As each year passes, this number increases by over 25%. According to a recent study by AdWeek, 90% of the global businesses actively use social media marketing as part of their growth strategy. And the percentage of businesses that report that social media has worked wonders for their bottom line is even more overwhelming. Advertising on social media platforms, especially Facebook, has had a significant effect on the business’s sales. As shown in a recent report by SocialPro, Facebook ads, in general, helped overall impressions for the businesses by over ninety percent; the average cost per click dropped by roughly 30% and so did the click CPA by an even greater margin. And all this, just within a matter of months in the current year! We witnessed how social media gave a whole new dimension to real-time marketing in 2016, this has been especially true in case of the real time video content, with over 10 million accounts with over 40 years’ worth of watch time on a daily basis. The businesses don’t just talk about whether and how social media fits the ‘big picture’, it has become a ‘big picture’ itself, and rightfully so. If you come to think of it, social media as a concept has been with and around us for only over a decade now. But boy, doesn’t it feel like forever? And now with increasing penetration of the internet and smartphones in people’s lives, this growth will only multiply in 2017 and even beyond. The interaction of the people with the emerging technologies has fuelled curiosity, creativity and engagement like never before. Social will continue to redefine how we interact, work, socialize and even live in 2017.

But as the year changes, so do the tastes and preferences of the customers. And in turn, that makes massive shifts in how businesses approach social media as an effective practice to be able to reach out to and engage with their customers to boost profitability and strengthen brand engagement. Now, some might think that it might be a tad bit too early to talk about 2017 now, but guess what these two months would just vanish right before you blink, just like that, especially with holidays around the corner. So, when it comes to social media, one can never be too early or far ahead in time in planning for the New Year. The evolution in the social media space is inevitable. With the likes of Meerkat and Periscope to the burgeoning craze for virtual reality enabled and social media powered games like Pokémon Go, the way we have known social media is being constantly redefined. As a result, there are two set of things: Firstly, the things that you MUST learn to get on the social media bandwagon and secondly, the things that should let go of that might prevent you from moving forward. And while it’s important and relatively easier to do the former, it’s the latter that requires a cognitive commitment and courage. As addictive as social media is, the businesses must learn to let go of practices that may not be so much impactful in 2017.

So, we invited the social media marketing experts and successful digital marketing leaders. And naturally, we asked them a ‘selfish’ question that we all need the answer to: “What’s one social media marketing practice you will ditch in 2017?” While you will find hundreds of thousands of blogs out there that talk about experts’ top social media marketing predictions and trends for 2017, what you really should be dying to know about as a business is more than just the tips. Sometimes trying new things may not necessarily what your business needs. There are certain prevailing social media practices and tools that might be outdated and therefore must be replaced if not dismissed or else they might act as a hindrance to your business’ growth across various social media platforms. And it’s really difficult to let loose your hold on these things because social media is simply addictive. It is difficult to change the habits. But, if you are committed to your expanding and evolving your social media marketing practices, then you must listen to what these experts have to say about the things you should discontinue doing in 2017.

We’ve listed the experts’ responses below, but in no particular order of importance:

Ana Levley, President, Levley Marketing

I believe we all will be ditching Google+ this year – though it is good sometimes for some posts for boosting SEO on Google, it really does not have an impact anymore (nor did it really ever) unless you are marketing to Google employees. I feel like Google+ does not need to be managed or used as much as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and SnapChat since less people are on it despite Google’s tries to link e-mail and YouTube and etc.”

The thought behind the quote

Yes, as a social networking site, perhaps Google+ is no longer attractive to the marketers. Although Google My Business is still very relevant for the businesses, especially the local ventures, Google+ fails to offer value to the marketers, according to the marketers like Ana. Initially referred to as an independent social network from Google, looking at its downfall the search giant slowly started to call it a “social layer” around the core Google services. Ana and many other marketers felt like they were pushed toward the creation of a Google Plus profile in order to rank well in Google’s search engine or when publishing comments in YouTube. So, in order to take this forced feeling away, Google promoted its social networking platform as an interest-based networking platform. Many argue that Google is slowly shutting down Google Plus in the name of updates and upgrades, such as removal of Hangouts from the platform. So, where does Google Plus go from here? Do you reckon’ the picture will be much clearer come 2017?

Tom Harness, Harness Marketing

There have been many added features to many social media platforms in 2016. Two of the most competitive one’s have been Snapchat and Instagram. Both are great for branding, but only for specific areas. In 2017, I’ll be ditching Snapchat for Business Branding, but keep it for personal branding. Instagram, is going to be all about business branding in 2017, but not personal branding. The focus will elevate wasted time and give much better focus on marketing to the right demographics.

The thought behind the quote

Snapchat as a social networking platform has just exploded in popularity. Especially amongst the teens, the social media tool has become a household name. Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users and even a greater amount of images being shared every day. But, as far as its marketing applications are concerned, Snapchat is not as robust as other primary social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. If you consider using geo-filters on the platform, they are a great way to reach the target audiences and even keep them engaged. But, the amount of time and efforts it requires to be successful at Snapchat filters is much more than promoting the business on other popular social networking websites and apps. Also, one must consider the fact that snaps have a very limited timespan. Also, when compared to Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat offers relatively fewer social signals for the business. It’s no wonder then that marketers like Tom think of putting lesser emphasis on Snapchat in 2017, simply from the ROI perspective. On the other hand, Instagram is gradually nibbling away its parent company, Facebook’s fame. This is evident from the increasing user-base of this social media marketing platform. There are many things that Instagram has, but Facebook doesn’t which gives the former an edge over the latter. Some of the examples include, the Boomerang app, which is quite a hit among the users. Silent videos seem to have been doing wonders for Instagram. Many creative start-ups have in fact started using their Instagram pages as their businesses’ sole identity on the web. Which platform would you be focusing more on for promoting your business in 2017 – Snapchat or Instagram?

Matt Antonio, Marketing Manager, Ultimate Shutter

I’m ditching trying to be everywhere at once on social media. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. it’s just too much. We will cut back our active participation and increase our syndication. We want our LinkedIn fans to get our updates but we don’t necessarily want to “man the battlestations” on every channel under the sun. Our 2017 plan will ensure that we are available but not draining as much time on channels that aren’t producing strong results.

Ultimately, social media has to drive some sort of ROI. Maybe not direct sales but if you’re using a channel actively with little reward, it’s time to stop doing that activity.

The thought behind the quote

A lot of marketers are becoming increasingly mature about where they should be focusing their efforts in order to attain the maximum bang for their buck. Being everywhere, in terms of the social media presence, may sound right in the text book, but it may not be a practical solution for many marketers who don’t have a ton of money or the extra resources to handle such work load. Smart marketers like Matt want to focus their efforts and money on social media platforms where their audiences are actively hanging out. They ask critical questions before moving forward toward developing strategy for any platform – is this social media site going to get me the traffic I wish for my website? Hence, instead of spreading themselves too thin, the smart marketers focus dedicatedly on few most fruitful platforms. Rather, they leverage their presence on the chosen two to three networks and maximize their relationships with their target audiences thereon in order to positively impact the social ROI.

Nate Meadows, Global Social Media Marketing Manager, Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

“In 2017 I am transitioning away from non-value added platforms, like Google +, SlideShare, Flickr etc.… Really focusing on strengthening our core platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram. By having a more focused effort into a few platforms we can allocate more time and attention to ensure the content, listening & engagement strategies are well executed.”

The thought behind the quote

Wat reflects from Nate’s quote is that social media marketing in 2017 is going to be about engagement and not just content blasting. What many marketers have slowly come to the realization is that social engagement is not just about posing questions at their audiences on a frequent basis. That’s the most basic level of engagement. The goal of engagement is not just about having the customers remember your brand. More importantly, it is about ensuring that they buy into what you’re doing.

Kelsey Goeres, Social Media Associate, MyCorporation

We’ve always been big fans of content marketing and blogging with a large variety of outlets. In 2017, we’ll continue to provide quality content to our guest outlets, but we’re going to be more selective about who we contribute to. It’s important to keep ROI in mind for all facets of your business. There’s no point in pumping out multiple articles a day if they’re not earning you clicks back.”

The thought behind the quote

Kelsey, like many other expert social media marketers, is emphasizing on the goals of content creation and distribution as part of the social media marketing efforts in 2017. It’s a good idea to put a dollar value on the amount of content you are planning to create and promote. And then that amount needs to be compared with your business’ recent average of revenue generation by each new customer as a result of the content engagement. This will help you understand how much value you are driving outside your core products, services and the business functions. Purpose driven content on social media platforms will help you attain a deeper insight into your returns from the efforts on social media marketing.

Christine Jankowski, Public Relations Associate, The Agency Creates

Ditching the need to jump on every trending social media topic. Most brands feel that in order to “keep up” they need to latch on to any and every viral trend, but most times it’s unnecessary and can even be off-brand. It’s important to make sure that trends you do try to participate in are clever, unique and don’t take away from your brand’s overall voice. It’s also important to keep in mind the demographic of your audience; being too trendy can often isolate your target audience.”

The thought behind the quote

One thing is for sure, trends in social media come and go at a lightening’s speed. So, while it can be very tempting to jump to the bandwagon of any new trending topic on social media, it may end up wasting your time and resources, if you don’t plan for it. So, before you start creating the post designs for the trending topic, you should pause for a moment and ask yourself – does this trend make any sense for my business? So, like Christine suggests, if there is no new angle you could add to the trending topic or discussion on social media platform, then it’s not worth investing your time and efforts into using it for your business.

Ismael El-Qudsi, CEO, SocialPubli

As Twitter’s number of active users and level of engagement continue to decline, in 2017 I would focus marketing efforts on the real-time video platforms, including, Facebook with the Facebook Live feature, Snapchat and now Instagram with its Stories feature. This is where the authentic conversations are currently happening.

In addition to its engagement problems, Twitter has not been able to make its advertising tools work and deliver the expected results and it is currently more profitable to advertise on Facebook and Instagram.”

The thought behind the quote

What Ismael means is that the users are increasingly craving for vicarious experiences. The brands can no longer just post emotional messages in order to generate desired sentiments. Real-time video posting and sharing is the idea of the hour. The users feel like they are genuinely a part of the experience when the brand shares a live streaming video through Facebook Live, or YouTube. The engagement multiplies as the live video unfolds in the social media channels of the brand.

Katie Nail, Social Media Manager, Wingard Creative

I will be leaving Periscope behind in 2016. Facebook has integrated live streaming into their app so seamlessly, I think Periscope has become irrelevant very quickly. With Instagram releasing their “stories” in app as well, from my perspective, there is no reason to use an out-of-app program like Periscope. It’s a shame because live streaming is going to become even bigger, it could have been a game changer for Twitter.”

The thought behind the quote

Since its launch, Periscope has come a long way, but there have been many small and subtle differences in the app now from how it started originally. It has enabled the users to broadcast themselves pretty easily, without needing any fancy video recorder and production tools. Many celebrities have been quick on adopting Periscope too. But, from the brands’ perspective, it is still lags behind. Not many major promotional campaigns have taken place on the platform. It, hence, tests the patience of smart marketers like Katie, who easily could do the same using more popular platforms such as Facebook or YouTube, through their live streaming options.

Dhananjay Yadav, Head - Social & Content Marketing, Simplilearn

Over the past few years’, major Websites with high traffic have increased their rates for sponsored blog/post promotions, while the traffic generated per post within those websites has seen only marginal increase. Even bigger drawback has been the reduction of leads generated through those blogs, and the irrelevant traffic. Hence, I would be focusing more on communities and groups such as Product Hunt, Reddit Groups, Google Groups and LinkedIn Groups to generate relevant traffic and leads in the coming year.”

The thought behind the quote

Especially for those, who keep on posting on their blogs without investing much time into optimizing the blog content or doing much sharing around it, blogs are slowly losing the charm. It requires time and efforts to come up with unique and original blog posts and then promoting them to the right set of audiences. And for the small businesses and marketers, time may not be such a privilege. Also, it is relatable when Dhananjay says that blogging takes time in generating traffic and hence may not be for those who are out in the hunt for immediate boost in their visitors. Such visitors often go to social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook and participate in their groups or use online communities such as Product Hunt and Reddit Groups and LinkedIn Groups. So, in 2017, this trend might continue and the blogs may see a further decline in their popularity.

Dayne Shuda, Founder, Ghost Blog Writers

I recently just deleted Instagram from my phone. I still have the account, but heading into 2017 I’m looking at reducing the number of social media sites I use, which will now be almost entirely Twitter. In the past I’ve tried using multiple social sites, but it seems to spread time and energy too thin. I’ve always had better results with more focus so that’s the plan. I still like using Instagram. I think it’s great for certain businesses and individuals, but for me Twitter has more potential right now and that’s where I’m putting almost all of my focus.”

The thought behind the quote

Nothing communicates better and more powerfully than images. And this has been the backbone for social media websites, especially Instagram and Pinterest. Instagram, however, has lately been experiencing a decline in its popularity amongst the marketers. The platform is still quite popular among the users, but on the advent of apps like Snapchat, the social media platform might see some of its marketing and advertising users move away in 2017. The primary reason for this is the decreasing engagement rate. Over the last year or so, the overall engagement rate for this popular social media site has declined by a massive 70%. So, it is no wonder than that the savvy content marketers like Dayne are looking to concentrate their energy on the social media sites that are more fruitful and provide higher value for their money and resources.

Kayli Kunkel, Digital Marketing Manager, SparkReaction

For 2017, one of our changes will be this: Sales-focused direct messages are dead. Gone are the days when you can use automated direct messages effectively. These have saturated the market, so they’re converting at lower rates and causing people to abandon brands on social media. Instead, we suggest focusing on one-to-one conversations on social media.”

The thought behind the quote

Social selling as a concept has been adopted by many sales teams across industries. But, the most common mistakes many marketers make while trying to generate leads and find new customers from social media websites is, trying to sell. Diving in headfirst with pushy sales messages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. can be dangerous to your user engagement rate as suggested by many social media experts like Kayli. In 2017, this sell first, act later tactic would slowly fade away and develop into more meaningful relationship with the followers and users.

Andy Odom, Marketing Director, Santander Consumer USA

The social media practice I won’t carry into 2017 is not keeping the audience in mind. This might seem like obvious, like something you include with basic audience analysis or content strategy when getting started. But too often, getting the posts out becomes the job more than actually caring about engaging with your customers and audience. This is especially true with an in-house or corporate position like mine. But social media is meant to be human, and meant to be inviting for a back-and-forth, so companies must keep that in mind. So, for 2017, I’m adjusting my team’s strategy to include more of a deliberate focus on who we’re posting for, not just what and when we post.”

The thought behind the quote

Andy is absolutely right when he says that audience is at the core of any social media marketing campaign. But, the sad reality is that many brands still go ahead and use social media for promoting their products or services such as they are running a TV or radio commercial – one-way. This mind-set is slowly and steadily changing as the businesses realize the fact that there is no engagement without keeping audiences at the core of your marketing efforts on social media platforms. So in 2017, audiences will increasingly become the #1 social media strategy for the marketers and brands alike.

Gabrielle Tamborski, Acting Director, Social Media, Active Web Group

Text and images will drive less social engagement in 2017 and beyond. Cisco’s Visual Networking IndexTM forecasts that video will account for 69% of online consumer traffic in 2017. Here’s the kicker- virtually no businesses are utilizing this about to explode tactic. Right now it is poised where mobile users were five short years ago. So retire only using text and images and be at the forefront and reap the benefits of this coming trend.”

The thought behind the quote

Gabrielle is not alone when she says that video is more powerful than texts and images on social media websites. In fact, studies show that over 7 people in 10 prefer videos over text when composing their social media strategy. The users are more likely to share the posts with short videos or animated gifs / memes rather than plain on’ text and image posts. People tend to engage more quickly to video posts than normal text and image posts. Look at any much-talked-about-viral-video-campaign, and you will understand why. So, in 2017, an increasing number of marketers will see an increase in the use of video as part of their social media content strategy and a decrease in the use of text and image posts.

Graham Seymour, Founder and Executive Consultant, The Seymour Group

One practice that I feel is starting to phase out is the use of trend-based automated posting of third party content. The name of the game lately is very much “targeting”, and either using proprietary content or manually selecting shareable content is driving better engagement metrics from my side. In the past, clients were very happy to put much of the social ops on autopilot, but as the signal-to-noise ratio grows in the social feeds of the groups they market to, personalization and a human touch is becoming more and more valuable. I’m seeing significantly improved ROI from hiring good copywriters to draft branded content vs sharing tangentially related but “trending” articles and content.”

The thought behind the quote

Much of the posting on social media platforms, whether it’s a text-based platform like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn or image based platform like Instagram and Pinterest or a video platform like YouTube and Snapchat and Vimeo, there goes a deliberate thinking into posting any content thereon. While it’s a good idea to jump into the trending topic and cash in on the already available popularity, but only if it is relevant to your business. Otherwise the bandwagon effect may work against your engagement and end up irritating your users like a spammy webpage. Many expert social media pros like Graham suggest that social media is not a sprint. It is more of a marathon, which requires thinking and strategizing. Often when auto-posting the trending topics, mistakes are bound to happen. You may come across to your follower base as a broken record. So, while auto posting may seem like an easy alternative, savvy marketers would part ways with it slowly as they venture into 2017.

Blair Nicole Nastasi, CEO, Media Moguls PR

My insights on social media trends to ditch in 2017, “In 2017, the big thing in social media will be that less is more. Research shows that 90% of marketers get positive results with just 6 hours of social media marketing per week. Anything above that is overkill. So in 2017, the key is to maximize your influence during those 6 hours spent on social media per week, and take the rest of your time to focus on other marketing channels.”

The thought behind the quote

Blair is absolutely right! This is especially true when the patience level of the audiences with the textual posts is deteriorating owing to the rise of video content and micro blogging sites like Twitter. In fact, users prefer short and even perishable snaps on Snap chat than longer form content on Facebook or LinkedIn. The longer posts are still very much relevant, but only if you have a story to share which is compelling enough for your audiences. With the decreasing attention span of the social media users, in 2017 the plan should be to add to their experience by providing them with shorter and more meaningful posts.

Sean Martin, Content Marketing Manager, Directive Consulting

In terms of what to ditch in 2017, I actually wouldn’t dare touch my list of social campaigns. The social media world is only growing more diverse and pervasive as the post-digital marketing world grows. Instead, consider dropping Yahoo as a primary search engine you focus your SEO efforts on. Google still controls about 64% of the market share while Bing has leaped up to 22%. That just doesn’t leave a lot of market share for Yahoo anymore. So consider ditching it and spending your time and money elsewhere.”

The thought behind the quote

What Sean’s quote could indicate here is that the behavior of the online customers is now slowly evolving. No longer do they see search and social media as two separate entities. And as customers change, so too the social media marketers. The line of difference between social and search is getting blurred out eventually. Hence, merging these two vastly popular streams of online promotions together is more important in 2017 than ever. So, the idea is to give up on platform specific gimmicks and providing a unified experience to the customers across social and search platforms.

J. Colin, CEO, J - I.T. Outsource

Hashtags.#NotUsingSoMuch They’re great for events or chats when you’ve got a group of people who want to have a conversation or find each other. Or sometimes they’re just fun to use as a way to express an idea that’s too complex for an emoji (#FirstWorldProblems). But as a marketing tool, to promote your services? Or as a way to “newsjack” a trending hashtag? Not so much. Especially for a service like ours that has a very long sales cycle rather than being an impulse purchase”

The thought behind the quote

We like his pun in the quote about the decreasing popularity of hashtag usage on major social media platforms. The users’ preferences are fast changing over how they include or want to see hashtags in the posts. The hashtags won’t disappear in 2017 but there surely will be a decline in the usage if their relevance to the brand’s strategy is declining. But using hashtags as a way to get on the trending topic bandwagon is surely fading away in 2017.

Deena Anreise, Marketing Manager, Prialto

Stay away from the idea of “going viral”, since having a one-hit wonder won’t sustain your long-term social media strategy. There’s just no long-term visibility or shareability in attempting to be viral with your content. Instead, make sure all posts on social media are aligned with your brand/company messaging. If you’re selling consulting services to venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, don’t fill your feeds with silly memes of puppies, babies, or political figures. Stay focused, and always ask yourself if the content you are posting is of use/helpful to your target market (buyer persona(s). Err toward the benign and helpful rather than content that will divide current clients and future prospects. For instance, don’t be overly political, and never be contemptuous, since you never know whose valuable feathers you could be ruffling or how far down the line that ruffle will impede your business growth. Don’t post random off-topic materials, whether they are shares from your network, your industry, or created by you. These posts won’t move the needle. Stay SMART and aligned with both your buyer persona(s) and buyer’s journey, and you will garner the shares, likes, conversation, and social proof that will build your brand and move it forward.”

The thought behind the quote

As Deena right suggests, going viral isn’t an effective social media strategy. It’s probably pushing yourself too much. Instead, the focus should be on creating content that matters to your target audience and they find it meaningful in the long run. Going viral is a natural process. It’s just about being in the right place at the right time with the right type of content catered to the right people. So, not every brand can have a ‘Dunk in the dark’ impact or a ‘puppy monkey baby’ moment. In 2017, aim for becoming more authentic, helpful, original and friendly and you will be rewarded in the long run. Don’t try too hard. Focus on your content strategy!

Dave Macdonald, Founder, SocialXpresso

Cut picture quotes from the content strategy. Apps like Adobe Spark, Canva and Lumyer have made producing picture quotes so easy they are quickly becoming the most prevalent social media SPAM online. Don’t get me wrong, we love the aforementioned apps but feel it’s time people use a little more creativity.”

The thought behind the quote

Yes, people always look for motivation and inspiration in the fast-paced lives. But, that doesn’t mean that every other message they read should be a life-altering quote. If you have too many picture quote posts in your social media content strategy, then you would end up boring your audience. Hence, your focus should be on creating a wide variety of content posts including multiple categories rather than just focusing on quotes in order to generate more likes and shares. As Dave puts it, “Cut [short] picture quotes from the content strategy…”

Michael Lorenzos, Digital Marketing Expert, Kurve

What I’m not going to do in 2017 is “use influencers”; instead, I’m going to align with influencers, my segment influencers, the ones that will truly provide value to my strategy in a 6-12 month process, not just for holidays or special events, when the likes and loves go up on all social channels leading to gaps and question marks at the end of a campaign.”

A big thanks to all the experts who contributed to this post. Which social media practice do you think you will ditch in 2017?

We’re all ears to know your thoughts, predictions and strategies for 2017 and beyond. Feel free to post a comment below.

The thought behind the quote

Are you wondering why isn’t influencer marketing as impactful for your brand as it should have been despite all the outreach attempts? While getting started with influencer marketing can be troubling, being persistent and true-to-the-nature of affiliation is also demanding. As suggested by Michael, it’s not about how many influencers can you connect with, it is about how to development a meaningful mutual relationship by carrying out a careful analysis of the influencers’ follower base. Done right, influencer-led social media marketing delivers real value. It generates and shares authentic stories. It helps produce and disseminate content that attracts and retains audiences across social media platforms. So, in 2017, aim for engaging with the right influencers and providing positive experiences to your followers with the right messaging strategy.