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5 Social Media Trends Sweeping 2017

Social media is no longer just about building communities and interacting—it's emerged as a core business strategy and critical channel for acquiring customers. Social media trends are continuously evolving, however, and what worked last year might not work today. Are you looking to engage your audience, improve your customer service and sell your product? Consider these five trends that have been sweeping 2017.

1. Social isn't just for the young anymore.

We have to be careful about making the distinction between "young" and "old" here ... but eMarketer reported that 54.1 percent of U.S. social media users will be at least 35 years old by 2020. Sites still have different audiences, but 53 percent of U.S. users on Facebook are at least 35, and 45 percent of Twitter users are now 35 or older.

Instagram and Snapchat still appeal to younger audiences: 69 percent of Instagram users—and a whopping 82 percent of Snapchat users—are under 35. Both of these platforms are expected to age by 2020.

2. Social media can impact a buyer's impression.

Sprout Social discovered that 57 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media, and an additional 75 percent have made a purchase because they saw it on social media.

3. The need for quality and engaging content has never been greater.

According to Sprout Social, paid content is growing faster every quarter—partially because social media algorithms make it harder for businesses to promote organic content, and nearly every major social network uses some sort of content preferential treatment. Whether content is paid or organic, the need for quality and engaging content has never been greater.

4. The camera is the new keyboard.

Text-based content will stick around, but video is staging a social media coup. Snapchat has been video-oriented from the start, several platforms now offer live streaming, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said it before and will say it again: He intends to transform Facebook to a video-first platform.

5. Customers like to chat.

According to the Sprout Social, the average number of social messages needing a response grows by 18 percent each year. The answer? Chatbots.

Chatbots can increase communication and reduce response times to social messages in need of an answer. Platforms like Facebook Messenger use chatbots, wherein businesses can communicate with customers, answer FAQs and provide immediate information on a product or service.

Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.

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