Trying to predict the social media marketing trends that will come to define the next 12 months isn’t an easy task – if 2016 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected!

That’s not to say that analysts and commentators haven’t been busy this month, working hard to identify the developments which may make the biggest impression in the year ahead.

These features abound with details of efforts to make social media a more personal experience – never easy when the number of active users continues to soar – and the fact that more and more people are turning to social media as their main source of news.

If there is one prediction that has something approaching a consensus, it’s that video is growing in importance all the time and the value of clips is likely to increase still further in 2017.

As the number of users grows, more and more content is pouring into Twitter feeds and timelines and it is imperative that businesses do all they can to grab the attention of both existing and potential clients.

Video is regarded as one of the most effective ways of getting someone’s interest, particularly since recent Microsoft research has indicated that the average person’s attention span is around eight seconds!

Facebook in particular is already seeing a fair amount of footage posted and it’s expected that more businesses are likely to take advantage of the “live” feature, streaming seminars, conference speeches or other important events direct to the site.

As always, it’s important that video content is carefully selected, with businesses needing to identify footage which is interesting and relevant to their base. The fact remains that whether you’re dealing with words, photos or moving pictures, many of the same rules apply.

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