So what are the social media trends shaping 2017?

How will they affect your business and marketing strategy?

There are over 2.5 billion active social media users worldwide and the number is growing at a rate near double digits a year. The advertising spend is rising even faster. According to Advertising Age, social media spend grew 55% to $10.9 billion, up from the previous year’s $7 billion.

It’s clear now that social media marketing is here to stay, and its massive staying power is attributable to one key characteristic—the fact that social media keeps evolving. It responds to new tech like mobile devices, constantly exceeds users’ expectations, and competes within itself to bring us more and better features.

1. Live Video

Although there have been strides in the streaming space (FB Live, YouTube Live, Periscope Pro) we are still in the infant stages. A new study by market research firms Focus Vision and Zanthus found that a whopping 41% of pay TV subscribers (cable, satellite, etc.) are planning to either cut back on or sever completely their subscriptions in the near future. Those viewers are moving from TV to social/digital.

Networks and content providers will have no choice but to move to where the eyeballs are. According to David Brickley, CEO and cofounder of STN Digital, “You better have a FB Live strategy or you’ll be left behind. If you already have a great following on Instagram, and you don’t have an Instagram Stories strategy, its time to pounce while its hot.”

Last year saw a monumental shift in live streaming video.

No longer inaccessible, live streaming was democratized. From Periscope to Facebook Live, streaming was open source.

And the enthusiasm around it has only continued to pick up steam. Sure, it’s had its ups and downs and fair share of failures.

But within those moments rose a platform and medium made for marketing. Oh the potential.

Live streaming will change social media as we know it.

It’s easy to see where we’re headed. Especially when you look at the steady decline traditional TV viewing has seen.

Q2 traditional TV viewing by 18 to 24-year-olds dropped by more than 9 hours per week, or by more than one-and-a-quarter hours per day.

Meanwhile, live streaming continues to soar.

Just take a look at how NASA is using it. Their live stream lets you watch Earth from the International Space Station 24/7.. And believe it or not, an average of 3,000 people around the world watch it at any given time.

So what benefits does live streaming offer your business?

Benefits include:

  • More authentic interaction with your audience
  • Brings a human element to digital marketing
  • Creates a library of content that can be viewed or repurposed later
  • Facilitates learning from real-time audience feedback
  • Product story communication directly from product experts (source: BrandLive)

Many companies are adding video to their marketing campaigns because it offers a relational perspective into the company and helps explain concepts in a simpler way than words or pictures.

What live streaming channel should you choose?

Although Facebook Live is still the most popular live video channel, other brands are rising in the ranks.


So how do you harness this technology for your company?

Don’t stress – it doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a video production company.

If you want to do things simply, you can stream a short video to a site like Facebook or YouTube using your phone. Or you can use a video host like Ustream or Lifestream.

The benefit to a host is that you can embed the stream on your own website, pulling traffic there exclusively. Otherwise, your customers will stay on another site like YouTube instead of going to yours.


Research conducted by Goldman Sachs forecasts that, by 2025, virtual and augmented realities will become an $80-billion market. That’s just eight years from now! Is it time for your company to invest? Brands across a wide range of industries — from entertainment to education to online shopping — are using virtual technologies to create deeper, more meaningful interactions with customers and enhancing their experiences.

What do virtual and augmented realities bring to the table, and what should brands be thinking about when considering these new technologies?


But think about what happened this year. For a while, you could barely walk down the street without someone bumping into you while they tried to catch a Rattata. Pokémon Go introduced a lot of people to AR, and it showed that there is mass appeal for it when it is executed well. Several VR sets went on sale and generated hype, although they don’t seem to have that killer app yet.

We didn’t see much VR in 2016, although we certainly heard a lot about it. Most of the content came in the form of 360 VR Videos, uploaded on YouTube and FB. “It’s definitely the future. It’s not convenient enough for consumers yet, and wearing a huge headset in your living room daily won’t scale.

However, it’s the future and a space that will only continue to grow.”

Users Will Crave More Vicarious Experiences.

People are also starting to demand social media as a conduit for more vicarious experiences. It’s no longer enough to post your sentiments about an event; you have to show your users what it’s like to be there. You can do this with things like live video, 360 images and video, and even just more real-time posting. The idea is to make your users feel like they’re a genuine part of the experience, as it’s unfolding.


Despite the continued hype around social media, retailers are still figuring out how to best drive sustainable e-commerce purchases via social media. In 2015, we saw major developments including Pinterest’s launch of the “Buy it” button and Instagram’s expanded ad program. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube also made their sites and apps more eCommerce-friendly with the addition of new buy buttons.

While social commerce may still only drive a small fraction of retail sales, small businesses can’t ignore its impact. According to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500 report, the top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping in 2014, a 26 percent increase over 2013, well ahead of the average 16 percent growth rate for eCommerce. Analysts predict the jump in 2016 may be even greater. Keep a close eye on these three platforms.


The social media behemoth continues to innovate the social media commerce and ad-targeting space. Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Facebook rolled out a new targeting platform that lets brands zero in on users who are highly engaged with shopping, including during the coveted Black Friday to Cyber Monday period.

Instagram advertising, which is closely linked to Facebook’s platform, is also offering the same targeting options. The new audience segment can be accessed through Facebook’s self-service ad dashboard; go to the “Seasonal and Events” category and then select the “Behaviors” section.


Organic visibility has been declining for a while now, as platforms try catering to individual users over companies and organizations. But the secondary benefit for social platforms is that it forces more companies to dabble in paid advertising. Increased competition and pressure to become (or remain) profitable have also forced social platforms to come up with more ingenious and creative advertising options for businesses.

Social Advertising will continue to rise with even more options for advertisers. Social media advertising is projected to generate $11 billion in revenue by 2017, up from just $6.1 billion in 2013. More social networks and apps will expand their advertising offerings, just look at Snapchat now inserting ads in between users’ “Stories” and Snapchat Partners, API access that will provide access to creating custom buying and management tools.

There’s no getting around the requirement for paid amplification with content on social networks. More importantly, with Facebook’s continued efforts at putting the focus on individuals over brands, companies need to think about the collective social wisdom of their employees and community for distribution vs. simply publishing on the brand social home base.

The combination of these factors may lead to a new resurgence in social media advertising in 2017.


Every year, new social media platforms emerge to try and disrupt the status quo or find their place among the heavy-hitters of the social media world. But obviously, entrepreneurs and marketers can’t jump on every single platform that comes along.

Instead, in 2017, we’ll see more of a trend toward refinement; rather than spending equal effort on five different platforms, more businesses will find one platform that works especially well for them, and narrow their focus on it. As a result, we may see greater stratification between the major platforms of our era.

These are some of the most important trends I forecast for social media in 2017. It’s going to remain a strong branch for any content or SEO strategy, and is a must-have for any business attempting to market themselves on a frugal budget.

You don’t have to incorporate all these trends into your strategy for the coming year, but there’s a good chance you’ll stand to benefit from at least dabbling and experimenting with them.


“Quality content” is far more than just a buzzword marketers throw around for fun.

It’s what savvy marketers strive for, and what Google and people look for. It’s what separates the winners from the losers online; it’s what will help your site rank well in the search engines, what will naturally attract high-quality inbound links, and what will help you build trust, credibility, and authority with your audience. And yet, many business owners still aren’t aware of what “high-quality content” actually means.


I’m consistently asked by my clients, “How do I know if my content is high-quality?”

  • Are You Using the Appropriate Length of Content? 

We know that Google certainly shows a preference for long form, ‘meaty’ content that covers all aspects of a topic.

When creating content, focus on your goals and on the intent of your audience: If you want the content to rank highly in the search engines and to attract links, go for longer, 1000+ word content. If you want your content to be easily accessible to mobile users, cut out anything unnecessary and format your content so mobile users can get the information they need, fast. Some ways to do this include using a lower word count, focusing on long-tail keywords that mobile users would be more likely to search for, the proper use of headings, bullet points, lists, and linking to other mobile-friendly content.

  • Are You Supplementing with Images, Video Embeds, Infographics or Other Media?
  • Are You Using Proper Grammar and Spelling, and is Your Content Coherent?
  • Are You Using Proper Page and Text Formatting?
  • Does the Content Have Social Media Shares?
  • Does it Have Good Internal and External Links?
  • Does the Content Provide Value?While it’s difficult for search engines to determine whether content provides value, it is, ultimately, the only thing that matters for human readers. Value can be derived in a number of different ways, but the most common include:
    • Does this content solve a problem?
    • Does it answer a question?
    • Does it provide entertainment?
    • Does it make people laugh?
    • Does it provide unique, expert insight?


Businesses and Individuals are getting back to the WHY?

Do you know your company’s “why”? (Hint: It’s not to make money). Think about the core purpose of your business, and then think about how you market your products or services. Are they aligned? As Sinek has found, having loyal customers is all about attracting the people who share your fundamental beliefs. Remember: People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

Yes, this might seem obvious, but it’s a critical step that is often overlooked. If you were (or are) the founder of your business, wouldn’t you want the people marketing it to know why you started it in the first place? Understanding “why” is essential to knowing how to communicate “how” and “what” you do.

According to Simon Sinek, the fundamental difference between the “Apples” of the world and everyone else is that they start with “why.”

What does that even mean? To explain this concept, Sinek has developed what he calls the “Golden Circle,” image pictured right. The golden circle has three layers:

  1. Why – This is the core belief of the business. It’s why the business exists.
  2. How – This is how the business fulfills that core belief.
  3. What – This is what the company does to fulfill that core belief.

Sounds simple, but what Sinek found is that most companies do their marketing backwards. They start with their “what” and then move to “how” they do it. Most of these companies neglect to even mention why they do what they do. More alarmingly, many of them don’t even know why they do what they do!

Not Apple. Apple starts with “why.” It is the core of their marketing and the driving force behind their business operations. To help illustrate this point, imagine if Apple also started backwards by creating a marketing message that started with “what.”

“We make great computers. They’re user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”

Redefine your Buyer Personas

I’ll say it again: People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! |PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!



Think about the mood you are now in. Can you identify it?

What are you feeling?

How would you describe your present mental state?

“The man who succeeds above his fellows is the one who early in life clearly discerns his object, and towards that object habitually directs his powers.” – (Edward George Bulwer-Lytton)

Abraham Maslow, the psychologist, once wrote, “The ultimate end of human life is to become everything you are capable of becoming.” Your purpose should be to fulfill your potential as a human being and to accomplish every goal that you can possibly set for yourself. Your aim should be to get the very most out of yourself in every area of your life.

There are some people who accomplish an extraordinary amount with their lives, as opposed to the great majority who accomplish very little. These peak performers or self-actualizers seem to earn more money, have better families, friends and relationships, enjoy higher levels of health and energy, achieve much higher levels of success, esteem and prestige in their fields, and live longer, happier lives than the average.

This should be your goal as well.


” I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” – Henry David Thoreau

The most basic habit of a highly effective person in any environment, the habit of proactivity.

It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions!

Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility is key and a choice. They do not blame:

  • Circumstances
  • Conditions
  • or conditioning for their behavior

Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.

Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t it affects their attitude and their performance.

Reactive People

Are affected by their social environment, by the “social weather.”

When people treat them well, they feel well, when people don’t, they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.

Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment.

Proactive People

Driven by values, carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, whether physical, social, or psychological. However, their response to the stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response.

It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.

We are responsible for our own effectiveness, for our own happiness, and ultimately I would say, for most of our circumstances. Knowing that we are responsible is fundamental to effectiveness and to every other habit of effectiveness.  


Question 1: What one thing could you do (you aren’t doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous difference in your personal life?

Question 2: What one thing in your business or professional life would bring about similar results?

Habit says…You’re the creator, You are in charge.

  • Imagination
  • Conscience
  • Independent will
  • Self Awareness

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Goethe

Organize and Execute around Priorities



Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us; they insist we take action They’re usually right in front of us. They are popular with others.

Often they are pleasant, easy, fun to do,. But so often they are unimportant!


Importance, on the other hand has to do with results. If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals.

We react to urgent matters. Important matters that are not urgent require more initiative, more proactivity.

We must act to seize opportunity, to make things happen. Effective people are not problem minded, they are opportunity minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.

We say “yes” or “no” to things daily, usually many times a day.

Ask yourself this question: If you were to fault yourself in one of three areas, which would it be:

  1. The inability to prioritize.
  2. The inability or desire to organize around those priorities, or
  3. The lack of discipline to execute around them, to stay with your priorities and organization?

Not Important

Many people spend too much time with the unimportant.

Activities such as:

  • Busy work
  • Trivia
  • Gossip
  • Some meetings
  • Pleasing activities
  • Some email
  • Some Social Media

These are usually not important nor urgent. Do they take you to where you want to go?

Perhaps the most important habit you can develop in personal effectiveness is the habit of asking,

“What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?”

There is always an answer to this question, for every minute and every hour. Your ability to accurately ask and answer this question is the key to high performance, maximum productivity, personal effectiveness and great success.


The Pareto Principle is very simple, yet very important. It is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who, in 1906, found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

What was most important about Pareto’s finding was that this 80/20 distribution occurs extremely frequently. For example, in general, 20% of your customers represent 80% of your sales. And 20% of your time produces 80% of your results. And so on.


The Pareto Principle, or “80/20 Rule” as it is frequently called today, is an incredible tool for growing your business. For instance, if you can figure out which 20% of your time produces 80% of your business’ results, you can spend more time on those activities and less time on others. Likewise, by identifying the characteristics of the top 20% of your customers (who represent 80% of your sales), you can find more customers like them and dramatically grow your sales and profits.

Develop the habit of applying the 80/20 Rule to everything you do.

In any list of ten items, two of those items will be worth all the others put together.

Make a habit of applying the 80/20 Rule to every part of your business and personal life. Keep focused on doing the 20% of items or tasks that are worth several times the value of the other tasks, but which take the same amount of time.

Most people allocate their time across the number of items they have to do. But highly productive people allocate their times based on the value of each task or activity.

You should do the same.

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! |PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!



6 Strategy Tips_Prepare1 Image

Have you thought about your strategy for 2017?

Do you know what it should be?

Is it compelling?

Time moves quickly and waits for no one. You’ll blink and New Years will be upon you. Now is a great time to start thinking and planning for next year. Some business owners and career professionals I know work to have this done by Mid November or the latest by Thanksgiving.

As Zig Ziglar would say…Are you a wondering generality or a meaningful specific?

As a business owner, you’ve probably noticed many of the core business ideas and strategies stay the same year after year. However, throughout the last couple of years technology, social media and a surplus of information has changed the landscape for businesses. We can now reach our audience in essentially every corner of the world, anytime we want.


And, we not only have the resources to connect with our audience, we also have the means to create personalized content for them.

Because of how quickly technology and information spreads it’s more important than ever to make sure you stay up-to-date on the [Continue Reading…]


3 Powerful Conditions That Affect Personal Change

by Blair Evan Ball November 3, 2016

Would you like to change some circumstance in your life? How about your business or career? Or does change bring about fear? All change is from the Inner to the Outer. If you can run a losing race without blaming your loss on someone else, you have bright prospects of success further down the road […]

Read the full article →

Why Your Business Needs to Be On Instagram (Infographic)

by Blair Evan Ball October 27, 2016

 Have you discovered Instagram yet? Did you realize business growth on Instagram is exploding? Is it right for me and my business? What is Instagram? Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing app and social network that was created in 2010 by founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. In 2012, Facebook purchased the service for $1 billion, […]

Read the full article →

The 7 Emotions That Make Your Content Contagious

by Blair Evan Ball October 13, 2016

What makes content go viral? It’s a tough question, but when you look around, there’s some people who are able to craft contagious content every single time. What’s their secret? Do they know something you don’t? The answer is Yes! They do! 3 KEYS TO BUZZ Walt Disney World. Say those words to children under […]

Read the full article →

6 Insider Tips to Increase Your Brand Awareness

by Blair Evan Ball October 6, 2016

What do politicians, advertisers, charity organizations and public health officials all have in common? They all want their message to catch on and spread. But how to achieve this? Advertising is the immediate answer, of course. You can’t get your message to spread unless you put it out there. But more and more it’s becoming clear […]

Read the full article →

How to Remain Positive in a Negative World

by Blair Evan Ball September 20, 2016

  Have you ever been around negative people? Do they make you feel better? or drag you down? Success in life and business is a matter of never-ceasing application. You must forever work at it diligently in today’s business climate. Otherwise it takes wings and flies away. At no time can you afford to rest […]

Read the full article →

3 Types of Content That Will Drive You More Traffic

by Blair Evan Ball September 15, 2016

How much content have you produced in the last week? Last Month? Are you pleased with your consistency and results? If you’re not “all in” with your content marketing program, you should stop. Or as Yoda told Luke Skywalker, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Be all in or get all out. There is […]

Read the full article →

How to Use The New LinkedIn Publisher

by Blair Evan Ball September 8, 2016

Have you published on LinkedIn? Do you want to become a thought leader in your industry? Would you like people to be drawn to you? LinkedIn Publisher recently rolled out a new design for it’s publishing platform. Not all browsers are working correctly for everyone. So be patient! Right! LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform is an ideal […]

Read the full article →