It’s been an alarming start to the year, full of ranting and strong views on shocking news.  Increasing numbers of people are regularly sharing their personal opinions and social media continues to implement features allowing people to do so in new ways.

Global fury and a new openness to share opinions and react in real time is taking effect on everything we do.  2017 is set to be the year of live, real-time video storytelling, as shown by Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘ Why don’t we switch jobs’ video response to Trump.  Sharing unfiltered opinions is becoming the norm, as shown by Trump’s twitter feed and social media are catering to this, with the rise of stories on both Instagram and Facebook.

What’s Happened So Far?

A lot – and we’re only just in February. The prediction that live video would enormously increase is already being confirmed:

On January 17th, Instagram launched its live feature, where video streams disappear as soon as they end. It works as part of the story feature, which Instagram launched last year. With reportedly over 150m daily users, the platform is already looking to monetise the feature, incorporating ads in between stories, in a similar way to snapchat.

Pushing to monetise the new feature is a bold move, but as TechCrunch explains: “Clearly Instagram views the growth of its stories as strong enough to endure any drop-off in usage that ads cause.”And Emarketer predicts “Instagram stories could generate $3.64bn ad revenue this year.”

Facebook is also following the live video trend. It’s currently at the testing stage of their story feature and is only available to users in Ireland. (If you’re wondering why Ireland, it seems to be a reliable testing ground for Facebook. They previously trialled an alternative to the thumbs up emoji before releasing it worldwide based on the Irish user’s feedback.)

Live video is definitely kicking off in 2017.

New Opportunities For Intimacy

“Businesses are seeing the opportunity of stories as a new layer of intimacy that is raw and unfiltered. It’s a new way to deepen a relationship between a business and a person.” James Quarles, Instagram’s VP of business.

The story feature offers the ability to share immediate and intimate content while providing a new way to promote businesses through short form video. From what we’ve seen already, the story feature looks like a promising new tool for marketers to add to their arsenal.

Three-quarters of Instagram users follow a business on the app and one in five stories receive a direct message from a viewer. Mulberry UK reports, their stories with links gained five times more clicks compared to average across social media channels. (Forbes)

We already know audiences respond extremely well to visual content (compared to text) and there is a greater demand for intimacy with customers,  so use of social media video is likely to explode.

Unfiltered Views

The ability to instantly share raw and unedited videos, whether that be short-form stories or live streams on both Facebook and Instagram, reflects audiences demands for what’s real. It’s another reason why many believe 2017 is going to be a prosperous year for live video.

It’s all about sharing your story, with attitude…

But don’t be afraid to be honest, your content should be a bold representation of what you truly offer. Customers don’t want corporate fluff, the world throws contentious headlines at us every day. So show personality and humour in videos, connect with the deeper issues that people can relate to.

It’s refreshing for customers to hear real insights. You need to go beyond self-promotion, offer something, become relevant and engaging, which social media is allowing us to do more than ever before.

It’s an exciting start to 2017, and it’ll be interesting to see how these tools develop over the rest of the year.