Social media has transformed the architecture of business and entertainment as we know it. Just like technology, it evolves every day that keeping up with it seems impossible. However, social media’s presence becomes more and more ubiquitous that social marketing is becoming a crucial part of businesses. It is then essential to anticipate and play with these trends as they’re happening. Doing so can get you a head start to reach more audience that can give you and your business that success.
There are many players in the social media scene, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Reddit just to name a few of the giants. And according to Statista, there are about 2.46 billion social media users in 2017. This number is projected to cross the 2.7 billion mark by 2019 with the increased number of users. The rise of both social media users and platforms will bring about major facelifts these coming years. So whether you’re a business owner looking for social media presence or just a passive Facebook browser, below are the top social media trends that can guide you in 2018.
1. Rise in Social Media Video
From pre-recorded video to live streaming, video content has been growing popular over the years and will continue to do so in the coming years. Video popularity is evident with Instagram Stories raking in 200 million users just a year from its launch. The successful launch of Facebook Watch and Live further supports this. Even LinkedIn has been adding video to their business platform and is planning to roll out video advertisements.
As videos have been shown to bring in higher engagement from the audience, it is becoming a valuable format for brands’ social media marketing strategy- especially mobile video. Having the ability to tie video to your written content, repurpose and repost it on other platforms will be a critical strategy in 2018.
2. Focus on Generation Z
Generation Z makes up nearly 26 percent of the population and is steadily growing. As Gen Z are starting to enter the labor force and increase their buying power, it’s no question that social marketing will shift more of their focus on them. A study conducted by Goldman Sachs showed that for most organizations, Gen Z are more valuable than millennials.
Just like with millennials, social media needs to discover how to build trust and loyalty with Gen Zs. This shift will see significant investment on Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms loved by the Generation Z.
3. Content personalization
You might have experienced unsubscribing from an email subscription because of getting too many emails, not of your interests. Or you scrolled past your news feed content since that topic doesn’t concern you. Well, a robust content personalization might just stop you from clicking that unsubscribe button in the future. This might also make you stop, read and comment on that news the next time you’re scrolling through your social media feed.
Business and marketers continue to acknowledge the importance of content that connects with their audience and consumers. Content personalization means delivering content not just to anyone but a particular engaged audience. And as personalization is becoming a trend in content marketing, social media platforms will ramp up their analytics tools to cater to this need and become more valuable to brands.
4. Brand participation in Social Media Messaging Platform
Other than content personalization, brands will aim to come close and personal with their audience. And as over 2.5 billion users are in messaging platforms globally, brands will not pass the chance to utilize this to connect with their consumers.
This 2018, expect brands to invest more time and money on Messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik. This personal shopping experience will be made possible by chatbots, voice assistants, and artificial intelligence. Engaging in the social media platform will also mean faster and easier customer service, a win-win situation for both consumers and businesses.
5. Higher investment in influencer marketing
In the digital world, influencers can be anyone. Everyone has the power to convey a message and influence an audience. This 2018, you might be able to see more of your favorite YouTubers promoting a brand or becoming brand ambassadors.
A report shows that 90 percent of marketers who use influencer marketing strategy believe it is successful. More and more brands like North Face and Rolex are using this approach to connect and build with their audiences. This year, expect brands to adapt influencer marketing to tap markets that tend to ignore traditional strategies.
6. Rise of social virtual reality and augmented reality
This year, expect social media platforms to evolve past 2D with the introduction of Facebook Spaces. Facebook Spaces lets users connect through virtual reality using Facebook’s very own Oculus Rift. This will provide an immersive, more engaging experience for the users.
This can also be a game changer for brands. Instead of having a physical store, virtual reality can deliver a fully-equipped shopping experience to consumers just on their phones. And social media platforms are an excellent way to start this.
Augmented reality will also take video to the next level this 2018, from Snapchat’s dancing hot dog with 1.5 billion views to how BMW’s X2 will look like in your garage. It’s worth investing in such technology as smartphones incorporate new features and give the ability to support augmented reality. This will open up opportunities for brands to provide unique and immersive experiences for the user.
7. Rethinking major social media
As social media competition grows fiercer each year, some social media platforms will rethink how they operate to keep up with the competition.
Twitter will likely have a significant revamp after it failed to increase its followers and lost its access to streaming NFL games to Amazon in 2017. Snapchat will redesign its interface as it remained stagnant and Instagram continuously innovate. Instagram, after the success of its Stories, will ready itself as it’s becoming a top choice for brands.
LinkedIn has been improving their platform from the old and boring interface to a more interactive place for professionals to create. As its users will skyrocket, LinkedIn will rethink its advertising platform as more advertisers will enter.
8. Marketers will focus more on authenticated data
2018, won’t be based on the number of times you click, but on the amount of time you spent on each video. Marketers are finding more ways to engage their audience through personal contents.
Social media analytics tools will discover more ways to acquire authenticated data to collect accurate information and understand the audience. This means measuring the time spent by users on a video, counting the reactions on a post, analyzing the comments and not relying solely on the view counts.
9. Rising Ad Costs
Social media advertising costs are rising. Facebook ads price has doubled over the years with an increase in demand. Not only on Facebook, but Instagram and other social media platforms that are gaining popularity with users are going to have ad cost skyrocketing in the coming years.
With this rise in ad costs, it will be a good idea for you to invest in social media ads now to gain exposure and build audiences for your business, particularly email subscribers.
10. Social media reviews will be of crucial importance for businesses
Customer reviews on business’ social media accounts are a powerful tool that can affect how users perceive your business. Social media reviews are like word-of-mouth advertising but done digitally. It was shown that 80% of customers take reviews just like personal recommendations, especially if it is from friends and family.
As early as now, it would be best to manage your business’ social media account. Collect, share and boost positive reviews. Manage your page like your bank account so that you can control what users can see to attract potential customers.
11. Stronger governance policies
Due to their inability to control fake and offensive content on their feed, social media platforms have received, a stronger governance policy which will likely be high on their to-do list this 2018.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter focus on creating stronger policies to regulate and monitor the conduct of the audience on their respective platforms. With thousands of social media users every day and realizing that manual fact-checking won’t do, social media platforms have been finding other ways to handle these fake news. Recently, Facebook has been using artificial intelligence to detect nudity, violence, and anything that were against their policies, and continues to do so.
This year, it would be interesting to see what other platforms can come up with to strengthen their governance policies.
Social media gives so many opportunities for marketers to understand their audience, create and distribute better content, and generate a following for their brands. But these platforms are continuously evolving. And just like everything, social media trends come and go. It is important to be ahead to take advantage of the opportunities that social media can offer and stay on top of the game.