In the coming year, marketing leaders expect to spend most of their time on social media, and as a result, social media budgets will expand. What is important for the success of these soon to be expanded budgets is understanding consumers’ point-of-view – they want consistent brand messaging and intuitive interactions whenever they encounter a brand or are considering making purchases.
What these changes mean for social media marketing professionals is – adaptation, improvisation, and going with the flow of the new social media trends. Although, more often than not these “new” trends are just the continuation of the already established notions from previous years.
Let’s take a look at what 2018 might have in store for us!
Videos, Stories and Live Streams Are Booming
A picture is worth a thousand words, and according to the estimates of a digital marketing expert James McQuivey, a single minute of video content is the equivalent of 1.8 million words.
It is no surprise that it continues to dominate social media platforms, since videos have been shown to elicit higher engagement, including more likes, retweets, comments, and shares. Video streaming is on its track to represent 75% of all internet traffic in 2017 and it is showing no signs it will slow down in 2018.
There is a certain type of video content which popularity is skyrocketing, and those are the famed Stories. Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, and If we add 150 million more of those who use Snapchat, we have a significant number which should not be ignored.
This ephemeral, short-lived content with pictures and videos allow your brand to engage audiences from a new perspective. The content is gone within hours, so it increases FOMO (fear of missing out) with potential customers, and as a result, audiences take faster action, pleasing marketers.
Stories can be turned into live streaming, providing real, unedited, glimpses into person’s life, giving them an opportunity to collectively share the experience in the moment with other people. Naturally, these live streams have become popular among brands as well – having face-to-face interaction with their audience allows them to build a much closer bond with their audience. Content that is short-lived is considered by customers to be more authentic versus sponsored ads or brand-focused posts that last longer and seem to push customers to purchase.
Targeting Generation Z
Although millennials are still a big market to please, Generation Z is the next big marketing target. They are becoming part of the workforce, and brands need to recognize this and shift their social media strategies accordingly.
Gen Z members have grown up with the internet. They are innovative, phone-obsessed, and they crave authentic experiences. They choose visuals over text and prefer incognito social media platforms that their parents and grandparents aren’t on.
They want to interact with light content that paints the brands they love in a familiar tone. “Blooper” videos, behind-the-scenes photos, or user snapshots taken at live events are popular types of brand content on Snapchat. And this demand is exactly what brands should take advantage of.
The ephemeral nature of the basic Stories format allows brands to experiment with different types of creative content to see what gets the best traction with followers. Brands should aim to be authentic, spontaneous, give followers a look behind the scenes. The goal is to integrate them into the brand.
It’s about to get more personal in 2018. Nobody likes content that isn’t relevant to one’s needs. This is especially true when interacting with a brand you know and love – the last thing you want is a piece of generic content that doesn’t offer anything special to you as a member of that audience.
Improved personalization for audiences is a major trend in content marketing, and this extends to social media.
You should know your target market – create a user model based on the most common types of buyers depending on their age, gender, education level, likes, income, location, and other. You should keep these models in mind every time you post a content.
By doing this, you’ll be able to give your audience content that answers their specific problems – not just guesses.
When producing personalized content you also create engaging content. And according to the 2016 research by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, marketing experts selected audience engagement as their second most important marketing goal!
The Rise of Dark Social
First and foremost: What is Dark Social?
Dark social is when people share content through private channels such as instant messaging apps, email, text messages, and other types of private message exchange…
This private sharing is harder to track than content shared on public platforms, so many social media marketers don’t realize how big a part the dark social has in the social media marketing world.
According to RadiumOne, 82% of website content sharing happens on dark social, compared to 8% on Facebook and minuscule 3% on Twitter.
This means an enormous chunk of referral traffic is extremely difficult to track accurately. “Extremely difficult” doesn’t mean impossible, so if you’re interested in learning more about tracking dark social – get in touch with us.
Chatbots Make Customer Service Faster and Easier
Now that we’ve mentioned messaging we must talk about the importance of chatbots.
A chatbot is a software application built to simulate human-like conversation within popular chat (messaging) apps, but also in other places. It acts as a customer service representative creating one-to-one interactions with each follower and responding immediately to questions.
People are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. So naturally, if a brand wants to build a business online, and build it around people – thinking about messenger apps is the way to go.
Today, there are at least 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger, and over two billion messages are exchanged between brands and users each month.
Chatbots are quick to respond, they save time, manpower, money, and on top of that, build a good relationship with the customer!
We have to say, 2018 is a great year to consider chatbots for your business.
We just couldn’t help ourselves and had to share some more trends that might be big in 2018. And while trying to predict the future, we must point out that nothing is certain.
For instance, augmented and virtual reality; it did have its initial impact on mobile gaming, but it is likely that social media platforms will find ways to incorporate the new technology as well. Mark Zuckerberg “visited” hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico in a tone-deaf live stream that was part of disaster tourism, part product promotion of the virtual reality.
It’s possible that Snapchat or Instagram could soon support filters that allow users to take selfies with a friend or celebrity projected via augmented reality technology. Similarly, brands could soon project their products into the homes of social media users through special filters.
Also, the help and competition from artificial intelligence may force content creators, from copywriters to videographers, to perfect the human elements of content on social media and elsewhere.
The More the Merrier
Social media presence is crucial.
Creating quality content regularly will make you more visible to a larger audience. Following these trends and posting frequently is key to the hearts of those present in social media.
Those who figure out how to adapt quickly to emerging trends are the ones to triumph with their social media marketing. Not just in 2018, but in years to come.
Which of these will be your main focus? Did we miss something crucial? Let us know in the comments!