There’s one thing certain about social media – it’s always changing.
Keeping up with app features, user preferences, and platform trends can feel kind of like trying to hit a moving target.
What worked last quarter isn’t working this quarter, what worked last month isn’t even a capability this month, and so on.
While annual predictions of what the next year of our connected culture aren’t always spot on (just wait till a new app feature comes out), positioning your brand’s social strategy to pivot in accordance with anticipated changes can help maintain an engaged community of followers.
In case ever-changing social strategies have your head spinning, here’s five social media trends for 2018:
All About Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing – compensated partnerships between brands and social media personalities – is continuing to revolutionize the way brands connect with consumers.
We’ve all seen the #sponsored posts on Insta – a food blogger promoting an organic herb company or a fitness guru posting a convenient shout out to their favorite supplement brand. This type of promotion strategy – influencer marketing – is taking the world of advertising (and, our feeds) by storms.
It’s no secret that people trust other people more than they trust advertisements; thus, the rise of this fun little thing we call influencer marketing. Over 70 percent of consumers seek guidance and recommendations on upcoming purchase decisions from social networks, turning influencer strategies into the 21st century word of mouth.
Recruiting brand ambassadors with high social media followings to post, promote, and otherwise champion their products is a great way for brands to overcome consumer hesitations and expand their market. Influencer marketing content is reported to deliver 11 times higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.
Videos, Videos, Videos
Social media users want more than just pretty pictures – they want an experience, and what better way to provide an it’s-almost-like-we’re-there vibe than some super swank videos?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and yes, even LinkedIn, have updated their app features to allow (and some even favor) uploaded video content.
Marketing studies have shown that 95 percent of a message will be retained by consumers when delivered through a video format, compared with only 10 percent message retention with a text-based post.
95 versus 10 – that’s quite the difference!
By integrating original video content into one’s digital strategy, brands can optimize their social reach and engage their following in ways unrealized by other posting tactics.
Live in the Moment with Live Streaming
Live streaming is one of those social trends that many marketers were hoping would just go out of style; but it hasn’t, and it’s become a pretty big deal.
Six years after its first mainstream debut with YouNow, live streaming has moved from teenage trend to social must-have. Snapchat, Periscope (Twitter), Facebook Live, Instagram and even YouTube have jumped on the live stream bandwagon, integrating these on-demand features into their app’s line-up of essential offerings.
While video is a big deal in 2018, live streaming is projected to be an even bigger deal.
In case you’re still on the fence about incorporate live streaming into your brand’s digital presence, here’s a few stats to jumpstart your streaming strategy:
Who’s ready to go Live?
Don’t Leave a Trace
Social media’s many applications in our society have moved from simply a way to connect to an always updating archive of our constantly tagging, posting, and streaming lives.
Such digital tracks can be great, when it helps your grandma living in Georgia to keep us with her great-grands learning to walk in Portland; however, the widely accessible (and not always controllable) digital archive of social media can present quite the obstacle to party-hard college kids looking for their first job.
Recruiters are scrutinizing candidates’ social media profiles, lending companies are checking out decade’s old Rush Week pics, and near-tenured employees are getting shown the door following politically-charged posts on their personal accounts. An internet innovation that was supposed to connect users to more opportunities has evolved into something that can readily prevent them; thus, the increasing popularity of ephemeral content (disappearing or temporary).
Snapchat’s carried the torch on all things ephemeral, with their 24-hour content, and Instagram and Facebook stories are right on their heels.
Engaging through temporary, real-time content allows brands to meet digital natives where they are, within their comfort zone.
Messaging apps and features will continue to dominate social media strategies into 2018. Customers want 24/7 access to brand representatives, as it’s all about instant access and customizable solutions at your fingertips.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) features and chatbots can help provide brands the ability to satisfy the consumers of the on-demand culture without requiring massive increases in overhead expense. By 2018, it’s predicted that 30 percent of our chat conversations will be with chatbots. Cutting edge technology allows companies to utilize chatbots in a way that increases customer interaction with a personal, yet automated, touch.
Today, there are over 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger alone, driving the delivery of over two billion messages between brands and their followers each month. This type of social-facilitated communications means big business, as 53 percent of consumers report that they are more likely to shop with a business that they can message through Facebook versus one they cannot.
The world of AI is still very cutting edge when it comes to the customer experience; it’ll be interesting to see how it’s unique capabilities continue to open new opportunities for modern brands.
Becker Digital is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations Agency dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to reach their goals. We apply our expertise in community development, social media strategy, and public relations to connect organizational clients with today’s always-scrolling online users.