Here are the top 10 social media trends for 2018, is your businesses social media strategy ready?
In 2018 even more brands and business will be vying for the attention of business and consumer group audiences from a wide range of industry sectors.
Social channels continue to evolve with the development of AI chatbots and instant messaging, 360/VR and Augmented reality, live streaming, ephemeral content and more.
With such a range of social channels and media choice for consumption, the attention span of people is on the decline.
Businesses need to act fast and understand what’s best for their audiences in order to generate better engagement, increased brand loyalty and gain conversions through social media.
Here are ten vital social media trends that will have the maximum impact on your social media strategy in 2018.
1. Chatbots and messaging platforms will dominate in 2018
In 2018, businesses will have to step out of their comfort zone and focus on social messaging apps. Especially considering that more than 2.5 billion people worldwide are already using messaging apps daily.
Social messaging is on a huge pervasive trend. It is widely believed that overall, people now spend more time in social messaging than in social media. That is especially true for the younger millennial generation, with their all-important disposable income.
Specifically, a study found that the time spent in social and messaging apps grew by four times (394%) in 2016, compared to an average growth of 69% across all tracked segments.
Upwards of 45,000 developers are now using Facebook’s Wit.ai chat-bot-building tool to create chat bots for Messenger. Other major technology companies have also seen the writing on the wall. Microsoft, for example, has introduced a chat-bot-building tool called Bot Framework.
The first key thing to understand about chatbots is that most won’t introduce new capabilities; instead, brand chatbots will centralise where and how customers engage, using social media as an operating system.
Consumers will engage with bots in three ways: content consumption, customer service and productivity or transactional engagements. Social media is already part of many of these activities between brands and consumers, but social media acts as a gateway to direct consumers to the brand website, blog or separate channels. Instead of using social media as a portal, consumers can read and receive information, ask technical questions and even make purchases from one chatbot.
Take for example customer support. More than one-third of customers already prefer using social media rather than the telephone for customer support, and most consumers expect a response within an hour — if not faster. That’s a taxing load for brands, but the enhanced AI through chatbots makes it feasible to accommodate.
Most companies still stick to connecting with consumers through posts they publish, but we can expect brands to invest more time and finances in interaction with consumers via messaging apps.
Chatbots will enable businesses, both big and small, to offer personalized shopping experiences on Facebook Messenger, Kik, WhatsApp, and Viber.
A combination of artificial intelligence and messaging apps will enhance the quality of customer service too.
For most companies not selling a product, the most effective use of chat bots is for customer service. Timely and efficient customer service can be the difference between success and failure for companies, especially those in highly competitive markets. Indeed, chat bots seem to be a technology made for customers.
2. 79% of internet traffic will be video content by 2018
Long gone are the days when social media presence was based on status updates, photos here and there, and sharing links to your articles from time to time. Communication has become more personal. People use video chats to talk to one another and businesses are starting to incorporate video updates into their social media marketing strategy too. Video use helps you avoid faceless and generic communication with the target audience, and basically everyone else.
Figures show that 43% of people want to see video content from marketers and 51.9% marketing professionals worldwide name video as the content type with the best ROI. Due to the increasing popularity of video content, we can expect the trend to continue thus making this trend a valuable format to leverage. Videos increase engagement in the form of likes, shares, retweets, and comments on all social media platforms.
With new formats, such as live streaming, businesses of all kinds have a wide array of options to explore and implement into their social media marketing campaigns.
For example, live streaming videos became highly popular in 2017 and next year their popularity is bound to increase even more. At this point, you can start a live video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it.
Essentially, creating and uploading video content in multiple formats on a regular basis is the hottest social media to adopt in 2018.
3. Instagram Stories rivals Snap Chat after only a year
One of Instagram‘s most useful features is called Stories. Which has over 250 million people using Instagram Stories every day, the company revealed earlier this year. That’s over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat!
Why? Instead of the usual posting of carefully chosen single photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos that play, like a slideshow. And at the end of the day, those photos disappear.
Instagram Stories are temporary videos or photos that are strung together to form a slideshow gallery that, well, tells a story.
Based on current usage growth nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018. This means that brands interested in connecting with Instagram users must take the time to master Instagram Stories.
3. Continued investment in influencer marketing
Still didn’t give influencer marketing a try? It’s about time to do social media outreach, find a suitable influencer for your business, and step into the future of marketing. In 2018, influencers are set to take over social media as more companies, both big and small, are realizing the importance of this marketing strategy as a form of noninvasive product/service promotion.
Not sure whether you should try influencer marketing? A few key statistics will help you make the right decision:
- 90% of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe it is successful
- 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions more than “regular” celebrities
- 86% of women turn to social media before making a purchase
- 32% of US-based influencers say Facebook is the best platform while 24% think Instagram is the best
- 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a reference from social media
In 2018, it won’t be enough to establish a collaboration with some random influencer especially now when this marketing strategy has become mainstream. Instead, the focus will be on building meaningful relationships with influencers, setting clear objectives, and choosing a person who meets your requirements.
4. Generation Z is most valuable segment in 2018
A study by Goldman Sachs found that Generation Z is more valuable to businesses and organizations than millennials. At this point, the oldest Generation Z members are 22 years old.
What does this mean for social media trends in 2018?
Adolescents and young adults from Generation Z are about to enter the labor force, meaning they will hold greater buying power. Since brands have already recognized this, they are adapting their marketing strategies to appeal to this particular generation.
As a result, we’ve seen major changes in features on Snapchat and Instagram, and we can only expect more in 2018.
Brands will begin to recognize this, and will shift their social media strategies accordingly. Expect great investment in platforms loved by Gen Zers like Snapchat and Instagram.
5. Personalisation continues to drive consumer sales
An new infographic from Monetate delivers yet more proof that personalised experiences are driving consumer spending. The use of social login to gain tailored information, trails and offers is driving much of the commerce across social networks. According to the infographic, 75% of users want high levels of personalised content. And when this is delivered, improved levels of sales result.
It seems that businesses are listening with over half of those polled stating they intend to use more personalisation across their online channels. Hand-in-hand with this move must also be a realisation that the personalisation that takes place must be completed with mobile data devices in mind. With M-commerce now a force that can’t be ignored by any corporation, personalisation must deliver its content successfully on every device.
Personalised social shopping assistants powered by data intelligence
There are a number of functions that a shopping assistant app can perform just by using a set of algorithms (without human consultation).
These functions can consist of price comparison and finding the best deal, coupons and offers, product recommendations, shopping history, package tracking and more.
EBay is testing a personalized shopping assistant called ShopBot on Facebook’s Messenger application, hoping to win more of the social network operators’ 2 billion monthly users as customers by making it easier to find items to buy.
The trial service will use artificial intelligence to learn more about shoppers through their Facebook profiles and questions about what they’re seeking. EBay said ShopBot can remember details such as clothing sizes to make future online shopping easier.
Smartphone users are spending their time on fewer apps, with Facebook Messenger among the most popular. EBay wants access to as many of these people as possible, by enabling shopping through the chat service. Once a shopper finds an item by chatting with the bot or submitting a photo, they go to eBay to complete the purchase.
6. Expansion of live streaming
What was once a novel gimmick has become a mainstream part of social media. Today, brands big and small have started using live streaming to capture the attention of followers.
GORUCK, a backpack manufacturer and the organizer of extreme endurance events, is one example of a medium-sized brand that has grown its reach by live streaming compelling content on Facebook. Thousands of followers tuned in to watch 48-hour coverage of a recent endurance race.
In 2018, more brands will begin to realize the power of live streaming, and will incorporate it into their monthly content plans.
7. Rethinking Twitter
Twitter is usually the app that we use to write everything we think of, express our emotions, and engage in discussions. And it also plays an important role in social media marketing strategy.
But lately, Twitter marketing is lagging behind Facebook and Instagram. Multiple reasons could explain this negative trend and some of them are related to politics. For example, the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, prefers using Twitter over any other social media app and he uses it on a daily basis, often to express his personal opinions.
Moreover, in 2017 Twitter has failed to generate followers at a high rate compared to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Let’s not forget that Twitter also lost access to streaming NFL games.
Don’t expect this negative trend to continue though. In 2018, Twitter leadership will rethink the way their platform operates and some changes are bound to happen. Potential changes could involve selling the platform to private investors, including a sort of prescription feature, and boosting advertising options. If these changes do take place, Twitter is set to improve your marketing efforts.
8. Digital hangouts go mainstream
Meerkat’s new video app: Houseparty is a video hangout platform used by over one million people each day. It is primarily used by Gen Zers as a way to hang out with friends digitally. The platform is so successful that Facebook is reportedly investigating ways to create a similar functionality within their platform.
It’s rare that a small startup is able to challenge the likes of Facebook and Snapchat in a meaningful way.
But Houseparty, a teen-centric video chat app is managing to do just that. One year since launching publicly (the company spent several months in a stealthy beta), Houseparty has grown to a total of 20 million users who together have participated in more than half a billion video calls (or “parties,” to use the app’s terminology).
Twenty million may sound like a drop in the bucket compared to Facebook’s billions or even Snapchat’s 173 million users. But the video chat app, created by the same team who founded the once-hyped live streaming app Meerkat, is beating its bigger rivals in one important way: engagement.
The app’s users, 60 percent of whom are under the age of 24, spend an average of 51 minutes a day chatting in the app. To put that in perspective, Snapchat’s average user spends 30 minutes a day in the app. Facebook says its users spend an average of 50 minutes per day, but that’s across Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger combined.
Facebook has taken notice. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that the social network is working on a Houseparty clone called Bonfire as part of an aggressive bid to quash the competition.
We have already seen video become increasingly important on social media, and live video group hangouts are a natural next iteration of this trend. It is conceivable that in 2018, Facebook will announce a similar product to Houseparty that will win over users, just as Instagram’s introduction of Stories did.
9. The future of Facebook’s VR push is out now: a new way to hang with friends, virtually
Facebook isn’t just interested in live video streaming; they’ve been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in VR. Given that Facebook owns Oculus, a virtual reality hardware and software company, it is no surprise that the social media giant is developing a platform to make use of this new technology.
Facebook is poised to scale Spaces in 2018. When they do, it is likely that it will be the first successful VR social media product at scale.
10. Social platforms embrace stronger governance policies
After a series of controversial decisions during the 2016 presidential election, social media platforms have embraced a more hands-on approach to governing conduct on their platforms. Facebook recently turned over thousands of ads that seem to be connected to Russian meddling, and has invested in new AI and human forms of monitoring.
Given the wide criticism that Facebook and Twitter received during 2017, it is likely that these platforms will embrace codes of conduct and governance policies that protect the brands from future criticism.
A number of new social media trends that will impact users and brands alike are strengthening and accelerating. It is likely that video streaming and virtual reality will go mainstream. Additionally, brands will turn to newer social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat as Gen Zers increasingly spend their time there.
With the announcement of the new iPhones, augmented reality has a chance to become a part of social media in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago. Lastly, Twitter and Facebook will most likely adjust their policies to protect their brands from political criticism and to provide users with better online experiences.
Ultimately, social media is a complex field when it comes to maximizing the growth and return for your brand or business. With the right help, social media can make 2018 a big year for your brand and business.
Social media authority provides a complete social media marketing solution to help achieve all of your business objectives through social media. If you want social media success without the headaches in 2018 then get in touch with us now: email@example.com