5 Social Media Trends for 2018

Social Media in 2018

2017 saw Social Media being put to use like never before. Video exploded and live streaming landed on Facebook and Instagram, both of whom took inspiration from Snapchat by introducing a ‘stories’ feature allowing users to post static, ephemeral content as well as rolling, live content from anywhere in the world.

On Instagram, we saw the trend of influencer marketing skyrocket thanks to the brand new shopping feature and the ability for influencers to tag posts as paid for promotions, making advertising on the platform even more transparent but also more heavily congested. Instagram users are also now able to follow specific hashtags and the introduction of the ‘swipe up’ call to action makes the conversion process even quicker for consumers to complete.

Twitter took a leap of faith to double its character limit from 140 characters to 280 in November, a decision that split its users down the middle. The influx of ‘fake news’ drew attention to and made us question the legitimacy of content across all social media platforms, and we all witnessed the controversial tweets of a certain POTUS, the most active elected politician on social media ever.

Social Media underwent sea changes over the course of 2017 making 2018 set to be another year of massive transformation. We’ve compiled a list of the five big trends we’re likely to witness on Social Media over 2018 and what they will mean for digital marketing.

1. Chatbots will transform customer service.

We saw a number of brands trial this feature in 2017 with varying levels of success, although 2018 is the year in which these intelligent computer programs are likely to flourish and revolutionise the way in which companies interact with consumers online. Not only do they allow brands to dramatically slash expenses, they are also able to solve a range of customer queries, in an instantaneous and highly personalised way. The rapid development of AI means that this year, they’ll go beyond a being a bit of a gimmick into being a useful real-world tool for business to consumer communication.

2. Influencer Marketing will continue to grow.

In 2017, influencer marketing was estimated to be worth around $2billion and this is more than likely to increase in 2018 as more brands are realising the value of influencers and will consequently increase their budgets to incorporate them as a more permanent feature of their marketing strategy. In addition, we’ll see a lot more promoted posts from ‘micro-influencers’ or those with under 10,000 followers who tend to be perceived as much more authentic and invested in each brand they promote, thus actually producing a better ROI than many of the celebrity status ‘mega influencers’.

3. Ephemeral Content will become key for engagement.

With the introduction of Snapchat inspired stories features on both Instagram and Facebook which allow users to post ephemeral content, in other words, content that disappears automatically after 24 hours, it’s highly likely that we’ll see more brands taking advantage of this real-time content feature. Temporary content encourages customers to engage more habitually in order to avoid missing out on key news and offers and will ultimately lead to consumers taking action faster and more often.

4. Augmented Reality will have its biggest year yet.

We’ve already had a taste of AR over the past couple of years in the form of novel Snapchat filters, the IKEA app, gaming (Pokémon Go) and with new devices such as the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, so its more than probable other large brands are going to follow suit this year. AR is interactive, fun and highly engaging which will put it on the long-term marketing agenda for a number of brands although it’s probably more useful in the retail, real estate, travel and entertainment sectors rather than B2B industries such as finance.

5. Video everywhere.

It’s no surprise that video will continue to dominate given its prevalence in 2017 (90% of all content shared was in video format last year) and its rapid growth as the number one way in which we now consume advertising. Users engage with visuals more than anything else; around 500 million people watch videos through Facebook everyday whilst YouTube stacks up a staggering 5 billion views everyday. Get ready to see even more brands pushing out rich media ads, creative short videos, GIFs and above all, live streams in 2018.

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