As the end of the year fast approaches, it’s time we dust off our crystal balls and start looking forward to 2018. Every marketer right now is adopting their new role of industry psychic, laying out their predictions for how the industry will evolve over the new 12 months.
I’ve spent the past few weeks, and will probably spend the rest of this month, reading through countless blog posts outlining the ‘Top Social Media Trends for 2018’ to try and keep on top the next hot thing. Now it’s my turn to get involved, these are some of the key things that you can expect to start taking centre stage in the world of social media marketing during 2018.
1. Video is taking over
We’re starting with a relatively safe prediction. The importance of video content across social channels was obvious during 2017, however, this is only the beginning and the trend is expected to continue throughout 2018. YouTube is, obviously, at the front in terms of video content with over 500 million hours of video watched each day! However, on channels like Facebook and Twitter, the importance of video content is rising massively. Facebook videos receive 135% more organic views in comparison to photos – and this doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon. It has been predicted that video content will account for 80% of all internet content by 2020.
So, if you aren’t already, it’s time to start taking video content seriously and make sure it’s part of your 2018 social media campaign.
2. Goodbye organic reach?
Could 2018 be the end of organic reach on social media? The general consensus seems to be that the time for free, organic reach has passed and you need to approach your new social media marketing campaign with some advertising budget. Again, this is something we began to see in the latter months of 2017, but it’s definitely a trend that will continue into the new year. Facebook appears to be at the front of this trend with a large portion of social marketers looking to increase their ad spend on the platform. Earlier this year, Hanapin released their State of Paid Social report for 2017 and they found that Facebook and Instagram are the top platforms where marketers will be looking to increase their advertising budget.
Once again this is a trend that we are already seeing in 2017, however, it looks as though it will see a dramatic rise during 2018.
Are you investing in social advertising? If not, it’s probably time you added some budget to your 2018 social media campaign.
3. Influencers reign supreme
Using social media influencers to help increase your reach and boost brand reputation gained lots of popularity in 2017, and looks a though it’s only going to continue in 2018. This isn’t really a surprise as brands will expect to see a big rise in engagement when working with key influencers. However, the key trend here is moving towards authenticity, instead of working with the ‘biggest’ influencers or celebrities. Brands who work with influencers that actually want to endorse their product will find it far more beneficial than working with someone with a larger following but has no interest in your product.
4. Everyone has a Story to tell
Arguably, one of the biggest social media success stories of 2017 is the rise of ‘Stories’ features on social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Using Stories as a marketing tool is still very new to many brands, but expect to see the adoption of this feature grow massively in 2018. The main reason for this is the fact the feature is relatively new to channels like Instagram as it was only introduced last year. However, over 200 million people use Instagram Stories, overtaking Snapchat – the creators of the concept, and the popularity of the feature doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon.
Stories provide marketers with a new content creation tool that is quick and easy to use and gets right in front of your audience. Instagram Stories are causing a decrease in engagement on traditional Instagram posts according to research from Iconosquare. What more motivation do you need to start including Stories into your social media content for 2018?
5. The rise of AI
AI has been a hot topic during 2017 with the imminent robot uprising nearly upon us, and it appears that the adoption of AI and bots has spread into the social media world. Similarly, with the other trends, the rise in the use of AI began to show its face during 2017. A few brands are starting to make the most of chatbots to help improve their customer service across their various social channels. For large brands replying to countless messages that are often very repetitive and similar is a near impossible and thankless task, because of this, organisations are utilising chatbots to help solve simple queries. However, we are expecting to see this become a more mainstream tool in 2018 with the improvements in technology. Once again Facebook is leading the way with this trend, there are currently over 12,000 monthly bots being used on Facebook Messenger already.
*Bonus* 6. Do More!
While it’s important to pay attention to what others are doing and where the industry is heading in the future, it’s more important to focus on what works for you. Take a step back and reflect on the past year, what are your success stories from 2017? What didn’t work as planned? How do your followers want to be reached?
In an industry that is a fast moving and constantly changing, like social media, it’s important to stay on top of the new trends. However, it is just as important to react to what is working well with your audience.