WINNING SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2018
2017 was a big year for social media.
Instagram dominated over the big guns including Facebook and Snapchat, ‘Salt Bae’ taught us all a lesson in the art of going viral and true social media marketing, and of course… THAT Beyoncé pregnancy announcement that broke the internet.
Brands the world over utilise social media platforms as a powerful marketing tool due to the sheer global reach the platforms attain. However, being left behind in an ever changing industry is so easy, which is why we have given you FIVE social media trends you should be taking advantage of and perfecting throughout 2018!
ORGANIC INSTAGRAM STORIES
The biggest and most significant update to Instagram in recent years is the addition of Instagram Stories. Insta Stories allows users to upload ephemeral content; content that disappears for good after 24 hours. This seems to be a particularly advantageous social media strategy for businesses as it prompts followers and potential consumers to take action within this short period.
Instagram stories breezed its way into lead position for ephemeral content. Facebook began drawing its users to the social media platform some years ago, but user engagement was taken to the next level in August of 2016 when the ‘Stories’ feature was launched. During that short time of just over a year, Insta Stories has gained over 250 million daily users, overtaking Snapchats 173 million daily users that have been accruing over many years.
Successful social media for business has a lot to do with reaching out to users where they spend a lot of their time, and Insta Stories seems to be that place! In a recent survey, it was found that 1 in 5 organic stories produced by a brand or influencer receives one direct interaction from a viewer.
THE POWER OF THE INFLUENCER
Next up on our social media trends for 2018 is the power of the influencer and the micro-influencer. Many businesses and brands have often targeted big celebrities to be the face of marketing campaigns or paid them for a promotional post on social media, but the price tag for a celebrity’s time can be quite astonishing and one that smaller brands cannot pander to… here comes the social media influencer!
Social media influencers regularly a key component to a triumphant social media strategy and this will be tenfold throughout 2018.
During 2017 more traditional advertising avenues failed to strike a chord with social media users, whilst modern-day influencer content, such as YouTube videos, Instagram stories and photos and blogging had a much bigger impact on what products and services users were investing in. This could be to do with the fact that ‘Millennials’ and ‘Generation Z’ are proven to be more influenced by social media advertising than sales and together they make up the majority of the world’s population, so they should definitely be a main target for your social media marketing strategy.
What’s more, on some influencer heavy platforms – including Instagram – users don’t need to leave the app to make a purchase, thanks to built-in features such as Instagram shopping. Your audience have the ability to make an instant purchase and Instagram accounts with over 10,000 followers can now also include product links in their Instagram stories.
AUGEMENTED REALITY IS ON THE RISE
Augmented reality comes in many forms and it allows users to connect with a brand and its products on a whole new level. Business social media strategies made use of the technology slightly in 2017, but the popularity of the features and the high levels of user interactivity mean we should all, small businesses included, be making the most out of augmented reality in 2018.
The most recognisable use of augmented reality on social media platforms today is the use of artificial intelligence lenses – or ‘face filters’ as we know them – on video outlets, starting with Snapchat and filtering its way through to Instagram Stories.
Face filters are not just something you should shrug off as a ‘bit of fun,’ they actually double up as a great interactive marketing tool. Snapchat allows social media advertisers to design and create their own filter that will appear for all users for a set period of time. Recent examples of social media advertising through snapchat filters include campaigns from ‘Crème Egg’ and ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.’
A more complex use of augmented reality by a business is the Dulux Visualizer app. The video visualization allows you to select a colour from just about anywhere, your favourite pair of shoes, that brand new rug or the plants in your garden, you can then see how that colour would look live on the walls of your home thanks to augmented reality technology. Ikea also has a similar with their ‘Place’ app, where you can see exactly how a piece of furniture would look in your home.
PERFECT YOUR BRAND / CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT
Although healthy brand and consumer engagement should already be a big part of your ethos, 2018 is all about using social marketing strategies and taking it to the next level. Brands are slowly beginning to realise the impact of social media engagement and extending conversation with their customers much further and on a more personal level than a sales pitch.
Past, present and potential consumers look for a platform where they are able to connect with you, so it is imperative that you humanise your brand, initiate genuine conversation and offer your customers the greatest possible experience.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are popular networks for customer engagement due to the effectiveness of real-time features including Facebook Live or Instagram Stories, for example, but in 2018 you can expect instant messaging to really take off and help build those strong and loyal brand-consumer relationships.
Instant messaging of any form, from Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Instagram Direct Messaging or apps such as WeChat provide customers the chance to communicate on a personal one-on-one level and receive help for any issues they might have. Not only is this beneficial for the speed that the customers will receive their reply, but also helps businesses cut costs.
In 2018, don’t just wait for an assistance query before you engage. If somebody tags you in a photo of them wearing your clothes, compliment them. If you have been told of a success from using your product, congratulate them.
A little goes a long way in customer engagement.
LIVE STREAMING AND VIDEOS
A survey found that 82 percent of consumers prefer to watch live videos over regular social media updates and written blogs, expected to increase even further during 2018, meaning live streaming is not a social marketing tool you should be sitting on.
You don’t need to invest in modern technology and fancy video cameras to get involved. Facebook and Instagram support live streaming, in extremely good quality, too. As the demand for live streaming continues to surge, the services supporting this will only keep getting better and better and it has now become an expectation of your brand, rather than an option.
Statics for live streaming and its positive effects on social media marketing campaigns blew up in 2017 and even regular video posts outperform all other content by a country mile, so make sure you get involved in this social media trend ASAP.
Don’t get left behind.