Did you know that on average, we scroll through about 300 feet of content each day?
How much of that is going to fly by unnoticed? If you’re a brand, you need a social media strategy for reaching out without getting lost in the crowd. It is becoming more important than ever for brands to be able to reach out to multiple social media platforms and engage followers.
With new technology changing the face of social media at a rapid rate, keeping up with current trends is crucial to your success. As we look at 2018, we see lots of exciting things on the horizon for social media marketing.
Social Media is changing. Your brand needs to adapt to these changes.
Social media has changed over the years and brands best be aware of these changes. Take Twitter for example, which recently changed its character limit from 140 characters to 280 characters. People were initially skeptical about the change, but the increased limits eventually proved to be quite beneficial. As Twitter stated, the new word limit saw improved engagement rates among users and for marketers, this is a blessing in disguise.
So the question is, are you prepared to take on social media marketing in the year ahead?
How about you answer the question after scrolling through the below list of trends. Here are the social media trends that will get your brand noticed in 2018.
1. Influencer Marketing and Generation Z
Say hello to a new generation– influencers will play a big role in marketing to Generation Z.
Perhaps one of the biggest driving factors for 2018 trends is that we are welcoming in a new generation of employees and consumers.
Generation Z, those born at any point between the new millennium and 2017, are beginning to come of age as powerful consumers. A trend in the coming year will be the adaption of marketing strategies as we learn how to appeal to them, while still holding strong to the consumer power and growing executive clout of millennials. Over 90% of all marketers who use influencers in their marketing strategy have considered it successful. This trend makes sense given that it is common knowledge that both Generation Z and millennials trust influencers more than they do celebrities.
So, who are influencers?
Influencers are any individuals who can inspire action among their audience members. These people are usually (although not always) found on social media platforms and have a niche following of audiences who trust their opinions and recommendations. Brands like ASOS have invested in influencers instead of hefty traditional ad campaigns to market their products. These brands have found a substantial increase in sales and brand promotion after the use of influencers.
Even turning your own employees into in-house influencers is a strategy that many B2B brands are adopting. Startups now place good emphasis on the social following of prospective hires and channel it to help their own brands. Asking your employees to share your brand’s content, where they should automatically feel invested, does work. Employee advocacy platform Smarp, for instance, helps with building awareness among team members and encourages them to help distribute marketing assets, while building their own personal brands, on social media.
2. The Appeal Of Ephemeral Content
Here today, gone tomorrow… and the appeal of ephemeral content continues to grow.
When Snapchat was developed, we wonder if they were aware that they are pioneering a completely new consumer mentality.
So, what is ephemeral content?
The impermanence of content makes it ephemeral. The concept, as well as terminology, came into the light because of Snapchat. With the rise of ephemeral content, which is created and then vanishes from existence within 24 hours, has brought a drastic change in how brands are approaching their marketing strategies.
Unlike before, today’s consumer loves the appeal of catching something before it’s gone, and FOMO always works. Ephemeral content appeals to the “I don’t want to miss out” mentality. It keeps followers engaged, and in social media, that is critical to driving conversions.
Brands and influencers have realized how platforms which support ephemeral content drive higher ROI than others. In 2018, we will see ephemeral content used by brands in more innovative ways.
3. Social Listening
Persuading Customers to try your product? Check!
Retaining customers through timely customer support? Check!
Using social listening to understand what your customers are saying about your brand? Nope!
Sentiment Analysis is a relatively new aspect of marketing. It is no longer enough to just persuade customers to buy your products. It is more expensive to get new customers than to retain old ones. Of course, a phone and email customer support team help address grievances. But remember the millennials and Generation Zs? They use social media to address their concerns. If you aren’t carefully tracking what is being said about your brand, you could quickly earn a reputation as an unreliable and unresponsive brand.
Tracking all your social media platforms is a necessity. Of course, monitoring these platforms requires vigilant employees, which can be a strain on your resources, which is why automating processes like reports, data collection has become a norm. Platforms like Cyfe can help a great deal in this regard, allowing marketers to create shareable and embeddable real time dashboards that collect metrics from dozens of supported platforms.
Among Cyfe’s available pre-built widgets is one for Twitter search, which displays the latest tweets that are relevant to your brand, so you can jump in and participate in the conversation whenever the situation calls for it.
Remember that social media platforms are like river rapids. Word can spread like wildfire, and not addressing these concerns could destroy your reputation. It is important to use sentiment analysis tools to implement social listening practices so you can nip complaints in the bud.
A note to the wise: Don’t be defensive when addressing grievances. Nothing puts your customers off more than that. Accept your short falls, acknowledge the wrong-doings and take necessary steps to correct the wrongs.
4. Facebook Spaces Finds A Place With Brands
Facebook is constantly developing tools that keep them at the forefront of social media technology. It comes as no surprise that they are working on a platform that will allow Facebook users to engage with each other through virtual reality.
A platform called Spaces is set to be a cutting-edge VR experience and one that brands should be prepared to take advantage of. Places will present the opportunity for followers to engage with your brand in a virtual setting.\
Places are expected to be huge in 2018, and with early access available now on Oculus Rift, this is a trend that every marketer needs to have on their radar.
5. Live Streaming Gets Results
Video has been crucial for social media marketing for a couple of years now. In fact, 87% of online marketers use video, and that number isn’t expected to drop at any point soon.
What is expected to change is how video is viewed and how you can use it to market your brand. In 2018, we will see live streaming video become more used as a marketing strategy, especially for small businesses.
Live streaming provides a new way for followers to engage in a real-time, interactive way with their favorite brands. For example, many brands have found success using it as a way to give out discounts and offer for a limited period, in order to woo customers.
6. Stricter Moderation on Social Media
Think of platforms like Facebook and Quora. Five years ago, it was easy as day to create multiple fake profiles on these platforms, but it is quite tough to do so today.
For marketers, this is a good and bad thing. For those marketers who used tactics like using multiple (fake) accounts to promote their brands, this is next to impossible to do today, and for those of us, who had to deal with trolling competition with fake accounts, this is great news.
Systems that are harder to hack generally make it easier to drive genuine value.
7. Using Messaging Apps for Brand Promotion
When text messaging first rolled out, severe limitations were placed on the number of texts you could send (100 texts per day was a good deal).
However, apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Line and Slack soon made their way into the hearts (and mobile phones) of people. With these apps, you can send and receive an unlimited number of texts.
And mmessaging apps have been a boon for marketers. By using these apps, they have been able to get a front row access into the minds of their customers. Given that the average person spends over 4 hours a day on their mobile phones, it is no surprise that marketers are tripping over themselves to get their brands on these platforms.
8. Social Media and Artificial Intelligence
One of the biggest challenges brands face is “being there” for their customers. Of course, customer support aside, to interact with your customers on social media platforms while they browse through your social media pages prove to be tough.
In these instances, answering a query a customer may have on social media may boost your conversion rates. For this, chatbots have become extremely useful. Currently, there are over 12,000 monthly bots in use on Facebook, but more are on their way. Several companies have been using chatbots to communicate with their audiences.
According to Social Media Today, about 80% of all customer support can be provided by chatbots.
9. The Rise of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is technology that enhances your current environment by adding digital information to your line of sight. The augmented reality (AR) market is expected to reach $117 billion by 2022.
Brands that are big on social media are already on target to keep up with these numbers, and that is driving AR to be one of the biggest trends of the coming year.
Brands love AR because the technology has created a way to let potential customers “try on” different products. This helps customers make better-informed decisions so that they are ultimately happier with their purchase and encourages impulse buying as well. AR technology is set to be one of the biggest trends that lead will lead to direct conversion in 2018.
10. Mobile Friendly Content
It is absolutely vital for businesses to go mobile. Websites that aren’t adapting to mobile-first indexes are going to miss out. While most marketers worth their buck are aware of this, most of them haven’t looked beyond the realm of technical SEO. Sure, you could adapt your web pages to mobile and use a responsive page design to your website, but what about content?
How do a mobile focus impact content and its distribution via social channels? Should your content change with changing (mobile) times? Absolutely!
When we think mobile, we often think of Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana. Mobile assistants are on the rise. More and more people are going to be using their assistants to search. This means that marketers all around the world have to adapt their content to voice searches. More conversational and simpler. No more big words and Shakespearean language. When creating content, marketers have to think and speak like their audiences. This trend could potentially cause a shift in the content landscape.
Another change that marketers have to keep track of is the trend of hyperlocal. Thanks to an increased dependence on mobile, people now look for information near them – “Ok Google, where can I find Pan-Asian food near me?” With queries like this, marketers will benefit (in more than one way) if they adapt their businesses and SEO practices to extremely targeted locations.
Are you really ready to take on the dynamic world of social media, given the latest trends? It isn’t the same for sure. The reach of organic drops as we speak and the push for paid channels by platforms is clearly visible. Times like these are where step towards upgradation in skillset with updated social media training becomes even more important.
The new age social media isn’t restrictive to your Facebooks and Twitters, but transcends towards platforms like Snapchat. Instagram had to actually copy Snapchat to keep itself updated. How’s that?
The target audience cannot be represented by a static audience persona that is going to remain constant. The audience is always on the lookout for a value out of everything they consume. This includes what they consume from social media as well. Is your brand providing that value?
As brands, or even individuals trying to create a brand for themselves, it is important to find what value one is going to provide to the users. Have you found it already?