Over a decade ago, the social media was an upcoming phenomenon that most people were unsure would last. Nowadays, we cannot imagine a world without the social media. From multinationals and celebrities to small businesses and consumers, everyone and everything is on the social media now. Approximately 2.8 billion people i.e. 36.8% of the global population use the social media today. With this immense popularity, we see newer trends emerging on it every year. Last year, we saw the emergence of chatbots, the growth of augmented reality, the popularity of live stories, and many other such trends but that was 2017.
The Social Media Trends Of 2017 In Review
The question now is: What is next for Social Media Trends?
Here is a look at 10 social media trends that you need to follow in 2018 (inforgaphic):
#1 Augmented reality will take the floor
Approximately five years ago, Google launched Google Glass. The vision behind it was to bring Augmented Reality (AR) into our daily lives. Google aimed to change the way we interact with each other but the technology did not work out.
However, at present, multiple companies including Snap, Google, and Facebook are in competition to win the AR game. A handful of AR apps have become successful and a rise in the sales of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets was seen.
As we predict further technological advancements (such as improved visual rendering and faster internet speeds) in 2018, it could be the year when Augmented Reality finally takes off. If that happens, social media will be one of its major applications. This trend will connect people over vast distances, changing the entire user interface for social interactions. One of the 2018 social media trends to follow will be the growth of Augmented Reality.
#2 Social media apps will become gamified
People love game-like experiences just the way they like interacting with each other. In the past, many companies have earned great revenues from immersive gaming experiences and micro-transactions. Hence, we’re looking forward to seeing an app that connects gaming and social media more sophisticatedly and organically.
What kind of app will be developed? This is something that we cannot explain right now. However, we can say that this will be an emerging social media trend in 2018. In the past, we have seen the growth of social media apps and games as separate social media trends. However, in 2018 social media trends, we will now likely move towards the gamification of social media apps.
#3 Advertisements on social media will become more common
When social media platforms such as Facebook were new, the focus was on building a user base, not revenue. Nowadays, the social media has over a billion active users and the focus has shifted towards revenue generation. Social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter now use advertisements as one of their primary sources of income. Statistics show that the amount of social media advertising market had a worth of approximately $31 billion in 2016! We can expect the 2018 social media trends of advertisement to become even more common. Ad growth will significantly increase on social media platforms with newer advertisement features. This is a good sign for brands, since you can now reach out to a wider range of audiences all around the globe.
#4 Personalized experiences will become a norm
Personalized experiences for users will be among the most dominant 2018 social media trends. You can expect the emphasis of brands, social media networks and search engines to be on providing personalized experiences. Facebook and Google already put emphasis on local advertisements.
However, now, we can expect other social media platforms to join in on this trend too. For businesses, this means that you need to re-strategize your marketing efforts. You now need to ensure that you personalize user experiences according to their preferences and geographical location. For entrepreneurs and start-ups, this will provide a good opportunity to reach out to and engage with local customers.
#5 Facebook Watch and Facebook Live
Facebook was the trend-setter for live videos with its Facebook Live. The trend grew popular and other social media platforms such as Twitter also added their own live video features. The reason behind the rise of this is because the Generation Z’s and millennials have very short attention spans. This means that successful marketing campaigns need to convey more information in less amount of time. Hence, live videos!
Facebook Live and other live video features will continue to grow in 2018. In 2017, we saw the introduction of features such as 360 videos. In 2018, we can expect 360 to be incorporated into live videos. Another expected feature is the introduction of multi-source videos that will allow marketers to give several viewpoints to the users.
Facebook Watch is another exciting feature launched by Facebook in late 2017. The video-on-demand service will allow content producers to develop series of live or pre-recorded videos. The focus will be on providing long-form videos that keep the users asking for more. Brands can make use of Facebook Watch to build their own consumer following. All they need to do is to launch an engaging video series or ‘show’ on Facebook Watch. This is amongst the 2018 social media trends that should definitely follow as a marketer.
#6 Increased competition among brands
With the growing popularity of the social media, more and more businesses are now making use of the platforms to engage with their customers. This means that the social media is becoming ‘commercialized’ as we speak. The problem with this is that there is a countless amount of brand-written promotional content now available on the social media. What this means is that consumers are now much less likely to engage with branded content because it is everywhere.
Statistics show that 96% of small businesses make use of social media marketing. This illustrates the amount of brand-related traffic on the social media platforms. In the upcoming year 2018, the increased competition and growing problem of ‘branded content fatigue’ amongst customers will push brands to produce a higher quality of content. We can expect brands to now make use of independent third-party sources to promote their content in 2018.
#7 Chatbots at your service
Facebook launched the chatbots for its Messenger platform in early 2016. However, it took the concept a little more than a year to take off. Chatbots have been among the leading trends on social media in the last couple of years. We expect them to be a dominating 2018 social media trends, as well. Now, chatbots have become common on Facebook and you can notice most brands and retailers making use of them to communicate with their customers. From answering customer queries to taking orders, chatbots are able to perform a range of customer service tasks.
There are a number of reasons behind the popularity of chatbots. The most obvious being the improved responsiveness and engagement of brands on the social media. Moreover, deploying chatbots also decrease the cost of human resource (in the form of social media administrations). These AI-powered chatbots are likely to be in the headlines in 2018 with a lot of developments being made. When it comes to conversation, chatbots are still limited to answering basic questions and answers only and this is something that will definitely be worked on by brands in the upcoming year. In addition to this, the growing popularity of these chatbots also means that we will likely see many more brands, both large and small, deploying their own chatbots.
An example of a chatbot that became popular in 2017 is the McDonald’s Messenger bot. The chatbot can take food orders on-the-go from customers directly via Facebook. We can expect numerous other brands to follow suit in this regard. Having said this, it is also much easier to build and deploy chatbots now. This is due to the emergence of ready-made bot frameworks and solutions. We can also expect social media platforms, such as Twitter to build on their chatbot features in 2018.
#8 Social media monitoring and real-time analysis
One of the most notable benefits that the social media offers to brands is the luxury of real-time analysis. Over the course of last year, we saw brands and marketers becoming aware of marketing automation, which allows them to connect with their ‘social buyers’ in real-time. We also saw the emergence of ‘smart social analytics’ with tools, including Mentionlytics, to launch AI-based features for brand analysis.
In 2018, we expect brands to make use of intelligent analytics tools to lift their marketing game. You can expect social media monitoring and brand management to become an integral part of marketing campaigns on the social media. A successful social media campaign generates measurable amounts of website traffic and contributes to the brand online presence. However, tracking social media channels to determine what interests your customers can be a laborious task without the right tools. This is where brands need to make use of social monitoring tools that include smart features and intelligent suggestions capabilities, for analysing brand-related data, as well as providing important insights.
#9 Generation Z’s over Millennials
Generation Z is commonly referred to the individuals, who were born between the late-1990s and mid-2000s. They are also termed as being the post-millennial generation. What distinguishes the Generation Z from the rest is that this generation has grown up entirely in a digital world which means that they are a completely different audience for marketers.
Statistics show that more than 90% of the Generation Z’s make use of the social media, particularly Snapchat and YouTube. With most Generation Z’s approaching the age bracket of 18 – 22 in the upcoming year, they will now have their own purchasing power. This makes them an important market segment for brands. This is because these Generation Z’s are yet to have made their ‘preferences’ and ‘first choices’ about purchasing.
To accommodate these Generation Z’s, we will see brands making changes to their social media strategies in the upcoming year. The first change that is expected is the inclusion of Snapchat, which is used by 67% of Generation Z’s and is their most widely used platform for keeping in touch with their friends.
We will also witness brands, switching from traditional broadcasts on the social media to group and 1:1 unicasts. This is because the Generation Z is likely to get bored with brand-related promotional content. The content strategy by brands will need to be shifted towards authentic, relevant, and most importantly, relatable content that these Generation Z’s can connect with. Out of all the 2018 social media trends, the shift towards Generation Z will perhaps be the most dominating.
#10 Influencer marketing will continue growing
We have talked about the importance of influencer marketing on a number of occasions in 2017. From finding the right influencers to making use of influencer marketing for improving your online presence, the trend of influencer marketing is one that has been continuously growing over the past few years. As a brand, it can be challenging to cut through the various filters and noise on the social media. This is where digital influencers play a key role. These individuals connect brands with their groups of passionate followers to increase the reach of a brand content.
Despite all the innovations, one factor that remains constant in digital marketing is the power of influencers. No matter how intelligent chatbots get, influencers will always understand the needs and wants of their followers better. In 2018, we can expect an increasing number of brands to make use of influencer marketing for their promotion.
To Sum Up
The new year 2018 is upon us.
There are numerous 2018 social media trends that are going to change the way we approach the social media.
From the emergence of the Generation Z’s as the new consumer market to the introduction of intelligent analytics tools, we look forward to an exciting year up ahead.
For consumers, these 2018 social media trends describe how interesting and innovative the social media will be in the coming year.
For brands, it is important to keep aware of these 2018 social media trends to stay on top of their marketing game.
To make sure that you remain competitive in the digital world in 2018, you need to make sure that you adopt a modern marketing campaign. You can do this by following and making use of the 2018 social media trends that we have described in this article.