The Social Media Trends of 2018 in Review

The Social Media Trends of 2018 in Review

The social media has continued to grow over the past years. This growth is characterized by changing social

The social media has continued to grow over the past years. This growth is characterized by changing social media trends. Year in year out, we see frequent improvements on these platforms. The latest social media trends have been center of focus for the marketers. These latest updates on social media platforms help the marketers to harness the power of social media marketing. The marketers who adopt the social media trends early will have the advantage over their competition. During the early days of social media, Facebook and Twitter were trends to watch. Recently, we have seen enhancements on these platforms becoming key trends on social media.

In this article, we shall feature the social media trends of 2018. In the year 2017, we saw various social media trends take over. The year 2018 hasn’t been different. The past year’s trends continued to evolve in 2018. At the same time, we have seen new social media trends being introduced. These trends have continued to change the face of social media. However, the success rate depends on the execution strategy chosen. Let’s take a look at some of the social media trends for 2018.

Social Media Trends of 2018

#1 Live Streaming on Social Continues to Thrive

The introduction of live video on social media came with a great benefit. This is largely for the customers and also for employees. We have seen business executives take on live video to achieve employee engagement. The 2018 live video benchmarking report shows that live video continued to be a top priority for the executives. Live video has been used when launching new products. This has been done across social networks and has also been included in business websites. Live video on social media is highly effective in training employees. In fact, this has helped in driving social media engagements. This is because customers prefer watching to reading tutorials.

Companies have reported an increase in e-commerce sales. This is as they merge the buy-now experience with the live video. This has helped to increase the engagements in comparison to the pre-recorded video. Live streaming platforms have seen an increased number of users. This continues every single day. The advantage of live streaming on social media is that it captures attention from people of all ages. Some of the most popular live streaming platforms are Twitch, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Periscope, Younow, Iris, and USTREAM.

#2 Brands Invest More on Social Listening

Social listening is not a completely new social media trend. However, in 2018 we have seen brands focus more on social listening. The social media growth in the recent past has made brands want to pay closer attention to what’s happening on social. To achieve this, brands have discovered that it takes more than creating accounts on different social media platforms. Social listening also needs more than just remaining active on these platforms. Brands want to know what people are saying about their products. They also want to know what comments are shared by their competitors and their customers. What’s the reason for investing more in social listening?

Simple! Just to ensure you respond appropriately. Basically, every brand is concerned about the good, the bad and also wants to find out the ugly. Every second, customers are discussing brands. To be on top of the game, you ought to consider their sentiments. Social media is a major fact gathering platform today. Surprisingly, people are discussing industry news more than they are engaging with the brands directly. On social media, you will find complaining customers, satisfied clients lavishing praise. At the same time, others are merely showing off your stuff on different social media networks. The goodness of social listening is that you get to know what’s happening even on the platforms you don’t belong. You might want to refer to social listening as social media surveillance.

Whether customers are talking to you or not, businesses ought to reply to mentions. Thus, social listening is an important 2018 social media trend. It has enabled brands to reply to complaints within the shortest time possible. Leading brands are already using social listening tools to engage their audience.

In this Tweet, we see Coca-Cola appreciating customers comment within a short time.

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#3 The Evolution of Instagram Stories and In-Platform Messaging

Another top 2018 social media trend is the use of Instagram stories. In June 2018, we saw Instagram introducing music in Instagram stories. This means that Instagram stories users can add a soundtrack with the Instagram stories feature. This is a popular trend and almost every social media user knows about the new feature. Basically, the Instagram stories feature has also helped in spreading new social media trends. A good example is an inclusion on Sound on stories feature. Instagram introduced the feature and other social media platforms are following this trend.

The Instagram stories feature has attracted over 400 million daily active users. This also includes social media marketers. The marketers using Instagram have recognized stories feature is a powerful tool for mobile advertisers. In fact, Instagram projects that by the end of the year 2018, the feature will have helped Instagram to earn about $ 7 billion in mobile ad revenue.

When Instagram stories were first introduced people thought that the idea was originally borrowed from Snapchat. However, we clearly see that Instagram is still introducing new trends on the feature. The new trends are helping Instagram grow their user base. This is probably as a result of Instagram being backed up by Facebook. The platform also has awesome features pumped out often lately. Other features that are enhancing Instagram Stories include the use of questions stickers, use of music stickers, the shoppable tags and sharing feed posts in stories.

#4 The Rise of Social Media Call Out Culture

The social media has helped to connect consumers across the globe. This has helped the creation of the social call-out culture. The brands have continued to find it harder escaping negative online commentary in 2018. On the other side, consumers are engaging with brands that they love. This helps to build relationships and also can break existing relationships. Essentially, the call-out culture can result to be a public relations nightmare for the marketers. This is especially if the brands don’t take the complaints as serious and responsible.

The consumers are using social media as a brand call-out platform. When they do, the marketers should realize that there is a silver lining to it. Thus, crafting a well thought, empathetic and helpful response can help retain the consumer. Unhelpful responses will not cut it. Traditionally, the call-outs were negative interaction. These though, are an opportunity for the brands to redeem their good name. Creating a positive interaction depends on the response to call-outs. Thus, while responding brands need to seek how they can establish authentic relationships. If your brand doesn’t respond to social call-outs, be ready for consequences. This creates the importance of social listening for your business. Organizations should come up with the social strategy for dealing with this rising culture. The strategy should be around brand voice to customer complaints and also how to effectively respond. Timeliness is an important factor when responding to customers concerns.

The social Call-out culture has helped increase brand accountability. According to consumers, the social callout is caused by dishonesty from the brands.

#5 Customized Chatbots

Businesses are turning to the development of customizable Chatbots. But why is this trendy? We have already mentioned that it is absolutely necessary for responding to consumers.  How about a company that has millions of online consumers? Definitely, it’s almost impossible responding to their concerns in a timely manner. Think of a company like KLM. They serve millions of passengers traveling from one destination to another every day. This is across the globe. As customers get to the use of social call outs, we are seeing brands getting concerned. To ensure they respond to consumer issues, the answer has been customized Chatbots.

Social media trends of 2018 points to the development of custom Chatbots. Checking out how the Chatbots have been used in the past, it’s clear that consumers are getting custom responses. Facebook messenger is one of the platforms that have seen increased use of Chatbots. The custom Chatbots help in gathering information. They also serve to give product guidance while also taking orders from consumers. The Facebook messenger Chatbots has seen organizations respond to more customer queries. The growth rate has been more than 3.5 times.

Customers are after real-time service. Thus, the customized Chatbots make this happen. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was among the leading brands that took on Customized chatbot messenger. The KLM chatbot is offered in over 10 different languages. Customers are able to check booking confirmation, the personalized offers, and check-in information through the messenger. Early in 2018, KLM also introduced interactive voice-driven pack assistant. This AI-powered chatbot lets the passengers pack their bags giving them personalized assistance.

#6 Augmented Reality and Social Media

Augmented Reality has played a key role in social media today. The users of Snapchat are using the AR filters and lenses. They are also able to play games with the other users using Snappables essential tool for AR selfie games. Another feature that is AR powered is the Snapchat Shoppable AR. This allows businesses to promote their websites and also the sign-up pages. They can also share video, and drive installs through the app.

Augmented Reality in social media has been implemented in different ways. The social media has been instrumental in getting people to appreciate AR. The Facebook AR studio is a powerful tool for the artists and the developers. The tool is used for the creation of interactive Facebook camera experiences. Given the part played by AR on social media today, it’s important noting that AR will continue influencing user experience. Customers purchasing through social media platforms are having a better experience thanks to AR. Ability to step into a virtual store and trying out products feels incredible.

Augmented Reality together with Artificial Intelligence, have helped achieve brand awareness. Thus, brands should focus on using the technologies to create amazing experiences. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are encouraging brands to use AR features.

To Sum Up

Social media has been one of the best inventions so far that has helped marketers. Consumers too have benefitted from social media. The emerging social media trends continue to make social media platforms resourceful. Live video on social media, technologies like AR and AI, customized Chatbots and social listening tools are helping businesses. The social media is also a call-out platform used by consumers.

The social media trends of 2018 have had a significant impact on social media marketing. The platform developers continue to focus on improving the user experience. As illustrated, early adopters of these trends stand to benefit. Thus, it is critical that brands are keen to see how upcoming social media trends can be resourceful. Don’t forget that what matters most is the execution strategy.

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About John Kopanakis

John is a co-founder of Mentionlytics supervising Business Development and Business Processes. He is a Professor of Business Intelligence with interests in Data Analytics and Innovation.