New year, new goals, right? And with the ever-changing landscape that is social media, it’s hard to keep up much less maintain existing priorities. We’re all overwhelmed by the never-ending barrage of tools and features rolling out, the need to keep up with video, and seeing our organic reach plummet. But fear not, we’ll break down the biggest trends taking over 2018 for you so you can be prepared (or at least act like you know what’s going on!). And keep in mind that social media is one of the few places you can take strategic risks.
- Instagram Stories
Instagram stories came on the scene as a competitor to Snapchat with their own versions of filters and effects. As a result, Instagram Stories have surpassed Snapchat viewers and still seems to be growing in popularity. For your brand’s needs, Instagram Stories are discoverable by those who aren’t already following you (hashtag search helps with this). If you happen to have more than 10,000 followers, you can now add outbound links back to your website. And it helps grow your own Instagram audience.
- Messaging platforms and customer engagement
Interacting directly with your customer is becoming more and more important. Consumers are turning to social media and apps more often than picking up a phone to call a 1-800 number. Whether you’re already a WeChat whiz when it comes to your international audience or you’re just dutifully answering questions on Facebook Messenger, this is something that is only going to rise in importance. Customizable chatbots are also gaining in popularity.
- Live streaming
Live streaming has been around for a while now, whether you’re using Facebook, YouTube or Twitter for your service. Phone technology and hardware is improving every year, making it easy for people to view your live stream. And if planned in alignment with your other marketing endeavors (new product launches, anyone?), it could be revelatory in your organic reach.
Influencer marketing is on every digital marketer’s radar right now, and it’s become a million dollar industry. But it doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Having influencers is like having a built-in authenticity mechanism. It may not feel like it to you, but when you align your brand with influencers who are deeply respected by your core audience, it can be a major boon to your bottom line. You likely already have influencers amongst your core audience who are ready and willing to help amplify your voice.
- Augemented reality and virtual reality
It’s not just about face filters (although those are still very popular). It’s about experience and presentation. Maybe it’s a customer that wants to know what it’s like to drive your vehicle, or wondering how the waves look as they lounge in a beach chair at your resort. Facebook is already working on a project called Spaces that will allow friends to connect in VR in 2018. It’s time for your brand to get creative on how you want to share your experience with others.
Oh Twitter…. We thought you were going to die in 2017. Even though Donald Trump uses it as his go-to communication device, Twitter is going to have to change it up if they want to retain relevancy. They’ve already expanded their character limit from 140 to 280, and it appears they’re going to be pursuing subscription models for advertisers. So keep an eye on Twitter.