Social Media Trends 2018

Social Media is going through some big changes. If you want to be ahead of the curve, you need to read our blog on up and coming trends in 2018!

Facebook LogoWe took part in a special seminar hosted by Hootsuite earlier in the year, all about the trends digital marketers are expected to use in Social Media in 2018, to stay ahead of the curve. We had industry experts, Amber Naslund and James Mulvey, talking us through the trends of social media in the new year – all backed up by global data. In the webinar, we learned about a new set of algorithms and social trends to invest in for 2018 – including information on social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn too.

Social Media is a landscape that’s forever changing, and with a new year comes the new trends. If you want your business to succeed online, you’ll need to put these trends into practice. HootSuite has gathered global data and monitored to rising trends in the world of social media. They’ve come up with the expected trends we’ll see appearing on our monitors this year. Utilising these effectively may do wonders for your brand online, so read carefully…

The data provided by HootSuite shows that companies and businesses will be facing three major challenges in the new year.

  • The first is finding solutions to an ever-declining organic reach on social platforms. There has been a significant decrease in engagement between January and June in 2017, with the engagement of users interacting all different kinds of post types falling greatly.
  • Challenge number 2 being faced is the over saturation of video content on social channels. As video becomes more and more popular on social media, HootSuite predicts that the market will be oversaturated in 2018, with far too much content to digest. Making your video stand out in a swarm of others becomes the task to achieve for the new year.
  • Finally, brands are going to begin to suffer from new social tools and tactics. Whilst social media is always trying to innovate, brands are beginning to feel the fatigue from the ever-changing platforms.

But at Revive, we’re a full service, digital solutions agency. Whilst we know the challenges and problems, we’ve also got the solutions too. And they are? Well, to stay on the pulse of social media trends of course! In this blog post, we’ll be covering everything we’ve learned – passing on all the information to you as well, (for free). Not bad, eh? So, without further ado, let’s begin…

Social Media Mobile

1. Social ROI

One of the problems of early social media management investment was the return of results. Companies would be investing in social media platforms but would be unable to measure the return on investment (ROI). However, in 2018 we’ll see a change to social ROI, as it evolves and adapts (hopefully, for the better). Whilst Hootsuite’s data found that 84% of social media marketers monitored and tracked data, 29% of them were still trying to prove the worth of it. Most companies can’t invest in something more without a proven ROI to present to stakeholders. This means that social marketers are lacking the budget to overcome the challenge of organic engagement on social channels. If the budget is there for social media, organic reach can be increased with paid promotions, in the long run.

Legendary American Marketeer John Wanamaker famously said that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Companies found that they have established their social media for most areas, including customer service, brand awareness and reputation, and customer experience and engagement, to name a few. However, the most significant data from this social ROI report is the lack of impact measurement for social media. Businesses are neglecting to properly analyse how the data works in connection with their investment. Each different sector should be monitored in order to establish an ROI for stakeholders and investors.

Solution Aim for your easiest targets first, to prove the value of social media. Whether it’s increasing conversions or growing social following, aiming for the easiest goal is a good way to kick off the year. Instead of looking at social ROI, look into what your social media is doing for your business – whether that be a response platform for customers or tracking engagement/following. By not focusing on the conversions of social media, you’ll prove the value of it from a customer perspective and focusing on social as a branding investment. Stay on top of all the updates of algorithms and tools available to track and measure the success of social. You need to be on trend to prove the value of social media investment.

Linkedin Logo

2. Mobile and the Growth of Video

In 2018, brands on social media are no longer just publishers of written content or images, but they must become a broadcaster. A video is a way forward in social media, and companies need to look at creating evergreen and trending content, for video. More and more, social users are moving away from engaging with text and image posts and begin watching video after video on social channels (especially on Facebook). Social media users are coming to social networks to digest video content for entertainment and news purposes. They want information condensed into automatic playing videos as opposed to text or image posts. With around 56% of users stating they have watched a video on Facebook within the last month, and 33% using social media to find entertaining content, brands are going to have to look into becoming broadcasters as opposed to publishers.

But now more than ever, social users are devoting a great percentage of their social media time to mobile devices. They’re logging the hours on Facebook, YouTube and other sites, from their phone – mainly watching videos. With Google and other search engines beginning to crawl video content soon, your live streams and videos need to be optimised for search engines too. So, the focus for 2018 becomes to create leading video content, that is relevant to your user base – whether it be for entertainment or advertising. Over the years, advertising investment on the internet has slowly crept up on Television advertising, and Hootsuite data predicts that in 2018 internet advertising will have overtaken TV advertising spend by a significant amount. It’s crucial for businesses to be investing in the search engine and social ads, campaigns are cheaper, easier to manage and you can track the metrics and results through analytic tools. Data also showed that a lot of users were engaging more with live broadcasts. Leading companies and brands will need to look into investing in live broadcasting streams on channels like Facebook or Instagram, to spike engagement on social media.

SolutionFocus on broadcasting content that is relevant to your brand. If your business has a strong social presence, with engagement, it may be the right time to look into investing in video ads or entertainment. Look at forming partnerships with video content creators and influencers, as well as looking into live streaming too. Remember to use the right social channel for your business. Hootsuite recommends; Instagram for B2C, LinkedIn for B2B and Facebook for mass reach. Optimise your video descriptions for SEO purposes, focusing on relevant and trending topics. For the best reach, businesses should be investing in Facebook budgets for mass audience reach and engagement.

Instagram in Mobile3. Peer Influence

Unfortunately, customer trust in media, CEOs and government institutions has slowly begun to decline over recent years and 2018 will see the turn of micro-influencers and customer communities taking over as a ‘trustworthy authority’ online. Product reviews by online media publications will no longer do, customer feedback and reviews have dominated the market for the past few years, and in 2018 it’s having a greater impact now more than ever. It’s the age of peer to peer advocacy and the time of micro-influencers taking over as a trustworthy voice. More and more users turn to friends, family or peers for information on services or products, and for bigger brand items, social influencers.

The idea of big brands in most recent years, which will carry over to 2018, is to create a community aspect online. That’s through hashtags, reposting user content and working with micro-influencers to build a brand’s community online. Whilst micro-influencers may have a smaller sphere of reach, it’s these types of influencers that return the most engagement because they have real influence over their communities. Micro-influencers usually have around 1,000 to 10,000 followers on social channels.

Apple’s Instagram account was only set up in 2017 but utilised this community aspect to maximise their engagement and following. Through the campaign #ShotoniPhone, the tech giant was able to advertise without overtly doing so. This creator and customer focused approach saw users engaging with the page and hashtag more and more. Whilst watch company MVMT focused on targeting micro-influencers with unique discount codes available to an influencer’s community. According to data from Hootsuite, over 25% of MVMT’s website traffic comes through social media – that’s four times the industry standard…

SolutionBrands and businesses will now have to create an online community. Whether that’s through information/customer support groups on Facebook, or utilising hashtags on Instagram (reposting consumer content). Mirroring these huge brands and their success on social media is an effective way to succeed. Look at targeting micro-influencers (if it’s relevant for your user base), or head to Facebook for a live stream that’s human and real, not corporate and scripted. Real influence online is a key trend to stay on top of in 2018.

digital rank brain4. AI intelligence, Human Response

More and more companies are looking into automated responses for ‘chatbots’ on social media. Facebook has invested heavily in creating chatbots that appear human and can assist a customer’s needs instantaneously, online. Hootsuite collected data from Gartner, which stated that by 2020, 85% of customer services interactions will utilise AI bots. Not only that but now users will see themselves targeted by suggestions of brands based on private conversations. Messenger bots on Facebook are becoming so powerful that they can now, book Ubers, send money to friends or even recommend hotels or services based on your conversations. It’s a learning system set to gather customer data to properly suggest the right recommendations for you, based on your conversations.

Whilst it may seem scary to know that your conversations are being analysed the benefits of AIs for customer service outweigh the negatives. Eventually, users will be able to have most of their issues resolved by an automated chatbot that seems friendly and human. However, this is one of the slower growing trends in social media, as AIs are forever changing and adapting – they’ll be becoming more powerful and efficient in the coming years. It’s ideal for most large businesses to implement chatbots to swiftly respond to customer needs. Smaller businesses may not see the full benefits of investing in AI unless they are set to rapidly grow.

Solution Don’t go all in with AI straight away. Invest in AIs where appropriate for your business, if you have a smaller company, you can manage usually manage social yourself. However, some outsource to agencies for social media management too. Look into AI investment, if it’s relevant to your business it may benefit your company’s efficiency.

Where Social is Heading

With so many growing trends coming in 2018, it’s important to understand where each social network is heading. Each platform will be focusing on different aspects to enhance user experience as well as grow their brand and business. 2018 is going to be the year companies invest more and more in social media, looking into social ads and creating a community for their brand. Each different social platform will be evolving in 2018, but how?

Social media platforms

FacebookIn 2018 Facebook will be heavily leaning on mobile video, including live streaming. Google crawlers will now crawl live streams and archived broadcasts, so descriptions and content need to be optimised search engines. Brand discovery will no be a feature in the new ‘Explore’ tab and will encourage people to join brand Groups, as well as interact more with AI in messenger. Ad targeting has been simplified for 2018 and will utilise messenger interactions (both paid and organic).

TwitterTwitter will also take a step in the direction of video content this year, working on premium content partnerships. With live video segments and using machine learning to optimise and personalise video discovery for users. Partnering with sports and other entertainment outlets, to create a focus on ‘social TV’, streaming shows such as NFL games – which opens up the service for new ad opportunities.

InstagramThis particular channel will continue to focus on organic engagement – with enhanced algorithms, live video features and the peer to peer sharing of content. Businesses on Instagram would do well to focus on creating a community aspect amongst their followers, as well as focusing on mobile video content too. Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012, so you can bet that wherever Facebook is heading, Instagram will be too.

LinkedInAs for the ultimate B2B platform, LinkedIn will be looking into developing influencer strategies on the platform. Again, LinkedIn will work on their video content development, including tools similar to Facebook Messenger, as well as Snapchat-esque geofilters too (for conferences and events).

YouTubeSocial TV on YouTube will be developed for 2018, with a continuing focus on mobile adverts on videos. There will also be a continued focus on live broadcasting, but a shift away from amateur content creation – leaning more towards the premium social TV platform with optimum advertising precision.

Revive Tips

Now is the time to focus on your video, finding the right social platform for your business to succeed on. Creating video ads and content will keep you up with the latest social trends of the year. Build a community out of your brand too, with support, advice and the ability to correspond with a whole community of customers etc. Focus on AI chatbots where appropriate for your business size. Remember, social media is overtaking the world slowly… So, keep up!

Can’t do it alone? You know where to find us…