The year 2017 was a big one for social media, and there’s still three months left. Facebook came up with Instagram Stories to compete with Snapchat and their copycat approach worked as Instagram users have surpassed Snapchat users. The United States got a new president who routinely uses social media to share official policy positions. Twitter shocked the world when they announced that they were doubling their character limit to 280, flying in the face of everything Twitter stands for. The year 2018 has the potential to be just as big for social media. Here are ten social media marketing trends we expect to see in the coming year.
The emergence of augmented reality
When Apple announced their smartphone lineup for the coming year, one of the most exciting features was a more advanced processor that is fast enough to allow users to enjoy augmented reality experiences within apps. In their on-stage demo they showed this off with gaming but the technology could also have implications for social media as well. Expect social media platforms to integrate AR features in 2018.
Instagram Stories users will increase dramatically
Instagram Stories just turned one year old, but it already has 200 million monthly users (50 million more than Snapchat which has been around for 6 years). If that growth rate continues–and we predict it will–half of all Instagram users will be using Instagram Stories by the end of 2018. That’s approximately 400 million monthly users. Brands that master Instagram Stories will have a huge advantage in 2018.
Brands will invest more in influencer marketing
One thing 2017 has taught the world of social media marketing is that traditional advertising doesn’t seem to work as well with this particular channel. People don’t like self-promotion from brands on social media. Enter influencer marketing. Brands can build relationships with influencers who can promote those brands instead in a way that feels more authentic.
Generation Z will become the most important target audience
For many years now, millennials have been the primary target audience for social media marketing campaigns. That has begun to shift already in 2017 and by the end of 2018, Generation Z will undoubtedly be the most important audience for social media marketers as more and more enter the workforce and their purchasing power grows.
Brands will interact more with customers through messaging platforms
More than two-and-a-half billion people use some kind of messaging platform outside of the standard SMS protocol. The growing popularity of these social media messaging platforms combined with the advanced features that you can’t get with SMS will translate to brands making more of an effort to connect with customers through these platforms. Expect to see a big increase in chatbot spending in 2018 since brands can automate much of the communication on these platforms with chatbots.
Livestreams will become a major part of brands’ content strategy
Live streaming was just a novel gimmick at first but major brands as well as smaller ones have discovered that there’s a demand for livestream content on social media. Expect brands to incorporating livestreams into their content strategy in 2018.
Twitter will make more big changes
Twitter was one of the few social media platforms that didn’t gain as many users as they were projected to in 2017. Because the platform has stagnated, they shook things up by experimenting with doubling the 140 character limit that has defined the social media platform all these years. But they won’t stop there. Some possible changes in 2018 include selling to private investors, experimenting with a subscription-based model, and revamping advertising options.
Digital hangouts will become mainstream
Houseparty is a new video hangout platform that has already amassed one million daily users in 2017. It’s a mixture between video chat and conference calling where people can hangout digitally in the form of a group video calling. A major platform like Facebook may buy out Houseparty and make it mainstream or platforms may create their own version of the video hangout platform.
Facebook Spaces will become mainstream
Facebook Spaces is a project the social media giant has been working on for a while now. It takes the concept of digital hangouts one step further and allows friends to hang out in a virtual reality setting. Facebook already owns Oculus, the current leader in VR headsets, so they have all the pieces to take Facebook Spaces mainstream in 2018.
Social media platforms will be rethinking governance policies
Facebook made headlines last week when they announced that they would be turning over thousands of ads that were suspected of being connected to Russian meddling in the presidential election so that they could be investigated by government intelligence agencies. While some praised the move others saw potential for a misuse of power and violations of privacy. Expect social media platforms to rethink the way they handle misconduct on their platforms and expect to see a more hands on approach to dealing with misconduct.
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