As 2017 comes to close, it is time to look at what you need to be doing now to usher your marketing strategies into the new year.
Social media is, and will remain, a crucial part of digital marketing strategy. While social media is a constant, how people are using it is constantly changing. To stay ahead in business, you need to stay ahead of the trends.
Here are the top 5 social media trends you need to be aware of in 2018 to have your best marketing year yet.
Ephemeral Content To Grab Attention
In the past, marketing has focused on producing content that could be used for weeks, or even months, to drive engagement and sales. This is changing with the rise in popularity of ephemeral content, which has made us rethink what we thought we knew about marking.
In the coming year, long-lasting, static marketing is losing steam. The very aspects of ephemeral content that make it appear counterintuitive to marketing, actually make it marketing genius.
Ephemeral content has an air of exclusivity to it. It is the here one minute, gone the next element that appeals to the fear of missing out mentality. This is what keeps them coming back.
What does ephemeral content bring to the table in 2018?
While Snapchat pioneered the concept of short-lived content, other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are also jumping on board. This means opportunities for cross-channel marketing with ephemeral content like never before.
For your business, adding ephemeral content to your marketing strategy means you need to be prepared to be constantly creating new content. Yes, it can be more work. It is also powerful and an excellent way to drive creativity in your marketing department and engage with customers.
Augmented Reality Technology To The Forefront
Remember about a year ago, when Pokémon GO, a location-based augmented reality game, was all the rage? Turns out what we were looking at was no ordinary fad, but a snapshot of the future of human and technology interaction. With the new iPhone being built to better support AR technology, 2018 brings more innovations and opportunities to market your business in a new, interactive way.
It is projected that by 2022, only six short years away, the AR market will reach over $117 billion. Social media platforms, like Snapchat and Instagram, have noticed this number and are expected to add filters that allow users to engage in AR scenarios. This will provide an engaging and interactive way for marketers to target their audience.
Projected Growth of AR Technology in US Dollars Source
As social media platforms adopt AR technology, we are going to witness the interactive virtual world explode. Now is the time to get into augmented reality. Augmented reality might feel like a new toy at first. Make sure that your AR content continues to add value to your audience and highlights the best of your business.
Influencers Still Going Strong
Influencer marketing is nothing new. The direction that you want to take it in 2018 is.
If it seems like every business is using influencer marketing, it is because they are. Last year, 86% of marketers used the marketing strategy, and of them, 94% found it effective. With so many businesses entering the influencer landscape, the challenge has been finding influencers that grab attention and make you stand out.
This coming year, those influencers will be the ones that built up a personal level of trust with your audience. Big name power is being replaced by knowledge and experience. Consumers today look towards industry experts and those that can promote your brand with a strong sense of authenticity. 70% of young YouTube users place less value on celebrity names than they do influencers with real experience.
The key to growing big with influencers in 2018 is by going small.
Consumers are no longer interested in yet another endorsement by an influencer with tens of thousands of followers. They choose to listen to someone that they know is invested in and has built a personal relationship with the brand.
This year, focus your influencer strategy on the connection. Think about why you want to work with certain influencers, and consider what value they add, aside from recognition, to your marketing plan. Think local, think expert and think about how you can build an authentic relationship with them in front of your audience.
Video Stays Viral – And Goes For Length
This year, the majority of content shared on social media was video. We can expect this trend to continue in the future.
You know that rich content drives engagement, the question is how to best capture your audience’s attention with short video content. The first three seconds of a video is crucial. This is when you either grab the viewer’s attention or they click the dreaded X and you lose them.
Another trend to look out for is videos growing in length. The idea that shorter equals better is becoming dated. More people are engaging with longer content on their phones if the content is captivating and high quality. A longer video won’t kill you, but flat and uninteresting will.
Is video a tactic you can skip out on this year? Probably not.
Experts in the industry say that video is a “do or die”. In the next few years, we can expect to see video to make up as much as 80% of consumer internet traffic. Businesses that don’t adopt the strategy will likely fall off the radar of social media users.
Consumers Will Relate to User Generated Content
If there is one mistake that many businesses make in marketing, it is forgetting one very important detail about their target audience.
They are real people living ordinary lives and having everyday experiences. They are not just a cloud of data that you have designed a marketing strategy around. Each one has an opinion, they want to share it and they are insanely interested in knowing what others think of your product or service before they commit.
According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, only 46% trust ads on social media, while 83% trust recommendations from people they know. Today’s consumer also places a high value on consumer reviews posted online.
In 2018, we will see an increase in businesses incorporated user-generated content into their own marketing tactics.
In the coming year, great reviews alone won’t be enough. Consumers want to see your product in use.
Look for shared stories from users, or promoted branded hashtags for consumers to attach to images and videos as two easy ways that businesses will be taking advantage of user-generated content this year.
What is the predominant theme for social media marketing in 2018?
To be authentic, be approachable and to help your audience see the real value you can add to their lives.
2018 will be a year of coming together and building your business with your customers as invested partners.
2017 has brought us plenty of insights into evolving technology and how consumers are adapting. Now is the time to take that information and move forward, securing a place for your business in the future.
Have a happy and successful 2018!
About Your Guest Blogger: Tabitha Jean Naylor is the owner of TabithaNaylor.com and a certified Inbound Marketing Consultant with close to a decade of experience in both B2B and B2C markets. A self-described digital marketing machine, she prides herself on her ability to craft text that generates action. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand-in-hand has resulted in a variety of successful campaigns for start-ups through NASDAQ traded companies.