Social media is constantly evolving. Today, it has become an inseparable part of our lives and businesses. During 2016, Instagram added 100 million users in about six months.
With consumers spending more time on social media to learn what’s happening around the world, marketers have realized its potential. Social media is a powerful channel for driving traffic to websites, generating leads, and enhancing brand value. This is why social media marketing is now an integral part of a brand’s marketing mix.
Because social media is constantly evolving, the trends of 2017 might not be relevant this year. So it’s important to keep yourself updated with the latest social media trends that are anticipated in 2018.
Here are six major social media trends you should watch out for this year.
Top Social Media Trends to Watch in 2018
1. Greater Emphasis on Influencer Marketing
Did you know?
- For every $1 which businesses are spending on influencer marketing, they’re earning $6.50 in media value.
- 71% of marketers find influencer marketing to be truly effective at building brand awareness on social media.
- Tweets from influencers about product recommendations coupled with tweets from brands can increase purchase intent by 5.2X.
Such stats demonstrate just how impactful influencer marketing is. The popularity of influencer marketing is likely to continue in 2018 too.
If you haven’t thought about integrating it into your marketing strategy yet, do it now. Identify your goals, find the right influencers, build relationships with them, and reap incredible ROI from your influencer marketing.
Here’s an example from Adidas, on how they used influencer marketing to enhance their social media image by harnessing hashtags effectively. Adidas launched an influencer-driven campaign on Instagram. Their focus was to boost engagement and encourage users to post content about the brand experience.
Image via Instagram
For their #MyNeoShoot campaign, they collaborated with Selena Gomez along with some top influencers. These influencers encouraged their followers to participate in the contest using the hashtag #MyNeoShoot. This would give them a chance to become one of the six models for the campaign.
- Between January 2016-January 2017, their sales increased by 24.2% while Nike saw their sales drop by 9.1%.
- The brand received 12,000 entries for the contest.
- The hashtag #MyNeoShoot got more than 71,000 mentions.
- Adidas’ Instagram page gained 41,000 new followers.
Many marketers today face challenges in finding the right influencers for their brand. Someone whose niche and messaging aligns with theirs and someone who has a genuinely engaged following.
Platforms like Grin can help you find the ideal social influencers for your brand. You can search by category, location, engagement, and various other filters to find the most suitable influencers.
Image via Grin
Another example of a useful platform to find your ideal influencers is TRIBE. This is a digital marketplace which connects brands with influencers from across the globe. You just need to create a campaign brief for which influencers will create content. You only pay for the ones that you finally select.
Image via TRIBE
2. Instagram Stories Going Viral
In 2016, Instagram launched a new feature – Instagram Stories, which spread like a virus. Today, over 300 million people are using Instagram Stories every day. Why? Because they are fun to use.
You can add hashtags, text, drawings, stickers, or create polls to increase engagement and collect valuable insights about audience preferences. Stories help marketers expand their reach using interesting videos and photos. These also help to ensure that are better engaged and view their account frequently.
Posts in Stories have a duration of 15 seconds and disappear in 24 hours. So you only have a few seconds to impress your audiences showcasing your products or other valuable information.
Using Instagram Stories for your brand can:
- Improve engagement with your social media posts.
- Make your business portfolio more impressive with videos.
- Enhance the visibility of your brand.
- Make your content attractive and eye-catching.
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. With over 800 million monthly active users, Instagram is expected to grow even more this year. So it definitely needs to be a part of your social media marketing strategy.
Let’s take a cue from leading American faucet brand, Moen. No one might have imagined the brand would ever launch such a creative campaign, especially for an Instagram Story. But this is what they came up with.
Image via Instagram
The Story resulted in a 45% increase in impressions for the brand. This way, Moen found a quicker and more efficient way to create engaging content.
3. Watch Out for Twitter Making a Comeback
Both Instagram and Facebook today have more users than Twitter and in 2017. Twitter failed to grow their users significantly.
Why was Twitter unable to generate more users compared to other channels? Due to the criticisms received when U.S. President, Donald Trump bullied people in several instances.
Users started complaining about his freedom to bully people. They were upset at Twitter not banning him from the medium. And Twitter’s popularity declined.
But 2018 might not see Twitter having a similar fate. Twitter’s leadership are already strategizing about improving their partnerships with brands and agencies. So don’t ignore Twitter this year. It might be a game changer for your business.
4. Live Videos and Streaming are on the Rise
According to a report, video streaming is expected to be a $70.05 billion market by 2021. In 2016, this was worth $30.29 billion. Live streaming shows real-time broadcasts to users and can include streaming of promotional events, celebrity events, etc.
Today, people prefer watching video-based content more than other forms of content. Here are some statistics that support this.
- By 2020, the US is likely to have 236 million digital video viewers.
- Viewers aged between 25-34 spend 197 hours per week, on an average, watching videos online. Closely followed by people aged between 35-49 and 18-24.
Most social media platforms are integrating video formats in their content to better engage users. Brands too are using video and live streaming to penetrate deeper into their target markets. It helps educate users about your brand and drive better engagement by offering tangible content.
Video and live streaming are gaining popularity by the day. In 2018 too, brands will be heavily utilizing them in their content strategy to achieve their goals.
Here is an example of a cosmetic brand, Benefit, which uses Facebook Live videos in a series.
Image via HubSpot
Two women from Benefit host a series called “Tipsy Tricks” every Thursday. On some of these episodes, they ask the audience which product they’d like to see, being used in the look they’re creating. This is an innovative way of using live videos to know more about audience preferences while ensuring they remain engaged.
5. Targeting Generation Z
Studies have found that Generation Z will be of higher value to businesses as compared to millennials. Not only are they way smarter with money but also likely to be more influential than millennials.
21% of people in this generation have created savings accounts before the age of ten. At the moment, the oldest members of this generation are 22 years old. This indicates that these people are ready to enter the workforce and will have a greater purchasing power.
Because of this, many brands are shifting their focus to Gen Z, and are active on platforms that appeal more to this new generation, like Snapchat and Instagram.
6. User-Generated Content in Content Strategy
What if you bought something and had a great experience? Wouldn’t you like to share it with your friends or networks? Once you spread the word, more people are likely to buy the product, or at least consider your recommendation. With this, you’ve just generated content which has the potential to attract more consumers to the brand.
That’s the reason brands truly value user-generated content as it helps spread positive word-of-mouth quicker. 56% of people seek guidance from their friends when it comes to purchasing products.
Realizing the power of user-generated content or UGC, brands have started leveraging this tactic to build trust and engagement. They encourage customers to post about their experiences on social media to expand their reach and increase visibility.
One of the best examples of UGC in marketing is that of Starbucks. Every year in the month of December, they launch a contest called #RedCupContest. The aim is to promote their limited edition holiday-themed beverages served in bright red cups.
Image via Instagram
Coffee drinkers are asked to submit their coffee shots for which they can win an expensive Starbucks gift card. This results in over 40,000 posts of red cups, leading to a boost in sales.
These six social media trends are going to impact your marketing this year in a big way. From connecting with relevant audiences to maximizing your ROI, there’s a lot you can achieve with social media marketing. Incorporate these trends into your strategy to rise above your competition.
Can you think of any other social media trends to watch out for in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.