Are you ready for the big changes happening on social media this year?
The social media landscape constantly evolves, which keeps us—business owners and marketers alike—on our toes for new strategies and tools to use to get in front of our audiences.
Before we dive into these trends, let’s recap on some of the most notable social media statistics early this year:
- There are 2.46 billion social media users as of 2017. In 2018, the number is expected to reach 2.62 billion.
- 96% of businessES are on Facebook, 89% on Twitter, 70% on LinkedIn, 70% on Instagram and 57% on YouTube (Buffer’s State of Social 2018 Report)
- Customers spend 20 to 40% more on brands that engage with them via social media (Social Media Today)
- People spend an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes on social media every day, which represents 30% of our online time (Global Web Index)
- Here are the most popular social media platforms as of January 2018: Facebook (2.2 billion), YouTube (1.5 billion), WhatsApp (1.3 billion), Facebook Messenger (1.3 billion) and WeChat (980 million) (Statista)
But in the midst of all these grand developments, there are also what you call fads and experimental tactics that are short-lived and may only cost us more money and time. So it’s best to know which trends are worth pursuing this year. Here are some social media trends you need to keep an eye on:
1. Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories was introduced in 2016 to compete with Snapchat. The feature quickly grew to more than 100 million daily active users (DAU) within just a few months and now has about 250 million DAU in just less than two years.
Story allows Instagram users to post photos and videos, which are displayed in a horizontal bar on your Intagram feed and will disappear after 24 hours. Users can add filters, texts, stickers and drawings, and you can use this feature to post product promos, polls, or collect data from your audience.
According to Kissmetrics, about half of all businesses on Instagram post at least one Story each month, and 20% of these stories get at least one direct message from a prospective customer.
2. Influencer Marketing
Finding the right influencer that would take your brand further is one of the biggest marketing challenges businesses have to face. Many companies who have partnered with influencers on the basis of numerical popularity have found themselves unwittingly propagating racist, sexist, lewd or other inappropriate content.
But this doesn’t mean influencer marketing is dead. It is, in fact, still growing. In 2018, influencer marketing is now more about finding influencers that could relate well to your brand’s voice and ethos rather than just riding on someone else’s popularity.
Influencer marketing should now be focused on relevancy to your business, products, target audience and industry. ‘Influencer’ is not synonymous with ‘celebrity’. According to Markerly, it is best to work with ‘micro-influencers’ those with 10k to 100k followers for maximum reach and engagement.
3. Live Streaming
Live streaming is becoming mainstream in the dynamic world of social media. According to Social Media Today, the video streaming market is expected to become a $70.5 billion industry by 2021, and that 80% of customers prefer watching videos than any other type of brand posts. This is because live video streaming provides a sense of immediacy.
You can use live streaming for product demos, testimonials, how-to’s, announcements, product reveals, Q & A sessions, interviews, and a lot more. Most social media platforms now have native streaming capabilities, like Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Instagram Live.
4. Messaging Platforms
Messaging platforms are expected to be big in 2018. The popularity of apps like WhatsApp (1.3 billion monthly active users), Facebook Messenger (1.2 billion monthly active users) and WeChat (963 million monthly active users) will be exploding.
These platforms have exponentially evolved and now allow businesses to deliver messaging sequences, automate messages, send announcements and new content, create sales funnels and many more.
This is where chatbots can come in handy. They can automate your sales, help you manage complaints, power your social media help desk, and communicate with your customers.
5. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is going to change the way brands connect with customers. Some of us have experienced it first-hand with Pokemon Go, Google Glass and SnapChat. AR is expected to have the same impact on social media with Facebook partnering with over 700 brands and agencies to develop enhanced AR-based advertising, as well as camera effects designed for AR hardware.
Trends may come and go, but many survive and are here to stay. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, stay tuned to the latest developments and update your brand strategy to accommodate these new trends.
Which of these social media trends are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments!