We’re a few months into 2018, and it's no surprise social media continues to evolve at lightning speed. As technology continues to improve, creating high quality, engaging content becomes easier every day. This ease has made it more important than ever to put together a solid social media strategy that you will be able to execute well in order to be noticed through all the noise. But what types of efforts should be a part of your social media strategy? Below I list some of the biggest social media trends in 2018 that will help you stand out from your competition.
Video, Video, Video
If you had to pick only one thing for your 2018 social media efforts, it should be video. If you somehow haven’t managed to hear, video is the current gold of social media currency. If you head over to your Facebook timeline right now, you could easily expect that 75 percent + of the posts you see will be videos. Because of how easy it has become to create video, they’ve begun to flood newsfeeds and become the new expected medium for content. If you even want a chance for your business to be noticed, you better be creating video.
While we’re on the subject of video, make sure you have a ‘Live’ strategy in place too. It has been shown that Facebook Live videos are watched 3x longer than regular videos. From having a weekly ‘show’ to just going ‘live’ when something fun is happening in the office, you can go big or small – as long as you’re doing it.
Messaging Apps & Chatbots
For the first time ever, Facebook growth has stalled. On the flip side, use of messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, has increased exponentially. The growth of messaging platforms continues to be a major trend, and it isn’t likely to end anytime soon. Generation Z is starting to move away from the main social media platforms, so to tap into this market, a messaging strategy should be part of your 2018 social plan.
One way to make using messaging platforms for your business a little more manageable is to utilize the ever-growing pool of Chatbot tools. Chatbots allow you to create a natural conversation workflow to help your customers with the more common requests without having to respond to every message manually. Depending on how much time and effort you’re willing to put in, Chatbots can be used for basically anything you can think of – from setting hair appointments to signing people up for customer loyalty programs to simply answering what your business hours are. Chatbots allow you to be on the platforms where your customers are looking to talk to you and provide them answers promptly without all the manual work.
24-hour Content (Stories)
With the rise of SnapChat and their Stories feature, short-lived content has boomed. Because of its success, Instagram and Facebook have taken the concept and integrated it into their platforms as well. The ability to post a photo or video of a moment, share with your followers so they know what you’re up to, and then have it disappear is a very appealing concept. Stories have become a great way to highlight a fun moment in time or give a quick update without having it live forever. They’re great to use to delight your current customers. On the other hand, you can continue to use your primary feed to focus on your business goals and nurture potential customers along their buyer’s journey.
Influencer Marketing has been a buzzword for a while now, but with the continual fight for newsfeed space and ever declining reach, it’s starting to become a very important strategy for many businesses. By finding a few influential fans of your business that are willing to help promote your brand, you can dramatically increase your reach as well as help improve your reputation. It is shown that potential customers trust what their peers have to say much easier than believing a business’s claims. With a positive influential person promoting your brand, you can break through the newsfeed clutter and help improve your brand image.
In 2018, we can expect social media to continue to evolve (I don’t think it ever will stop). But I have a good feeling that the four strategies listed above will continue to gain momentum as we move throughout the year.
With a passion for helping, both consumers and businesses, I enjoy using my knowledge and skills to create engaging social posts and interactions that start a prospect on their inbound journey. As the Inbound Social Lead, I utilize my social media and interpersonal skills to develop and nurture one-on-one relationships between a business and their customers. When I'm not at the office, I enjoy spending time outdoors (fishing and floating on a tube are my favorite) or crafting on my kitchen table.