Keeping up with new social media platforms is a full time job in itself, and on top of that, as marketers for our business (or our clients), it’s important for us to also be aware of new social media features as well. These will help us use each social platform to their fullest.
Related: 8 New Social Media Features You’re Not Using (But Should Be)
However, knowing the mediums and the tools still isn’t enough to stay on top of the latest trends in social media marketing.
Think of it this way; pretend you’re a real-estate agent (or maybe you are). You have to know a few things in order to sell your homes.
– The market
– Your resources (information on HUD, PMAs, etc)
– The latest home buying trends
In this case, the market is the social platform we’re on. The resources are the tools available to us to reach out customers and help them. And the trends are what are customers like to see in a home. All of these together will link our product with what our customer wants.
The problem with social media trends, is they come and go faster than my 3rd glass of wine. Fortunately, we at Marketing Solved are staying ahead of the game and doing to research for you so you don’t have to.
So without further adieu, here are 10 social media trends to use in 2018.
1) More Engagement Between People and Businesses!
Customers are interacting with brands on social media a lot more these days. Aside from the fact that customers are already on social media anyways, it’s a growing trend to tweet at or publicly complain or praise a business online.
People feel this is going to bring awareness to the issue quicker than a private message or a strongly worded letter in private. And they’re right. In fact, according to Hubspot, 72% of people expect a quick response from a brand within an hour of their complaint.
But complaining isn’t the only trend that is picking up. Genuine engagement with a brand is as well. And I actually blame Wendy’s and Denny’s for that.
Just look at these tweets from the two brands. If these don’t make you want to follow them then I don’t know what will.
See 24 more hilarious Wendy’s tweets
See 24 times Denny’s won Twitter
People want to interact with businesses with personalities. I think the times of stoic professionalism is on its way out.
2) Increased Accountability for Brands
This goes along with the first part of number one. Everything you do and say in private and social media can be reflected back on you online and in more ways than one now. Everything can become a PR nightmare. Just look at United Airlines…
Even if you’re getting negative press, it’s always important to respond in a positive way. Never ignore customers. In fact, a study by Basaarvoice showed that 7 out of 10 bad reviewers said that their opinion of the brand was changed after a business responded to their review.
So not all hope is lost.
Unless you’re Cracker Barrel and you just so happened to fire Brad’s wife…
“Fired Cracker Barrel Manager ‘Brad’s Wife’ Becomes Internet Meme”
3) Increased Ads
The amount of paid ads you see on social media is going to increase, and we know this because of two reasons:
1. We’ve beat to death the Facebook algorithm update that happened at the beginning of this year. But it is important to reiterate that the algorithm update did not affect paid ads. Which is a clear sign to me that Facebook wants you to pay-to-play.
Try it yourself. See how long it takes you to scroll before you see an organic business posting that someone didn’t share. Then scroll down from the top of your news feed and see how long it takes you to find a sponsored ad.
Was it the 2nd or 3rd post? Just like Google, paid ads are getting priority in the newsfeed.
2. It’s projected that 80% of media consumed by 2019 will be video. So what does that mean? It means there is going to be a lot more opportunity for ads. YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, and even Twitter.
Facebook and YouTube have even been experimenting with the in-stream video ads that play right in the middle of the video.
Bonus tip: You know those funny quotes you see on Facebook that could just be a picture but for some reason they are videos? Well those posts didn’t go viral organically. They went viral because they were ads.
See Facebook has an ad policy where your image can’t contain more than 20% text. So the way around that is to sponsor the post as if it is a video. That’s how they got all that interaction and those shares.
Going back to number 1, this might be a good opportunity for you brand to engage with your audience with something not necessarily business related.
Learn how to target the right audience and create successful ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
4) Facebook Chatbots
Now I know this one can sound scary, but bear with me.
Before I talk about this one more, open up the Facebook Messenger app and click on the hexagon lightening bolt icon. Then scroll down and look for the “Automated messaging” verbiage on each of the categories.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand notifications so I’m always checking on this tab.
This is a cool area where you can message your favorite brands or news sites about details regarding their products, services, policies, or even updates on the latest events.
Chatbots are taking social media apps by storm accross WeChate, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and many others. It’s actually estimated that 80% of senior marketing and sales executives are either already using chatbots or plan to use them by 2020 and over half of all Americans between 15 and 55 have already used a chatbot before.
“Great, so how do I get started with setting up a chatbot? I’m not a developer, Jake.”
Well just like WordPress plugins, there are tons of resources out there for you to build your own bots without any coding knowledge. One of the 13 YouTube channels to inspire your marketing I listed mentioned a channel called Social Media Examiner. Well who knew they would have their own website?
And guess what. They have a whole article on how to get started with a Facebook Messenger chatbot. Check it out!
There’s a training inside Monthly Marketing Solved on how to set up a Bot for your Business!
5) Social Messaging with Businesses
More and more people are reaching out to businesses directly over social messaging apps. Which are not to be confused with social media apps. For instance, Facebook Messenger is not actually Facebook, it’s their messaging app. I can open the messenger app without actually opening Facebook.
But according to Business Insider, there are more active daily users on these messaging apps than the actual platforms. These apps include WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber. Instagram is also working on their on messaging app called “Direct”.
Because all of your interaction on these apps should be from customers reaching out to you, these can be considered as PR apps. Whether you answer in a timely manner or not, either way it will affect your brand image which in turn affects your brand’s marketing strategy.
I suggest using social listening dashboards such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to make sure you never miss someone sliding into those DMs.
6) Using Influencers
Since we’ve covered many times how organic reach for local businesses are dropping, one great way to increase your reach is to use influencers.
These would be people/not business social media accounts that advertise your product. Similar to network marketing where you get your cousin to share your Facebook post about the Mary Kay products you’re selling.
Except your cousin has thousands of followers and is a stud.
Here is an example of an Instagram influencer (most common)
Hmm. Skorch? Never heard of it. Maybe I’ll check it out, thanks influencer!
7) Live Streaming
I actually mentioned this in the 8 New Social Media Features You’re Not Using (But Should Be) blog, but this one is both a feature and a trend.
Live streams are on the up and up. How do I know this? Well Mediakix came out with a study showing that live stream viewership is up 81% from 2015 to 2016.
But wait there’s more!
The same study also showed that Facebook Live Stream increased in popularity over 33% since it launched in August of 2015 AND they’re viewed 3 times longer than non-live videos.
I’d definitely constitute this as a pretty solid trend that’s taking off. I still blame the fact I get a notification every time a friend or a business live streams. But I only watch it because all the funny stuff happens on live television.
8) Twitter, Because You Still Have To.
Okay it’s not as much of a trend as it is something you should still be focused on doing and keeping at it.
Twitter’s user base is dropping almost as fast as its stock. And with all the bad PR they’ve been getting from Russian accounts, to questionable account bans, to looking like a social media platform for politicians and celebrities, it’s no wonder why.
But that doesn’t mean you should abandon ship.
Twitter is still one of the best ways to communicate with your audience. The best part about it, is there’s no limit to the number of tweets you can send out per day before annoying your customers.
Brands often use this platform as a test platform to see which piece of content gets the most engagement before posting to Facebook or Instagram.
Sorry Twitter… I guess this means you’re the crash test dummy…
But it looks like Wendy’s, Denny’s, and the one remaining Blockbuster (yeah, you read that right) are making the best of a hurting platform.
LOOK! We even made a Twitter Domination program just for you!
9) Mobile Ready Content
More and more platforms are optimizing from mobile. But it comes from pretty compelling data. Mobile usage encompass about 55% of all internet traffic. But that traffic doesn’t necessarily provide the best onsite metrics. For instance, time on site is significantly lower than desktop and bounce rates are higher.
So what does that tell us as marketers? It tells us we need to optimize our landing pages and content to be mobile friendly. If more and more people are looking on their phones for info but have less patience than desktop, then the information we deliver to them needs to be fast and user friendly.
This is one of the reasons why LinkedIn uses lead gen forms as part of their ad campaigns. When you run an ad on LinkedIn, you have an option to create lead gen forms that pop up when the ad is clicked. These of course are mobile optimized.
Make sure your site or landing page is optimized for mobile so your can capture leads in your customer’s busy and impatient lifestyle on social media.
Wow, you made it to the bottom. I’m sorry if this post ran a little long, but if it was short would you have learned as much?
So just to recap, the social trends to keep up with in 2018 are:
- There will be more engagement between people in businesses
- Customers will be holding brand more acocuntable
- Brands are going to be investing more into paid ads
- More and more people are going to be interacting with chatbots
- Social messaging apps are taking business to customer interaction by storm
- Influencers are being used more and more to increase organic reach
- Live streaming is only going to pick up more steam
- Stay on Twitter, do not abandon ship. Let your personality show.
- Mobile users will be expecting more information from you with less time
Hopefully this post has encouraged you to start diving in and learning some of these new trends. If not, that’s okay, we’ve got your back.
Take a look at our Monthly Marketing Solved program and let us help you take care of all of your social media needs for you. We’ll create the content for you and even schedule it out.