Social Media:

Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

Sarah Porter
  • Senior Designer
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Social media is constantly evolving. Whether it’s algorithms being changed or features being added, you can bet the impact is being felt somewhere. Trends come and go, but some advancements stick around for a lot longer and have a much bigger influence on the future of social media marketing. With all these changes, what can we expect to be making big waves this year in the world of social media and how can we make sure our marketing is taking full advantage?

Video

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Video has been stood on the winners’ podium for some time now and doesn’t seem set to step down. Quite the opposite in fact…

Live streaming proved its worth last year, with

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live videos on average receiving six times as many interactions as regular videos
via Facebook newsroom
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So it’s only right that this is an area likely to see further advancements in the year to come. Facebook has announced the introduction of ‘watch parties’, which basically means that members of a group can all watch the same video at the same time and interact together about it. These videos can be either live or recorded. In a status update, Mark Zuckerberg said “too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience” so this push towards watching videos together seems part of a concerted effort to drive more interaction and reduce the tendency to merely observe, alone. With Facebook placing such focus on video as the key to encouraging more interaction, it seems likely that video will remain a highly valuable channel for marketing your business in 2018.

Ephemeral content

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Content which is only available for a short period of time before disappearing, by its nature creates a sense of urgency to act – or interact. So Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Stories, which are only available for up to 24 hours, encourage followers to act quickly rather than miss out. Similarly to live videos and watch parties on Facebook, the timeliness of Stories makes them an exciting new area to explore within social media marketing in order to achieve fast interaction from your customers.

Social messaging apps

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Social messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber are becoming an increasingly popular tool used by brands to communicate with their customers. With more people now using messaging apps than social media apps, businesses have rightly seen a window of opportunity in this area. Social messaging apps are changing the way brands can communicate with their customers, allowing for valuable one-on-one conversations rather than merely speaking en masse.

Chatbots are being successfully rolled-out to streamline this process. Although there is still some way to go, chatbots are getting more and more advanced, able to instantly solve a customer’s problems, take orders or, when needed, redirect the customer to speak to the correct real person. This will, no doubt become more sophisticated as chatbots continue to be developed. Businesses need to react to customers much faster than they ever used to prior to social media, or face the wrath of unhappy customers shaming them publicly. With this in mind, automated social messaging, if used well, is a great way to efficiently answer all simple queries and free-up actual people to react to more complicated issues.

Social Listening

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The use of social listening tools to analyse marketing efforts on social media will continue to be vital. The tools available are improving all the time and providing us with more insights than ever before – and not just stats on the amount of likes and comments your post is receiving. Insights into relevant topics and hashtags for your brand are readily available through the use of social listening apps, which will help you focus your social media marketing more successfully.

One area in particular – sentiment analysis, is allowing us to research how well particular words, phrases, topics or hashtags are being received by your audience on social media. This kind of market research is invaluable before you launch a campaign based around a subject that is having a very negative response on social media. If you inadvisably miss out the research stage, you should still test the sentiment in which your current social media campaign or your brand generally, has been received on social media, to help you better plan future activity. Remember, interaction is only good if it’s positive. Millions of comments on your social media post to tell you how inappropriate your campaign is in the light of current affairs for example, will not do your brand any good.

In the ever-changing world of social media, the key is to remain aware and to be ready to adapt whenever the need arises. Here’s to the year ahead and to embracing change!

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