Technology as a field implores innovation; it is perhaps the fastest moving industry in the world. Social media, technology’s wild child, is no exception to this.
Social media is inherently unpredictable. Companies can push new features or channels all they want, but they won’t always see the results to back their efforts up. Whether it’s content, audience, or channel mismatch, social media success can be elusive.
Part of making the most of social media is knowing what’s hot, and what’s not. Here are five essential social trends you need to make note of for 2018.
2017 was the year live streaming entered our collective consciousness. Which was almost entirely down to Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat: they presented live stream videos in the most accessible, hard-to-ignore packages possible. Live videos suddenly became a great way to add more context to personal and brand stories.
When browsing Instagram, a live stream pops up as a notification almost as if they were streaming just for you. An ingenious way to present the feature; long gone are the archaic days of Meerkat.
And it appears live video’s popularity will only continue to rise in 2018. Look at these stats for some evidence: 82% of online users have stated they prefer to consume video content rather than written, and 88% users are more likely to stay when a page proposes prominent video content.
Use live videos as part of your social strategy to spice things up at an event or awards show, or use them as small instructional features you use to pass on knowledge.
Algorithms Getting Harder To Beat
In some ways, it’s getting harder and harder to engage a genuine social media audience.
For starters, Facebook has made some plans. Huge plans. Massive plans. They have, for the first time in their history, made a decision that didn’t have the overarching premise of increased engagement. They want ‘meaningful’ usage, which apparently isn’t videos of people falling over with garishly blatant text narration. Who would have thought?
Mark Zuckerberg has stated they’re going to ‘tune out’ publishers and brands, focusing more so on the updates of your friends and family. Part of that change has been the realization that passively scrolling through a page full of articles and videos, although addictive, is not good for our collective wellbeing. Read here for more ideas on how to deal with the changing Facebook.
As said, social trends are unpredictable. 2017 alluded towards branded video content becoming increasingly omnipresent, one announcement from Facebook later — that may have been flipped on its head.
It’s a good time to invest in paid advertising on Facebook as the organic game gets tougher and tougher, but make sure you put time and effort into crafting good ads that will gain genuine traction with your audience.
Gamification has been on a steady rise for years. Historically, it has been a tad gimmicky. Moving forward, it will probably mature into something more compelling and useful for social media marketers.
Gamification improves brand loyalty. We’ve seen this with Snapchat; their streak feature is thought to have been one of the key reasons for their somewhat short-lived dominance. Gartner has stated that gamification inspires users to “higher levels of engagement” as humans are “hardwired to enjoy games”. Considering this, we believe its usage will only grow as people seek new ways to engage their target audience(s).
For us, the highlight of gamification in 2017 was when Mind, an app enabling one to connect with a higher sense of mindfulness, gave users achievements for day streaks. It’s a great testament to how even the realms of Zen Buddhism can be harnessed for gamification features!
Think about how you can bring gamification to your social media strategy in 2018. Maybe start with something easy like a competition to get things going?
WeChat & Messenger Takeover
Did you know that the most sold beer in the world is Snow? We doubt most have even heard of that golden nectar. It’s only sold in China but dominates the market there. Similarly, WeChat is one of the biggest social phenomena in the world, and we doubt you’ve ever heard of it. But that’s probably going to change.
WeChat is used by 95% of the 16+ population in China. The app is an amalgamation of Whatsapp, Uber, Slack, and Monzo. It’s popularity has demanded total control of the Chinese market.
Whilst it’s not definite that WeChat will resonate with our market, it comes as no Pay that Facebook are attempting to imitate the model. They’re slowly integrating Facebook pay more and more. Considering their Whatsapp purchase, it appears that Facebook are also trying to dominate the messaging world. Is Uber next?
Value, Not Selling
Last, but most certainly not least: value.
Invasively targeted ads appearing on all social mediums – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter — are having a dulling effect on the consumer. They’ve brought about a renewed questioning of the real value of social media.
Privacy is also at the forefront of social dialogue: all companies that have access to private information have to be totally transparent with their intentions. This will be a key feature of marketing across the board in 2018.
We believe many will look for apps and websites that put the user’s desires first, rather than their own financial incentive of selling information. It’s all about giving people real value and compensation for their time, so make sure that you’re not engaging in any clickbait or low value activities.
Considering the potential changes with Facebook, and the emphasis on privacy; we do believe the consumer will have more power in 2018. It’s an exciting time for brands who are willing to go the extra mile and engage with their audience in a way that’s real and genuine.
Victoria Greene is a freelance blogger and branding expert. On her blog, Victoriaecommerce she shares tips on building awesome brands that people feel compelled to follow