8 Social Media Trends To Prepare For In 2018

2018 is here… are you ready?

It’s no secret that the world of social media changes by the second, and just as we don’t notice our hair growth on a daily basis, we don’t always recognize how the social media landscape around us is changing by the minute until it’s unrecognizable from where it was a year ago. But the reality is that it is evolving, constantly and immensely, and in 2018 there are going to be 8 major trends dictating how that evolution unfolds. Here’s what you need to prepare for:

1. Get Ready For Augmented Reality

Google Glass did not live up to its promise to bring augmented reality to the mainstream in the past, but with Facebook and Snap in the AR ring, it’s likely that 2018 will be the year it finally takes off. With a handful of highly successful AR apps and the rising sales of VR headsets, the chances of it staying in the mainstream are high, which means social media will be one of the most popular applications for the technology, providing an entirely new user interface for social interactions.

How to prepare:

AR and VR are tools that help with intellectual involvement, emotional connections, and multi-sensory attraction, building even more engagement with customers. They represent new patterns for sharing and taking in information. So how can your business prepare for an AR future? Think about how AR/VR make it easier or more appealing for consumers to interact with your brand, seek your services, and use your product. Consider a scenario where all of your customers have their own VR devices in the future, what can you do now to begin preparing your brand, product, social media, website, etc. for that future?

2. Live Streaming Will Continue To Rise

Just as we predicted in our 2017 Trends to prepare for blog back in 2016, Live Streaming DOMINATED last year. In fact, 82 percent of consumers would prefer live video to written social media updates! That’s HUGE, and it’s all thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook supporting the Live format. That being said, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Now that brands and audiences alike have all settled into the format, it’s no longer a fad but an expectation and a necessary part of your social media marketing strategy!

How to prepare:

GO. LIVE. Don’t be shy and understand that it’s not supposed to be perfect. It’s supposed to be authentic! Go Live behind the scenes at your company, do a Q&A, go Live with a friend or an Influencer on Instagram, give a tour, announce a giveaway – the opportunities are endless. The brands who go Live often will be at the top of mind consistently, and those who don’t will be left in the dust.

3. Brand Fatigue

Brand fatigue is the marketing phenomenon where too many brands are flooding social platforms at the same time with similar “salesy” messages and thus blending into the noise or being tuned out entirely. This ongoing phenomenon is guaranteed to force changes to the current social media formula. In 2017 alone, there were more than 50 million small businesses using social media pages to interact with their customers.

How to prepare:

Social media is incredibly popular for a reason and thus has to be included in your business plan, but that increased volume of business is also leading to increased brand fatigue. This makes consumers less likely to engage with your content. Focus on creating better, more original content in 2018 that sets you apart from the rest. Go Live, post authentic photos and videos, and use graphics that represent your unique style.

4. Instagram Is the Top Choice for Brands

This is no longer just an opinion. The numbers don’t lie. Instagram is growing rapidly among businesses; 70.7% of businesses were using Instagram in 2017 (nearly double the number of businesses that used Instagram in 2016), and 80% of Instagram accounts follow at least one business. Additionally, businesses can now use Stories Highlights, go Live with a Friend, and so much more.

How to prepare:

If you’re not on Instagram, get on it TODAY and make sure you are set up as a company page. Begin curating content and start getting your friends and family to follow and share your content. If you’re on Instagram and you haven’t posted in a while, GO LIVE! Update your story. Post about what’s coming in the new year from your brand. Get followers excited and start engaging with them! Instagram is going to play a major, if not the most important role, in your digital marketing plan for 2018.

5. Instagram Stories Drive Instagram Trends

If you’ve been avoiding Instagram Stories because you thought they might die out, we’re here to tell you that they’re not going anywhere and they happen to be a big deal. Daily viewers of Instagram Stories surpassed daily SnapChat viewers just one year after launch, and the growth isn’t slowing down. They’re going to be extremely relevant from a marketing perspective because, compared to other fleeting video platforms, Instagram metrics are exceptionally trackable and their foundation is social media engagement gold.

How to prepare:

Implement Instagram Stories strategies as soon as possible. Take your followers behind the scenes, tease a new product or office location, promote an event, do a Q&A or take advantage of one of the many popular current features such as polls, boomerangs and stop-motion stories. If you have over 10,000 followers, you can even share a link in your stories, enticing followers to swipe up for a video, blog or product!

6. Accessible Through Messaging Platforms

This is one element where other countries are years ahead of the United States. For instance, WeChat and WhatsApp are absolutely omnipresent across either ocean, reaching across multiple functions to dominate social media, direct messaging, and commerce and it’s going to catch on in the U.S. in 2018 for one reason: It’s great for business.

How to prepare:

In 2018, expect to invest more time and money in connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. More and more consumers are Generation Z and the easier you are to reach in an instant, the more likely you’re going to win them over.

7. Local And Personal Experience

With Google putting a higher emphasis on search results for local companies, online consumers wanting more local interactions, and Instagram promoting features such as Location Stories, local and personal experiences will sharply increase in popularity. This is going to be a benefit for both entrepreneurs and consumers, as well as the communities in which they live in.

How to prepare:

The more local and personal your campaigns and posts are, the better chances you’ll have at connecting with your audience, and differentiating yourself from the crowd. Target your local area, tag your location, follow local businesses and always keep your finger on the pulse of the community!

8. Generation Z to Decide Social Media Trends

Gen Z is the generation born after 1992 who grew up entirely in the digital age, compared the second most popular consumers, millennials, who are the children of baby boomers and briefly remember an age before the internet. According to RetailDive, Generation Z is two-to-three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts and are the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions.

How to prepare:

Generation Z is graduating and entering the workforce and has incredible buying power, approximately $44 billion. Marketers need to take the characteristics of this generation into account, while still targeting the now-aging millennials. Study the 8 points we’ve included above and use these innovations to appeal to the millennial and Gen Z demographics. Focus on unique content, mobile-optimization, being easily accessible and, most importantly, being on top of the trends!

The world of social media is constantly changing and it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.

Not preparing your business for these trends in 2018 is preparing to fail. If you want to remain relevant in the competitive world of social media marketing, stay tuned here for the latest trends, tips and tricks, and don’t hesitate to update your brand strategy to fit these new opportunities!

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