The past year has seen continued growth in the usage of social media, with Facebook alone topping two billion active users for the first time in the second quarter of 2017. Its likely 2018 will see more of the same, but what specific social media trends are likely to be big in the coming year? Here are our top five predictions.
- Augmented reality. When the iPhone X launched in November, it incorporated a new “A11 Bionic Chip” purpose-built to handle augmented reality apps. Up until now augmented reality has primarily been harnessed for gaming, but we’re going to be seeing more companies using this technology in inventive ways for marketing purposes via social media, for example by allowing users to virtually project new products into their homes.
- Stronger governance on social media platforms. For better or worse, social media has up until now been pretty much the Wild West of the internet. However, various events of 2017 – including allegations of foreign bots manipulating democratic processes, and countless controversies over extremism, hate speech and cyberbullying – make it likely that the big platforms such as Facebook and Twitter may move to protect themselves from criticism by introducing stricter policies governing what is posted on their sites. Will this have an impact on social media marketing practices? Only time will tell.
- Influencer marketing. The old adage holds that “half of all money spent on marketing is wasted … but no one knows which half.” That can seem particularly true of social media marketing, where many brands struggle to engage social media users. Influencer marketing seems to be the exception. A study last year revealed that 94% of marketers found influencer marketing to be effective. More and more brands are realizing this, and we expect 2018 to be a big year for social media influencer-based marketing strategies.
- Facebook Spaces. There was a relatively low-key beta launch of Facebook Spaces back in April, but we expect to see it getting more attention in 2018. Facebook Spaces is a “social virtual reality (VR)” platform that allows you to connect with your friends in a VR space. It sounds fairly niche, but as Facebook also owns the Oculus VR hardware that is currently in the process of breaking into the mainstream, we could be hearing more of Facebook Spaces in the coming months. Businesses that put some early thought into how to work social VR into their wider social media marketing strategies could gain a considerable competitive advantage.
- Live streaming. This one is hardly a shocker; the past year has seen more and more companies – big and small – make use of live video streaming on social media as a way to engage and connect with customers. It’s a great way to invite customers in and let them see the human face of your brand, and we expect to see live streaming as a component of social media marketing strategies continuing to grow in 2018.
2018 social media trends predict that time on social media platforms will increase. This means you will need to improve your online presence in the year to come. It’s necessary to work with your social team and ensure all your ducks are in a row to capitalize on the social media marketing trends. Learn and reflect on what worked and what needed improvement in 2017 to address the social landscape more effectively. We expect a lot of great things to come this year as we continually monitor trends and changes for the brands we work with. To learn how we can put industry best practices to work for your brand, contact us.