It’s hard to imagine life before social media, even though Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat - social profiles have been around for less than a decade. At IMG Digital I manage the social media accounts for our clients and every year I am excited to see the new trends.
Some remain skeptical at the power of social media, after all Facebook first launched as a platform for college students to meet each other. B2C businesses were the first to adopt social into their marketing mix and it’s paid off (95% of online adults aged 18-34 are most likely follow a brand via social networking). This means high exposure at a relatively low cost for businesses who keep a social media presence. Today, we also see B2B social media marketers reaping the benefits. There are now more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook Pages to connect with their customers (Source: Facebook). 4 million of those businesses pay for social media advertising on Facebook. (Source: Forbes). Whether, B2C or B2B, social media has become a crucial part of digital communication strategies and change happens very quickly.
Here are the top social media trends for 2018 to watch out for:
1. Visual competition on social media
This year I attended the marketing conference INBOUND 2017, where I took a class on How to Grow an Engaged Instagram Following - Fast! While this sounds great, I took away a few key points from this class. Social media is crowded. The only way to stand out is to create visual content that makes an impact. Consumers recall visuals better than plain-text, they respond to and share visual content. Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Your social media content needs to be visually appealing and it should also follow a theme or style guide. Use brand colors, keep a consistent look and feel, post unbranded content, create GIFsh, rich media and short videos.
2. Social media marketing will be more strategic
Learning how to use the different social media platforms and what content to post can be a daily challenge. Take your social media marketing to the next level: create goals, get to know your audience, what they want and what they want to see. By creating monthly or quarterly plans social media will be easier to manage. Then take the time to look at the social media marketing metrics as you get ready to start your next campaign.
3. Facebook is becoming entirely mobile
According to AdAge, it's predicted that 59% of U.S. users will access Facebook through mobile exclusively, further 80% of the company's ad revenue already comes from mobile ads. This should not come as a surprise. People communicate on mobile phones and they discover things they like on social media. This year Facebook launched LeadAds to reach their users on mobile devices and to make lead capture easy for businesses. Lead ads remove the mobile-friendly issue that many businesses face because the “landing page” is attached to the ad through Facebook. I see this as an opportunity in 2018 for every small or medium sized business to improve lead flow.
4. Video, video, video - do I have to say it again?
Video is fun and engaging! Social media makes it easy to scroll through posts and find videos we love. Video has been trending for the past few years but I really want to put an emphasis on it this year, especially when it comes to social media. In 2017, online video will have accounted for 74% of all online traffic (KPCB). But don’t forget video has to have a purpose. What are your goals? What will the video accomplish? Are you creating brand awareness, lead generation, company culture, increase website traffic - make sure you have an objective and you see it through.
5. User generated content
The internet is a crowded place. As a marketer we have been told to create content with a purpose - and lot’s of it. Over the past year, I have noticed a decrease in the amount of content and an increase in the quality of content. Another way to combat content creation is user generated content (USG).
"USG" is the term used to describe any form of content, such as social media, that was created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service and is publicly available to other end-users.
Not only is UGC much cheaper to implement (practically free in certain instances), it is also more effective. UGC is more prevalent on Instagram and by sharing quality content that speaks to your brand or business you can take some of the pressure off. Just don’t forget to send a quick message asking permission first!
2018 may only be a few months away, but the trends for social media in 2018 is a topic that IMG Digital Inc has top of mind. Social media presents big opportunities for marketers to connect with audiences, create and distribute more engaging content and build their brands’ following.