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Social media has changed the way we do business, interact socially and has undoubtedly shaped our lives.

This year has seen a shift in how we consume content and the savvy amongst us have kept up with trends and used them to our advantage to build brand, foster customer relationships and make some serious money.

As we move into 2018 it will become increasingly important to stay ahead of the game or at the very least keep up with it.

Here’s our predictions for 2018:

1. Instagram explodes

It’s been a incredible year for Instagram. In 2017, the social juggernaut announced that approximately 800 million people use the platform each month.

Their latest tool, Instagram Stories, became more popular than Snapchat just one year after going live.

Since brands tend to see better engagement on Instagram than any other social media platform, and increasingly great advertising controls, Instagram is where brands spend and make their big bucks.

2. FOMO means ephemeral content keeps kicking ass

This type of content lasts only a short time (no longer than 24 hours) and then disappears forever.

Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Stories and live streaming videos are some examples of ephemeral content. And it’s on the rise, thanks to its popularity with Gen Z-ers.

Instagram burger

Some marketers are concerned about putting effort and money into creating content that won’t be around for long. But the truth is, provided you have created something that’ll capture people’s attention and have a clever marketing strategy for it, you’ll go far.

This kind of content really works for a number of reasons:

  • It can undoubtedly strike a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect, encouraging your audiences to take fast action
  • It comes across as more authentic
  • Its a brilliant way to preview and showcase launches, promotions and other content that has an expiration date
  • It’s super easy for users to access the content. For Snapchat, for instance, all you need is a Snapcode and on Instagram Stories you simply swipe up.

3. Focus on Generation Z

Banking giant Goldman Sachs recently conducted a study which concluded that Generation Z was more valuable to most organisations than millennials. Today, the oldest Gen Z-ers are 22 years old. They are just beginning to enter the work force, and will have increased buying power for some time.

The most in tune brands will recognise this, and will shift their social media strategies accordingly. Expect lots of investment in platforms such Snapchat and Instagram, loved by this generation.

4. Influencers keep influencing

Influencers creating compelling content with engaged followers – when done well it can be extremely effective.

Consumers prefer organic content, content that feels less staged and more natural.

Micro-influencers (someone who has established credibility in a particular industry or location reaching between 500 – 5000 followers) and influencers (those with more then 5,000 followers) are particularly useful because they’re trusted by their followers. And sponsored subtle content, when done well, can be extremely effective, provided they come across as authentic.

Nearly 95% of marketers who use an influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Brands interested in connecting with prospective buyers through social media will continue to turn to influencer marketing.

5. Social video keeps rising

It has been predicted that online videos will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.

While social video can be extremely effective (LadBible’s increasing reach and success on Facebook is notable), businesses need to make sure they’re creating content that resonates with their audience, actually reflects their business objectives and is tied to measurable metrics.

Business to businesses companies will invest more into LinkedIn video as the platform opens up it’s native video ability to businesses pages after adding this feature for LinkedIn members in 2017.

6. Increasing brand participation and customer service in messaging platforms

Over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms across the world, and yet brands are still primarily focused on connecting with consumers purely on social networks and email marketing.

It is clear Facebook and others are taking the hint too, they continue to test new features in Messenger – including taking inspiration from Snapchat streaks – Facebook’s Experimenting with Messenger Streaks, Once Again Taking Cues from Snapchat.

In 2018, expect brands to invest more time and money in connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. Artificial intelligence, voice assistants and chatbots will enable brands to offer personalised shopping experiences on messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik.

7. Evolution of live streaming

This year live streaming became a bigger part of social media. Today, brands big and small have started using live streaming to capture the attention of followers.

With Facebook’s 2017 acquisition of Fayteq, a German company specialising in Augmented Reality and the the manipulation of objects in live streams, we could see an increased use of AR-enhanced live streams in 2018. That could be an interesting way for brands to bring customers into their world.

AR social media trend 2018In 2018, more brands will begin to realise the power of live streaming, and will incorporate it into their content plans. Keep your eyes peeled for an improved use of VR, AR and 360 video as the quality of live streaming also increases.

8. Twitter is dead, long live Twitter

In July we wrote a post questioning the potential downfall of Twitter and indeed it was a difficult year for them. The platform has struggled to innovate, make improvements to their advertising feature and increase engagement.

There have been lots of different whispers about Twitter, some say it will be sold to private investors and others think the platform will be changed to include a subscription element.

Whatever happens they have begun to take the hint and have started to spend time developing it’s ad product (check out their ‘Promote mode‘), which had fallen behind other platforms, and have started making some polarising changes – like increasing their character limit to 280.

So there we have it, some thoughts about what’s set to happen in 2018. We always say try not to take on too much – less is more. Even if you just pick a couple of those things and do them really well, you’ll be laughing.

If you’d like to work any of the above in your marketing strategies or just throw ideas around, feel free to drop us a line.