Social media went through its fair share of changes in 2017. Instagram Stories proved they’re here to stay. Twitter raised the character limit from 140 to 280. Snapchat went public.
Platforms launch trendy, cutting-edge features left and right, and they affect users and brands equally. So what kind of social media trends can we expect to see throughout 2018?
1. An Increase In Instagram Stories
Since its launch in August 2016, Instagram Stories has acquired more than 200 million monthly users. That’s 50 million more users than Snapchat! By the end of 2018, experts project that almost half of all Instagram users will be using Stories, so there’s a sense of urgency for brands to perfect their Instagram Stories strategy.
2. More Investment In Messaging Platforms
Last year Facebook released Messenger Bots, and Walmart rolled out voice-activated shopping through Amazon Echo’s Alexa and Google Home. Although brands have been slow to jump on the messaging bandwagon, in 2018 they’re slated to invest more resources into connecting with consumers via messaging platforms, chatbots and voice assistants.
It will be interesting to see how brands employ WhatsApp, in particular, which has more than 900 million active monthly users. The app is especially popular in international markets, making it one of the most popular mobile social apps in the world. So far it seems to have caught on more with product-based brands, but it shows promise as valuable platform to provide support and feedback and communicate information blasts–useful tools for any industry.
3. Lots of Live Streaming
What once seemed like a short-lived novelty is now an effective way for brands to connect with followers. Live streaming has proven its status as a social media mainstay. As more brands try to harness the power of live streaming, it will become a more common component in marketing strategies.
4. An Emphasis On Gen Z
Gen Zers, the oldest of whom are 22 years old, are now considered more valuable to organizations than millennials. The eldest contingent of Gen Z is just joining the workforce and commanding more attention than ever. They’re critical of major brands, money-conscious and 60% more likely than the average consumer to hang up the phone if it’s not answered within 45 seconds. Brands have no choice but to step up their customer service and authenticity.
And Gen Z is online. Gen Z-ers spend an average of 4 hours and 10 minutes a day using a mobile device, so we’re more likely to see brands utilizing the social networks they love, like Instagram and Snapchat.
5. The Continued Rise of Influencer Marketing
An influencer is a social media user who has established clout and credibility in a specific niche. It’s hard to scroll through any social media feed without encountering an influencer of two, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere in 2018 because 94% of marketers find influencer marketing to be effective. Traditional marketing strategies just aren’t resonating with consumers like they used to, and influencer marketing offers a more meaningful way to connect.
It can be challenging to integrate cutting-edge social trends into your long-term strategy, especially for small businesses that are often more concerned with the day-to-day than the big picture. If you lack the bandwidth to keep your social strategy current, Webconsuls can help. We specialize in social media optimization and create strategies for businesses that generate leads and increase brand awareness. Contact us to learn more about how we can help design a social strategy that keeps your business up to speed in 2018 and beyond.