We have just gotten through the first month of 2018 and many marketers are still trying to figure out what will be the top social media trends for the year. This will be the year that social media becomes the top engagement tool. Video will also be the backbone of many companies' content strategy. Finally, you'll notice how customer-centric these trends are. Customers are more concerned about the companies they're buying from and what they're consuming.
Check out these top social media trends to ensure you have them all in your social media plan for this year.
More Engagement Between Brands and Customers
We've entered an era where brands and customers can interact directly. Customers can voice exactly what they want from a brand and companies can react swiftly to that feedback.Think of all the Instagram posts you've seen of people mentioning a brand's product they have in their photo. Brands are also engaging more with their customers to get feedback through social media and influencer marketing campaigns.
Social as a Core Stream of Customer Care
As more consumers shift to interacting with brands directly over social media, more expect that they can field questions and complaints there, too. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all plausible customer service channels for brands. Messaging apps will also become solidified as a customer care channel in 2018.
When customers mention or comment with a problem, your customer care reps can reach out directly through Facebook messenger or WhatsApp to resolve problems. Meeting your customers where they are is one of the top social media trends for 2018.
More Social Listening
To ensure they're not missing any comments or complaints, brands will use more social listening tools in 2018. In the social media age, customers consider an unanswered comment or complaint to a brand unacceptable. That's why there will be a new emphasis on using social listening tools so social media managers don't miss a connection or complaint.
Social listening tools can also help brands build better relationships with their customers. Not all mentions or comments are complaints. Some people really want to share their love for a product which makes for a great connection opportunity.
Brands Will Take a Stand on Social Media
In the past year, there have been countless examples of companies stating what they believe on social media. While many more examples have been as a result of activities in the U.S. political sphere, it's giving companies more courage to state what they believe.
Content Will Be More Engaging
Brands can already get a fairly good idea of what kind of content their customers engage with through platform analytics. Those analytics dashboards can help social media managers understand what time and type of post are best to post. With social listening tools, companies can also get a better idea of what kind of content sits best with their customers. It is fierce so there's no room for average content.
Augmented Reality Will Take Off
Riding on the coattails of Pokemon Go, brands have started to harness the power of AR to make social media more engaging for their customers. A great example is Snapchat's filter system. Users can superimpose a dog face that moves with theirs.
Companies can also utilize AR in their branded apps to help customers visualize how a new piece of furniture or paint color will look in their home.
VR Will Continue to Grow
We've already seen a rise in more VR-adapted content and that will continue to be one of the most exciting social media trends of 2018. If you follow the New York Times on Facebook, you've maybe seen their VR videos. They allow users to see a war zone, factory, or event firsthand.
TOMS has also utilized VR by producing a short video of a trip to Peru where customers can see the impact their purchase has on those in need.
More Live Video
Live video provides an easy way for customers to interact with brands in real-time. They can share reactions and ask questions as an event is going on. Live video is also a fantastic way for companies to get more customer engagement. Facebook recently shared that live videos on their platform get up to six times more interactions than regular videos.
More Video in General
Video is still and will continue to be the most popular type of content. This goes for social media and web content. Most marketers recognize the importance of developing video content for their companies. In a 2017 survey, marketers said they planned to increase video spend on Facebook (63%), YouTube (63%), Twitter (52%), and Instagram (50%).
Instagram launched its stories features shortly over a year ago to compete with Snapchat. In just a year, Instagram stories had more daily active users than Snapchat. Instagram stories are much more customizable than Snapchat, allow you to tag other users, and add in fun art. It's no wonder they're more popular than Snapchat.
It'll Be Difficult to Monetize
This past election, Facebook and Twitter were exploited against the public. With heightened concerns about transparency, these platforms will make it more difficult for everyone including brands to achieve high visibility for their target audiences.
User-Generated Content Will Get Bigger
UGC is a highly engaging way to interact with your audience. Your customers feel appreciated when you share their content and you get people generating content for you. Win-win. Leaning on UGC is also great news for your reach and impressions. As social networks buckle down on paid search and the reach paid search will have, you need to leverage your audience to get your message out there.
More Voice Search
As more people turn to their smartphones and home assistants to run searches, the need for voice-optimized content increases. While we're not entirely sure how the use of voice will cause social media to evolve, we can guess that search, as well as text-to-voice, might play a role in it. After all, you can already have your Alexa read your Tweets over your morning coffee.
Influencer Marketing Will Still Be Popular
Influencer marketing took off a couple of years ago and it's not slowing down. To tap into new and broader audience bases, brands are engaging social media influencers more often to spread the word about new products. Content surrounding these brands can involve how-to's, recipes, makeup tutorials, DIYs, and many other themes.
Exciting Social Media Trends for 2018
We don't know about you, but we're excited to see these social media and social advertising trends unfold in 2018. From video to a new emphasis on customer experience, companies only stand to gain from maximizing these trends.
If you need help adjusting your social media strategy to accommodate these trends, click here to learn more about our social media marketing service.