4 Social Media Trends for 2018

As a Social Media Specialist, one of the most common questions that I am asked is, “What’s next for social media?” And if you work in digital marketing, or even just manage your own personal social media presence, you know that this can be a tough question to answer! 

Social media moves so fast that unpredictable, significant changes are happening all the time. However, as digital marketing professionals it’s our responsibility to stay ahead-of-the-curve. 

While the next year will undoubtedly throw us some digital curveballs, these are the 4 social media trends and drivers of ROI that should be kept top of mind when planning your 2018 social strategies:

1.Video, Video, Video 

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, timelines have become increasingly heavy with video content. Consumer engagements favour video and, because of this, algorithms will continue to evolve so that both organic and sponsored content will heavily weight video. 

Something to keep in mind when planning your video content: consumers want to see authenticity from brands. With so much automation these days, giving your consumers an unpolished, behind-the-scenes look into your brand and the people behind it will add a level of humanization that is becoming increasingly appealing to customers. 

2. Ephemeral (aka “Disappearing”) Content 

In today’s world, the desire for immediate satisfaction is high and consumers are taking action more quickly than ever before. Undoubtedly, a large portion of this change in behaviour is due to flash sales, social media giveaways and disappearing content. Pioneered by Snapchat and adopted by Instagram and Facebook, disappearing content has become one of the strongest tools to reach consumers. 

With consumers knowing that this content will disappear in 24-hours, the desire to take action is at an all-time high – making strong calls-to-action an essential aspect of ephemeral content. Trying to decide whether your brand should adopt a Snapchat or Instagram Stories strategy? Go for Instagram – the [@username] mention and hashtag capabilities make it much simpler for users to interact with your brand, and Instagram also has an analytics feature for stories, making it easy to prove its worth!

3. Elevated Customer Service 

“Social listening” and “sentiment” are two buzz-words that gained popularity in 2017 and will definitely continue to be relevant into 2018. With competition between brands at an all-time high, content creators are more tuned in than ever to what their communities are saying about their services and products – and consumers know this. 

While getting in touch with Customer Service used to consist of calling or writing an email, consumers are now sharing their feelings and experiences (both positive and negative) with brands in a very public way – on social media. And while this type of social listening and community management is definitely time consuming, it’s an amazing tool to gauge how the community feels about your product. In other words, R&D has never been easier and this is something that brands should definitely be taking advantage of!

4. Influencer Marketing

By 2020, it’s estimated that 20% of marketing budgets will be going to social media, and with the ever-growing popularity of bloggers and influencers, paid partnerships between brands and influencers aren’t going anywhere. 

However, with influencer marketing becoming more and more popular, it’s also becoming more important to only collaborate with influencers who align with your brand and its vision. To maximize the value from each experience, clearly communicating brand goals, aesthetic consideration and key messages is a crucial step in ensuring that the the paid content creators are held accountable for all deliverables.

So whether you’re working for an agency, in-house at a brand, or you are your own brand, 2018 is the year of experimentation. Get your hands dirty, challenge yourself to become the Chief Storyteller, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – because after all, many of these “mistakes” will be gone in 24 hours!

Got something to add? Sound off @jivepr or @jiveprdigital!

Jiver Contributor: Courtney Manson, Social Media Specialist |Tweet her! @courtmanson | Find her on IG! @courtmanson