2017 was an astonishingly interesting year in social media. Think about what happened: the new POTUS communicated policy over Twitter, Snapchat was stopped in their tracks when Facebook's Instagram launched a similar service, and LinkedIn proved to many that changing a product when nobody asked for it is a sure fire way to piss off your customer base.
But here's the thing ... social media is just getting started. Evolution is inevitable, and we're about to see a big leap forward. Here are the top 9 trends we're looking at here within the walls of Sync Digital Solutions.
1 - Instagram Takeover
Here's some perspective for you: Super Bowl XLIX is the most watched television event in history with 114 million viewers. Michael Jackson's Thriller is the most sold album in history with 70 million doing that dance in their living rooms to tape, CD, or record.
Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, crushing Snapchat's use by 50 million. By the end of 2018, half of all Instagram users will be posting InstaStories, meaning half of the users are active (which is unheard of).
2 - The Rise of Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality places you into a fantasy world. While gaming is the central platform for AR, social media is not too far behind. Soon, you'll be able to project brands into people's homes and hands with filters, your mom will be seemingly standing next to Hugh Jackman in photos, and shopping will be changed forever.
With the release of the iPhone X and 8, Apple has added a chip that allows the future to intersect with the now. Augmented Reality is going to be a part of our daily lives soon enough.
3 - Influencer Marketing Ramps Up
Letting the public know about your product or service is all that advertising and marketing is. Social media has opened up countless doors to make doing this a much more fluid process. The next level of the experience is influencer marketing though.
Often times, you can look to hospitality as a way of exploring what is coming in the world of marketing, and this industry has been using influencer marketing for years. 90 percent of marketers who actively use influencer marketing as a tool in their kit have reported success.
What is it? Simple, find the people online that have influence over others and try to get them to introduce their following to you.
4 - Generation Z Becomes the Focus
The oldest Gen Zers will be 23 in 2018. They are beginning to enter the labour force, more accepting of social marketing, and will have increased buying power for years to come. This is why they will become so important to strategy in 2018 and beyond. Invest heavily in the platforms they use, but invest properly (in most cases Snapchat advertising is a waste of time and money).
5 - Live Steaming
What was once a novel gimmick has become a mainstream part of social media. Today, brands big and small have started using live streaming to capture the attention of followers.
GORUCK, a backpack manufacturer and the organizer of extreme endurance events, is one example of a medium-sized brand that has grown its reach by live streaming compelling content on Facebook. Thousands of followers tuned in to watch 48-hour coverage of a recent endurance race.
In 2018, more brands will begin to realize the power of live streaming, and will incorporate it into their monthly content plans.
6 - Messaging
Over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally, and yet brands are still primarily focused on connecting with consumers on pure social networks. 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 personalized shopping experiences on messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik.
7 - Twitter 2.0
Here's a secret, as a brand Twitter is fairly useless for most. We at Sync have started to convert client over to other platforms. Even with 280 characters, there is little chance that Twitter will be able to compete in the brand market.
Instead, it's the personalities behind your brands that should be tweeting. Your CEO should be mixing it up, and your Director of Product Development should be active as well. Let's face it, outside of politics, trolling, and complaining, Twitter is pretty much dormant. However, with the right personality your brand can get great traction on the tweet machine.
8 - Facebook Spaces
Facebook isn’t just interested in live video streaming; they’ve been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in VR. Given that Facebook owns Oculus, a virtual reality hardware and software company, it is no surprise that the social media giant is developing a platform to make use of this new technology.
Facebook is poised to scale Spaces in 2018. When they do, it is likely that it will be the first successful VR social media product at scale.
9 - Govern Yourself Accordingly
After a series of controversial decisions during the 2016 presidential election, social media platforms have embraced a more hands-on approach to governing conduct on their platforms. Facebook recently turned over thousands of ads that seem to be connected to Russian meddling, and has invested in new AI and human forms of monitoring.
Given the wide criticism that Facebook and Twitter received during 2017, it is likely that these platforms will embrace codes of conduct and governance policies that protect the brands from future criticism.
Be ready. Employ current techniques, but start looking at those above. As always though, be sure to only activate social programs that make sense for your brand. You don't want to over-extend yourself.
This article contains excerpts from this article.
Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist