10 Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2018

As most businesses are aware at this point, social media is an integral part of every business’s marketing efforts. Now that we’re two months into 2018, it’s a good time to look back at what we’re already learning about social media this year and predict what some of the biggest trends will be. There are several things we need to discuss, so we’ve decided to split this decision into two parts. Here is the first set of trends to watch for:

Bigger Focus on Generation Z

For the past few years, a huge emphasis has been placed on millennials in terms of marketing – what they expect from businesses, how they shop, the kinds of brands they want to do business with, etc. This group is still extremely important, but now we’re moving into the era of Generation Z. This new generation is even more focused and reliant on technology and social media than the millennials before them – and that means you can expect a bigger focus on this specific group throughout the year and beyond.

Increase in Influencer Marketing

These days, there are tons of influencers in nearly every industry who help their followers decide what to buy, where to shop, and which brands to stay away from. Businesses will embrace these influencers even more as we move through 2018. And who can blame them? Even one positive shout-out on Twitter from someone being followed by thousands of people can bring in new customers. If you’ve been holding off on making this a part of your strategy, now might be the time.

Expansion of Live Streaming

While some naysayers and grumpy types have labeled the current generation of kids and adults as self-absorbed when it comes to sharing their experiences on social media, they’re basically just doing what the term suggests – being social. They want to live in the now, and that often means the use of live streaming to get their views and points across to others. On the flip side, they also respond favorably to businesses that jump into the format, too. So if it’s possible, grab a phone and join in on the fun!

Fast Rise of Instagram Stories

Instagram has pretty much been a hit since it first appeared as a social media platform. Last year, they introduced Instagram Stories, which is a feature that basically operates like Snapchat – photos and videos that users create disappear after 24 hours. Even though it’s less than a year old, it’s been predicted that half of all users will be using this convenient feature by the end of 2018. If you business is looking for more exposure, this is a great tool to utilize.

More Augmented Reality

While augmented reality hasn’t bled over to social media quite yet, this is something that any business will want to pay attention to. This new technology allows users to interact with their environment in ways that simply wasn’t possible before. Eventually, platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and others will find a way to use augmented reality to further engage their users. We don’t know exactly when it will happen, but it will happen. So, start thinking about it now.

More Ad Growth

It doesn’t seem like too long ago when ads on social media were sketchy at best. Many people doubted their effectiveness, which prevented a lot of businesses from trying it out. Luckily, this is no longer true. Ads on social media have proven themselves to be extremely effective and more than worth the investment of both time and money. Social media platforms are aware of this current trend, so several of them are planning to expand their advertising possibilities in 2018.

Increase in Local Experiences

A shift has been occurring for a while where consumers are wanting to celebrate and frequent local companies over ones they typically find on the Internet from several cities or states away. Google has jumped on board with this idea by putting a greater emphasis on local companies when providing search results. As you might expect, many business owners have already embraced this transition and are now more likely to interact with their communities.

Brands Will Move to Messaging

Online messaging through social media platforms has been around for many years, but it’s mostly been limited to peers chatting and sharing with each other. Going forward, we could very well see a change in how certain brands view messaging. Many companies have been interacting with their customers on social media platforms for years and now it seems like a large number of them are poised to begin using messaging as a communication tool. Your business might want to consider joining them as a way to further connection with existing and potential customers.

Facebook Spaces Could Become a Thing

No matter what you think of the social media giant, you can’t deny that Facebook is great at keeping up with trends and going beyond expectations. This year, you can expect Facebook Spaces to start catching on. Spaces utilizes virtual reality models (currently Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) to offer users yet another way to interact with their friends, only this time in a VR sense by transforming you and what’s around you into a virtual world of sorts. It sure looks fun… and you can expect businesses to enter the fray, as well.

Possible Transformation of Twitter

Twitter has always had a tough go of it. For years, they’ve been trying to figure out how to make more money from the platform. Despite millions of users – including tons of politicians and celebrities – they’ve struggled with pulling in numbers that could sustain their product. In 2017, we saw a revolutionary change from their 140-character limit up to a 280-character limit. For 2018, we can expect even bigger changes as they fight to get a bigger chunk of the social media market (and the dollars involved), so businesses should be ready for anything.

Between these two blogs, you should have plenty of social media info to keep you going for a while. But, don’t forget that for the experts at Madison Taylor Marketing, what we’ve covered here is just the beginning. If you truly want to take your marketing efforts to the next level, be sure to reach out to our experts.

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