As 2017 is coming to an end, marketers are getting ready for the upcoming year. They predict new trends, and prepare new strategies. I recently listened to Hootsuite’s Webinar on social media trends for 2018, so I’ll share with you the key takeaways to help you prepare your social media strategies effectively and on time.
I. Where social media networks are headed
Social media networks are constantly evolving, and they will offer new opportunities for businesses next year.
Facebook – Facebook is pushing three important features for 2018: mobile video; messenger ads to encourage businesses to communicate more with their customers; and FB groups as a way for brands to engage with their audiences, and people to engage with content outside of the crowded newsfeed.
YouTube – YouTube will focus more on high-quality content in the future. It will become the go-to platform for mobile streaming, and it will grow into a platform for live streaming and social tv content.
Instagram – Instagram is growing fast and brands are seeing organic and peer-to-peer success on this network. They are introducing a lot of new advertising features, such as links in ads and stories which you can add to your e-commerce or website.
Twitter – Twitter has now a lot of video and personalized recommendations, direct response ad formats, and a particularly important feature is in-stream video ads. Twitter is partnering with some big media brands, and that can help you reach broad audiences.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn will have more CRM integrations with Microsoft cloud products, which will be key for B2B businesses. They want to become the number 1 platform where professionals consume content, so they are introducing many social features, such as video creation tool, messenger features, Snapchat geofilters for events and conferences, etc.
II. Three key challenges for organizations in 2018
Organizations will face three key challenges in the upcoming year:
- To find solution for declining organic reach
- To keep pace with algorithmic shifts and social network innovation
- Proving the ROI of existing strategies, before moving to new innovation
III. Global social behaviors
- Social dominates time spent on mobile – Every 1 in 3 minutes spent on mobile is spent inside a social app. As consumers spent more time on social networks, new types of behaviors increase.
- Passive social behaviors continue to climb – Users primarily use social media to find entertainment, to access the news, and fill their spare time. There is more engagement on specialized social media platforms.
- Consumers integrate social deeper into their purchase journeys – 28% of global internet users use social network for online product research. This sets the stage for social commerce and more functional uses of social media.
IV. Five social media trends for 2018
These are the social media trends Hootsuite shared for next year, and practical ways for you to put them into action.
Trend 1: The evolution of social ROI
Marketers that are not being able to prove ROI find it difficult to be successful on social media, to win executive support, or get budget for new innovations. The problem is that while data is easy to collect, it’s hard to tie to business outcomes. Three shifts to ROI measurement need to be made: measuring beyond content performance metrics; measuring the activity with customer journey stages; and CMOs helping in identifying the business objectives for social.
Hootsuite recommendations: invest first in what you can measure; nail the basics with UTM codes; follow Hootsuite’s ROI framework; and map your metrics to the customer journey.
Trend 2: Mobile fuels the growth of social TV
Social video is on the rise, and social networks are shifting more toward broadcast style content and metrics. It’s also estimated that Internet advertising spend will outpace traditional TV spend. The main social TV opportunities for companies include: extending traditional TV content to mobile audiences; creating new partnerships with micro influencers and community engagement with groups; and launching products with live podcasts and innovating with Facebook’s Live API.
Hootsuite recommendations: include social video as a tactic in your strategy; combine SEO and Facebook Live; partner with Watch Tab influencers; and consider shifting budgets back to Facebook video ads.
Trend 3: Trust declines, while peer influence rises
People lack faith in the old institutions that include government, media, business, and NGOs, and they turn to people they know and trust. Peers have become more relevant than any other source of information. Marketers are also becoming skeptical about mega influencers and celebrity endorsements, and they are too valuing peer-to-peer recommendations and genuine endorsements from people close to the brand or the product. So, 2018 will reward businesses that put people at the center of their marketing strategy.
Hootsuite recommendation: think beyond reach and traffic and focus on creating customer and employee advocacy; build advocate communities with FB groups; use micro and macro influencers; and go unscripted on Facebook Live.
Trend 4: Humans, meet AI
There is an interest and adoption of AI by some innovative companies, and there will be more adoption and practical applications of AI in 2018. However, brands need to make sure that their AI strategies are human, helpful, and relevant. AI use cases for social marketing include: humans and bots helping customers together to elevate customer care; messaging apps will become much more personalized content channels; and AI will provide faster time to insights with predictive analysis.
Hootsuite recommendations: you can get your own report robot, like Quill Engage Google Analytics tool, and build with a bot template, so you can find a solution partner that will augment your social media strategy with AI.
Trend 5: The promise and reality of social data
Organizations are struggling with social data because of: lack of time and resources needed for social data projects; integration of social data with other tools; and culture and politics, because different departments have different agendas and data can be political.
Hootsuite recommendations: Marketers need to be comfortable making assumptions and pull out insights to make better decisions and guide new strategies. They can also combine social data with more traditional sources of customer insight, like market research.
It seems like 2018 will be an exciting year for social media, and now that you now what to expect, start creating appropriate social media strategies for your business.