Remember that old saying that one human year is the equivalent of seven dog years? Well, I would argue that in many ways the same could be said for social media.
Things change so quickly in the online world that the minute you think you’ve caught up with what the “experts” are doing, you’re already behind.
So as you begin to plan your marketing strategies and online campaigns, here are the biggest social media trends to watch out for in 2018:
1. Video content
One of the biggest trends of 2017 was the explosion in live-streaming and video content. More than 500 hours of videos are watched on YouTube daily.
Clearly, there is a lot of power in video marketing and this trend is not going anywhere in 2018. In fact, it has been estimated that by 2019, video content will make up 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic.
On average, video content generates 1,200 percent more shares than text or visual content alone. This means that if you thought video marketing was just a passing fad, it’s time to start taking it seriously.
2. Influencer marketing
2017 has been the year of the social media influencer and it’s no surprise why. Influencer marketing gives brands like Hubspot and Rolex a unique opportunity to partner with influencers to help them expand their reach.
Traditional outbound marketing is less effective than ever with most millennials using some sort of ad blocking software. And 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based off of a reference seen on social media.
There are three main categories of influencers: micro-influencers, macro-influencers, and mega-influencers. 2017 was a good year for micro-influencers. And in 2018, we can expect to see many companies developing campaigns that utilize all three types of influencers.
If you haven’t gotten on this bandwagon yet, I encourage you to review your existing content and pick out 5 pieces that could benefit from a little micro-influencer love. Now look at each piece and ask yourself which influencers might care about that post enough to comment, share or even retweet it. Begin to establish relationships with those influencers, and start with the small ones. Asking Nike to promote your new line of fashion socks is probably not realistic, so try to narrow your thinking.
Here’s an example from my own blog. I recently wrote a post defining Medicare’s Part B excess charges. These are charges that occur when a medical provider marks up a Medicare bill by 15% and then balance bills the patient.
Hardly a topic that the general public in America is dying to read about, but extremely important to a doctor that is having a hard time collecting on these bills because patients don’t know what they are.
It’s the perfect post for me to use to introduce myself to doctor’s offices who can benefit from sharing information that increases their patient’s knowledge. Now I have my target and I can begin buttering them up. Later on, when they know and trust me, I can occasionally ask them to share a piece of content that is more slightly promotional for my business.
3. Ephemeral content
You heard it here first — the next big buzzword of 2018 could be “ephemeral content.” This basically just refers to any sort of impermanent content, like Snapchat and Instagram stories, live-streamed videos, etc.
For marketers, it’s kind of scary to imagine putting in the work to create content that won’t last. Isn’t it better to just create Evergreen content that you can continue to reuse over and over again? Maybe not…
Let’s face it, we all struggle with a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out).A post on Snapchat lasts for 24 hours before disappearing permanently and ironically, it’s short-lived nature is largely the basis of its appeal. Users are more likely to view online “stories” simply because they know they won’t be there for long.
And ephemeral content seems more authentic and far less spammy that sponsored online ads. This provides a huge opportunity for brands to create interesting content, build trust, and grow a stronger connection with their audience.
4. Augmented reality
Augmented reality has been slow to gain traction but that could change very quickly in the coming year. This past year, Apple released the iPhone 8 and iPhone X which give its users an augmented reality experienced.
This will likely become a trend with many social media platforms as well; in fact, Snapchat has already introduced a new AR feature. This could provide an opportunity for brands to use similar features to promote their products.
Ikea has already done this by introducing their Place app which allows its users to see how different types of furniture would look in their home before purchasing it. All users have to do is hold up their phone to scan the surrounding room and the app allows the user to place 3D furniture objects around the room.
The beginning of a new year is always exciting, and I am looking forward to seeing how each of these social media trends play out. What social media trends are you most excited for?
Danielle Kunkle is the co-founder of Boomer Benefits, a licensed insurance agency specializing in Medicare-related insurance products. She and her team help people learn the ropes in regards to Medicare across 47 states every day. You can learn more about Danielle and her team at https://boomerbenefits.com.
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