Updated Apr 3, 2018
Social Media keeps growing as a Marketing Channel. Social Media Networks like Snapchat and Instagram established their position as Ad Networks, and even if Facebook only created its Advertising Platform a couple of years ago, it’s now one of the biggest advertising platforms on the planet. Social Media platforms are under pressure as never before to monetize their millions of users and they are offering more tools and formats for advertisers. Snapchat has no advertising platform for European companies yet but has had great success in terms of Advertising in 2017 as companies use the geolocation features of Snapchat to detect which shops they visit. The current active user base is suffering from Instagram becoming bigger and stealing away Snapchat users by adding functionalities that were first seen on Snapchat. This particular aggressive behavior of copying functionalities, which was prior only known to me by copycat kings “The Samwer Brothers”, shows that social media networks fight for the users and their precious time and they will proceed in 2018.
Regarding which advertising channels marketers have invested in throughout 2017, social ads hold the highest growth at 72%
Facebook offers the most advanced platform and the most significant amount of users for Social Media Marketing but also restrained users with their limitation of organic reach for regular posts on pages or profiles.
If you want to promote your content on Facebook now, you’ll have to invest money to do so. But what are the trends, the positive changes in Social Media that could help businesses to increase their reach and connect with potential customers in 2018? Here are the top Social Media Trends we see for 2018.
Instagram Stories, Snapchat & Animated Content
Snapchat might not be as popular anymore but Instagram Stories and Animated content within Snapchat and Instagram stories is one of the biggest things right now. It’s important to create high quality content to be able to engage with the masses but it also opens up a whole new level of possibilities tdue to the use of mobile only, fast pace video and disappearing stories (if you don’t highlight them). There are still many businesses that do not leverage Social Media and especially Instagram and Snapchat to their full potential. It’s not just about publishing a nice photo every day anymore, it’s big and you should start to learn what works for you on these channels in 2018.
Live Videos are the on the rise. With Smartphones and Apps like Periscope, Youtube and now Facebook that support live streaming, Live Streaming is a trend that will keep growing in 2018. It’s easier than ever to set up a stream and transmit live from wherever you are. Press companies are already taking a great advantage of this, equipping their reporters with Mobile only setups but still keep their relatively high-quality standards. With faster devices and constantly improving connection speeds live streaming will grow in 2018 and you’ll see more Live Streams in your Facebook feed and on Youtube.
How businesses can take advantages of the trend: Get ready for streaming now! You could plan your next webinar or transmit a company event in live. Report and document what is happening in your business and share it with the users. Live Videos in Facebook can be kept and used as videos later, you can use that for your advantages and also use the materials for Advertising campaigns you are running.
Chatbots & Customer Support
If you didn’t check out chatbots yet, now is the time. eCommerce businesses and companies that have high volumes of customer support could be especially interested in this. Chatbots got big in 2017 and you can now find several thousand of them on Facebook? The idea is that the bot takes over certain tasks in customer support or marketing by intelligently understanding the question/text the user sent to the bot and sending back relevant information (priorly set up).
Chatbots can help to decrease phone call volumes for customer support. Chatbots can also answer to the most common questions your customers might have. They understand the request and instead of having a person available and ready to answer a chatbot takes over the job. 24/7.
For top customers support teams, chatbots will be inevitable in 2018.
Messenger (Touchpoint) & Marketing Automation wins
Facebook Messenger has millions of users signed up its service, even users that don’t have a Facebook profile might have Messenger and use it for communication. With this huge Audience at your fingertips Messenger will become more and more a touchpoint t for businesses. The additional marketplace functionality and the option to contact a Facebook page directly via Messenger opens up a new channel of communication that need to be taken care of in 2018.
You can also start with Marketing Automation here within Messenger using the prior mentioned bots to enhance customer experience on Facebook. Automatic respond the most asked questions or present products in a certain color the user is asking for.
Bigger brands and businesses that already have implemented Marketing Automation and will have an advantage and see an increase in Marketing performance.
Social & ABM (Account Based Marketing)
In 2018 many businesses will adapt their strategies to switch to an account-based marketing approach. Social Media and ABM (Account-based Marketing) will continue to develop with companies developing more software and make account-based marketing more accessible to small businesses. The objective is to get to know your businesses target accounts and present relevant content to them at the right time during their decision-making process. Social Media will be used better to understand the buyers preferences and needs and make it possible for businesses to engage on a higher level.
To be successful with Social Media & ABM Marketing in 2018 it’s essential for businesses to listen. Social Media Listening is critical to understand the potential buyers, know what they share, like and complain about. Use tools like HootSuite, News Alerts and similar to listen to your audience and be able to create the right content for them.
Micro-Influencer is not a buzzword anymore. They exist, they are not so micro anymore that’s why “Micro Influencers” play a more significant role in 2018. The The State of Influencer Marketing 2018 Report gives us a look into how brands and agencies view the future of influencer marketing (181 marketers and their agencies participated in the survey in November 2017 across a variety of industries, including CPG, Food & Beverage, Media, and Retail. ).
“39% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018.”
And, Marketers are going to spend more on their influencer marketing campaigns in 2018.
So why Micro-Influencers? Why should businesses care about them in 2018? A research of Dr. Jonah Berger from the Wharton School and the Keller Fay Group shows that Micro-influencers drive consumer buying behavior at much higher rates than previously thought.
The study reveals that micro-influencers are a solid and credible marketing channel that has a real influence on swaying consumer behavior. Micro-influencers are not traditional celebrities, but rather individuals who work in their category or are truly competent, passionate and genuine and are seen as a trusted source when it comes to recommendations for what to buy.
ONe of the great headlines in 2017: Augmented reality. Facebook jumped into the Augmented Reality space and prepared everything in 2017 to get a piece of the 2018 Augmented Reality Pie. There’s many companies out there in the Augmented Reality space, which makes it promising and interesting for so many businesses. With smartphones, cameras and touchscreens everywhere shopping can already be enhanced via Augmented Reality choosing colours and products in real time.
There are some Augmented reality campaigns out there that created some buzz. I am also curious how Smart Wear, AI, And Augmented Reality will connect in the future and how marketing campaigns will adapt to these new mediums. I am pretty sure there will be more of Augmented Reality and Augmented Reality campaigns in 2018. There might be not the biggest opportunities for small businesses yet but brands with a budget could look into augmented reality campaigns, especially if they are working with print mediums.