2018 Social Media Marketing Predictions & Trends
If there's an industry where change is the only constant we can rely on, it's marketing. There's never a dull moment when almost daily there's a new medium, device or advancement in technology allowing brands to connect with consumers in new and unique ways. A medium or means of connecting and engaging that is exhibiting the greatest surge in growth and constant proliferation in channels is social (there has even been a recent surge in searches related to social media marketing).
While some channels have lost their luster or have become extinct (Friendster, Google +, Myspace, Meerkat, Vine), others continue to make big changes to stay top of mind, keep us connected and informed, lure us to post, share, comment, like, ❤️, 👏. So, how should brands approach their social media strategy in 2018? What should brands focus on and how can they prepare? Here are some predictions...
Branded AR Activations
More and more social channels are focusing on AR (augmented reality) and why not? No matter what generation you fall into, everyone loves to play with fun filters that allow us to be someone different and place objects into our own environments (like this robot in my backyard). Brands need to be creative and think of fun ways in which they can experiment in with AR and leverage the new technology to get their desired audience to engage and to further their reach. Something very exciting is Facebook's AR Studio that allows creators (brands and individuals) to design their own AR experiences and release them out into the wild. So...get to creating!
Messaging Platforms & Chatbots
With smartphones always on our person and our desire to connect when we want to and the way we want to, brands need to take an 'always on, always there' approach to customer relations. Think of when you reach out to a brand with a question. Do you want to wait days for an answer? No. We're all about immediacy. Many more brands are leveraging messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik, and Instagram direct message to directly engage with customers. Keeping up with those inquiries can be challenging. That is why we will see more and more brands investing in chatbots to enable real-time engagement and provide answers to customers. To ensure that the chatbot engagement is on-brand and delivers an authentic, desirable experience, make sure to evaluate and compare what you are getting from your chatbot platform partner. Take a look at some Real Examples of Brands & Industries Using Chatbots.
Content Still At The Forefront
Content will still be central to any successful social strategy. What do you have without good content? You may want to develop an organic social content strategy and an ephemeral social content strategy more aligned to real-time story content that has a short shelf life. Content includes video...all forms of video. More and more brands need to experiment with live video and inviting guests to join them via their live videos (leverage greater audience and provide even more value to that audience).
Brands will continue to look to influencers to leverage greater brand reach and connect with their desired target audiences. But, instead of draining the bank on A-list celebrities, consider using social monitoring tools to find strong ambassadors whose likes and interests align well with your brand's core values.
Make sure you also take an interest in the influencer you wish to build a relationship with. Brands that really interact with influencers, take a more personal, vested approach will reap a more lucrative and lasting partnership. And while many brands think influencer marketing is only for B2C brands, many more B2Bs will begin to include influencer strategies in their marketing plans. B2B brands need to reach out to industry experts, even the influencers within their own company walls, to share expertise and even review products and services.
Throw Quantity Out The Window
When it really comes down to it quality, not quantity, matters. Don't just look at your number of channel followers. What really matters is having a quality audience, followers who are engaged and do care about what your brand has to say. Yes, you can care about fan growth and have goals to grow your audience, but make sure that your audience is the right audience, your desired customer, not just numbers. Looking for additional foresight when it comes to social media in 2018? Take a look at these 17 predictions from some serious social pros.