These days, almost everyone is active on some sort of social media network; whether it’s Facebook, WhatsApp or LinkedIn.
Research shows us that personal communication and entertainment are the main reasons why people use social media nowadays. The amount of entertainment found online grows from 61% in 2016 to 67% in 2017 due to short video content by pages like LadBible or VKmag.
SOCIAL MEDIA TREND 1 – Video Content
Video content is not losing its popularity in 2018; according to expert Bas Van Eeuwen: “In two years time, 80% of our internet consumption will be through video content in its broad context.” Meaning Instagram Stories, Snapchat and other forms of video shared on platforms. Last year, Facebook announced that 100 millions hours of (native) video is being watched on the platform every day. Video generates much more interaction by sharing than images and text.
How will this evolve in 2018? Facebook’s definitely innovating in the field of video. Longer videos are rewarded with a better position in the news feed. Other innovations include picture-in-picture video, a resume function, automatic plays, mid-rolls and a “watch”-tab. This to compete with f.e. Netflix and YouTube. Now the real challenge is to stay relevant when the market is getting saturated.
SOCIAL MEDIA TREND 2 – Instagram Stories
We all know Instagram has copied some of Snapchat’s features, something in the lines of short videos that delete after 24 hours… We might have been a little sceptical about it at first, but what’d ya know – it worked. Nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Instagram Stories by the end of 2018, including brands.
Brand are more than ever trying to connect with their customers on Instagram. Stories are a fun and playful way to show what your company is doing behind the scenes. A big advantage is that people do not necessarily have to follow you to view your stories. Besides adding text and filters to your stories, you can add hashtags and locations. With these hashtags (which are clickable) you can easily focus on niche markets and target certain audiences. One of the newest features are polls, a new way to engage with your customers and get to know their needs. Any account with over 10,000 followers can add links to their stories as well. Instagram Stories will be very important from a marketing perspective because, compared to other platforms, Instagram metrics are eminently trackable.
SOCIAL MEDIA TREND 3 – Online Hangouts
Online hangouts are the result of the increasing popularity of live streaming. A great example is “Houseparty”, a free app where you can FaceTime with a group of friends that has seen a rapid growth over the last year. Ofcourse, this caught the attention of Facebook en they are now investigating ways to create a similar tool within their live streaming platform. Instagram is already giving it a shot with the new feature where you can ask if you can join a live video, and with great success!
Online hangouts can go hand in hand with technologies like VR and AR, for example Pokémon Go.
SOCIAL MEDIA TREND 4 – Chatbots (Artificial Intelligence)
Conversational interfaces play an increasingly important role online. There will be a rise of voice-directed search and smart speakers. You can already see the rise of smart chatbots on social media, but mainly on Facebook. Since the introduction of Facebook Messenger in 2016 more than 10,000 chatsbots have been created. Making a chatbot isn’t very difficult, a restaurant can easily integrate their menu, directions or reservations. It becomes more difficult when you want your chatbot to have conversations as an extension to your customer services or sales, larger companies will get better at this in 2018. Artificial intelligence is making its entry into social media marketing and bots are a first example of this trend.
Bots will ensure that we will need fewer apps, since the entire sales and purchasing process will be able to take place in apps like Facebook Messenger. Brands and companies can now give their customers a personalized shopping experience.
Of course these are only 4 trends for 2018. The importance of video will continue to grow and will take an even stronger position within content strategy. Especially the expansion of live streaming and interactive broadcasting can be expected for 2018. And last but not least; artificial intelligence will be used more and more, not only with chatbots but also through face recognition for example.
So kick 2018 off with a loud BANG! Start off the new year with some social media #goals! We might know a couple of gals who would be happy to help you out. WE LIKE YOU, at your service!