Over a decade ago, digital marketing was a much simpler place than it is today. One development that has happened between now and then is social media – and it is more dominant now than ever.
Social media marketing is a major part of a brand’s digital marketing universe. Over 7 out of every 10 American adults who use the Internet are on Facebook. Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms have millions of users with growth rates that continue to climb. And billions of dollars – an estimated $36 billion in 2017 – are spent every year on social media advertising.
While social media marketing isn’t for everyone, if your business isn’t being social, it’s likely making a mistake.
In 2018, it’s crucial to at least consider incorporating social media into your digital marketing mix. Or, if you already do social, you need to resolve to take advantage of new trends and cutting-edge best practices that will develop in 2018.
In this post in our Digital Marketing Resolutions series, we’ll explore a few trends in 2018 that can lead to better results and a better social experience for your followers.
“Generation Z” Is Coming On Strong
One major 2018 social media trend doesn’t have anything to do with the platforms themselves. They have everything to do with who will be using social – and how social affects them.
Generation Z is comprised of adults, teens, and kids who will be graduating college and starting their first jobs in 2018. Members of this generation have used the Internet since they were old enough to click a mouse. They grew up with the Internet, whereas many Millennials didn’t have regular Internet usage until their early teens. Generation Z members are more comfortable with technology, and social media plays a much bigger role in their lives than other generations.
According to RetailDive, Generation Z members are “two to three times more likely” to consider social media interaction over something like price. In other words, discounts and price wars don’t matter nearly as much as what other people are saying on social media about a product or service.
That makes them the first generation for which social media is the main consideration instead of how much something costs.
The takeaway here is that if you’re in retail, or any industry that caters to mass consumers, you can’t ignore the youngest generation. They are numerous and are starting to become independent consumers with their own money, their own careers, their own places to live, etc.
Start thinking about how you can craft or tailor your brand message to reach these people and you’ll notice additional opportunities in 2018.
Live Streaming Will Be More Important
2017 saw the rise of live streaming in social media, and 2018 will be no different. If anything, live streaming will be more important in 2018 than it has ever been.
Brands are taking advantage of live streaming because engagement skyrockets during these sessions. People are far more likely to like, comment, and share during a live streamed session than with a static post that they see hours or days after it was posted.
Now, not every brand can take advantage of live streaming. You must have compelling content, a reason for people to watch right then, and without a following to begin with, it can be difficult to get people to watch (without advertising).
But live streaming opens up a world of potential for brands. It’s like putting on a live TV show, except on a much smaller scale with a much smaller budget to an audience of people who know you, like you, and want to hear from you. The possibilities are endless.
There Will Be Tougher Barriers for Content
The 2016 presidential election – and the entire year following – showed how content on social media can be hijacked for nefarious purposes.
Moving forward into 2018, expect major platforms to raise the bar as to what constitutes good, reputable content. Facebook has already done this to a large extent; they’ve throttled back certain types of content in favor of content from more reputable sources.
This year, you’ll need content that appears strong, well-founded, and informative/educational. If it appears too similar to clickbait or “fake news,” then there’s a good chance it won’t make it very far in 2018 as social platforms continue to deal with the election-oriented backlash.
Besides, 2017 made it harder for even good content from most brands to make it in front of users. 2018 will continue that trend on Facebook by increasing the frequency of user-generated content and decreasing the frequency of business-generated content.
That means it’s even more important to create content designed to generate engagement, because engagement – likes, shares, comments, reactions, retweets – helps move your content to the top of the slush pile and in front of eyeballs.
Facebook Watch Is Changing
Last year, Facebook announced Watch, which is a video-based digital programming platform similar to YouTube and comparable to other online video sources. Originally, Watch was going to compete with Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and the other usual suspects. But now, Watch may be morphing into a service that delivers longer-form video to niche communities.
According to an interview with Fast Company, Facebook said that companies need to get away from focusing solely on the News Feed, “where only short-form, viral videos work, not realizing that something a little longer can find success on Watch.”
In other words, Watch could herald a rise in longer-form content that isn’t quite as snack-sized as most videos you see, but not quite as long as a full-length episode of a TV show.
This is actually great for niche communities because you can imagine that these communities are willing to watch, say, a 10-minute video on homebrewing. The engagement levels for these videos would be through the roof, in theory, and that’s what Facebook is all about.
If you can build a community, you could follow the lead of Watch and use longer-form content even if you can’t publish on Watch itself.
Going Social in 2018
Social media marketing will be powerful in 2018, more powerful than in 2017 or any year prior.
Are you positioned to take advantage of these trends and others that will emerge?
Our social media marketing experts help our clients jump into social and execute a social strategy with clarity, precision, and insight. Contact Uptick Marketing to learn more about how we can take your social media marketing to the next level.