It’s a new year and it’s time to look ahead. What are the social media trends, both existing and emerging, that will keep us busy through 2018?
The end of Facebook engagement bait
Facebook will demote the posts that directly encourage users to engage with a page, begging for like, shares and comments. With those posts absent from our newsfeeds, Facebook page managers must re-evaluate their engagement strategies.
Both clickbait and engagement bait are on Facebook’s watchlist. This means that 2018 will be the year that we’ll notice a shift of content on Facebook, hoping to promote more quality content.
Instagram is going to become even more popular
Instagram now counts more than 800 million monthly active users, including more than 25 million businesses. With more than 200 million users visiting those profiles every day, we expect Instagram to focus even more on ecommerce and conversions.
“Shopping on Instagram” showed up in December as a test to tag products in a post. This can simply be the beginning of a new fruitful use of Instagram for merchants. The improved analytics and the increased ways to capitalize on your content’s success can also lead to new business opportunities.
The possibility of a ‘Regram’ button
Instagram users have long asked for an option to make sharing easier across the platform. “Regram” has been a popular third-party option to share Instagram content and now it might be a native feature on the platform.
According to Matt Navarra, Instagram has rolled out a ‘regram’ button to a small number of users and we might see it rolling out to everyone in 2018. Marketers would then have to think of new ways to make their content more ‘shareable’ to extend their reach.
Live video will become even more important
More marketers are ready to explore how to include it live streaming as part of their digital strategy and it’s already available across many social networks. The power of a live video will lead to new immersive experiences, gaining immediate engagement with an audience that grows more into a new way of communication.
This could bring new opportunities for user-generated content and campaign promotion, while influencer marketing can become even more engaging with live streaming. The challenge will be to deciding which platform to use, with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter offering options. The best way to start is to go where your audience is and then to experiment with different platforms.
Dark social to dominate sharing activity
The rise of private and safe sharing has created the need to measure the dark social traffic. Marketers are facing the challenge of understanding this unattributed traffic, which can help them produce more accurate metrics for their content’s performance.
As users tend to prefer private channels, messaging apps and secure browsing, social analytics will evolve. More tools will show up trying to help marketers exploring how their content gets shared.
Facebook Groups will bridge the gap between profiles and Pages
The new trend of private sharing and the continuous struggle to maintain a Facebook page’s reach can benefit the rise of Facebook Groups. Facebook has already introduced a series of new tools to improve their functionality and highlight the power of the communities.
Marketers can discover a new type of engagement. At the same time, the introduction of Group Insights and the option to associate a Group with a Page can revitalize your existing engagement.
Pinterest will become an even more powerful visual search engine
Pinterest has turned into a powerful visual search engine. The average user starts searching on the platform two to three months before making a purchase, which makes Pinterest extremely valuable for brands.
There have already been important steps in 2017 to make the pins more ‘shoppable’. We expect to see more brands trying out Pinterest’s potential, finding the audience that is ready to turn into customers.
The rise of Messenger
There are now more than 1.3 billion monthly users on Facebook’s Messenger. These people have generated more than 2 billion conversations with businesses, which means that marketers cannot ignore this trend.
There has been a preference for private messages and safe sharing among specific people. As users shift from public posts to messaging apps, marketers need to be prepared for the era that messaging becomes part of their strategy. And that’s when the bots arrive.
The bots are coming
The rise of Messenger has also brought the rise of bots. According to Facebook, there are now more than 100,000 monthly active bots on the Messenger platform, a number that will significantly increase in 2018.
Bots serve as a great example of how AI can be part of an improved brand experience, boosting brand awareness, customer acquisition, engagement and customer support.
Messenger has also announced the decision to update its sharing SDK to improve conversational and contextual sharing. This can bring a further increase in the brands trying out bots as part of their marketing strategy. What’s important is to remember that bots cannot replace the human element and it’s crucial to create a voice that doesn’t alienate your audience from your brand.
More Instagram Stories campaigns will show up
Instagram’s ephemeral format has seen great success in 2017, counting more than 300 million daily active Stories users. Many brands have experimented with their own content in Stories, from spontaneous clips to planned campaigns.
As Stories rise in popularity, we expect more detailed analytics to help brands understand the performance of their content. The fact that you can now save your Stories to last more than 24 hours makes this format even more appealing.
Even if our crystal ball doesn’t end up being accurate, these tips should help you:
- Use social media to engage your audience.
- Think like a human being, not like a brand.
- Find the best ways to blend creativity and personalization.
- Invest in analytics to find the challenging ROI.
- Don’t forget to be authentic, even as an automated chatbot.