With the end of 2017 fast approaching, it’s time to think about your social media strategy for 2018. But first, we look back at the social media landscape of 2017, and see whether last year’s predictions made the cut this year.
Predictions for 2017 – How Did We Do?
This time last year, we wrote a post on social media trends to look out for in 2017. Here’s a quick round-up of those predictions and how accurate they were:
Virtual reality – It’s made its slow ascent to the top of people’s minds, and virtual reality is here to stay. Expensive headsets have hindered progression for the global platforms, but with the likelihood of cheaper equipment, or the removal of the headset altogether, user bases could be set to skyrocket in years to come. The popularity of VR techniques including Facebook’s 360 photos and videos have ensured that 2017 was definitely a great year for the technology’s success.
Chatbots/Messenger bots – Although many brands have applied chatbots to resolve common page queries, the monetisation of messenger bots haven’t taken off quite as well as expected. Could this be that people still prefer to feel as though they are having person-to-person communication? Or could it be that the platforms need to execute this feature better? Only time will tell.
Content marketing – Content is king as always, and 2017’s social media trends confirm this, with the rise in popularity of interactive content marketing strategies, including improvements made to the traditional infographic.
Visual first – Video and visual content continued to dominate the social media trend forecast in 2017. With over 8 billion average daily views and 100 million hours of video watched every day, Facebook has become the top player in the social media video landscape this year. Whilst their Facebook stories didn’t take off quite as well as they had hoped, visual content including images ,continues to outperform non-visual content every time.
Live-streaming – Thanks to its longer viewing times, high engagement and credibility building, live-streaming continues to be one of the best tactics brands incorporate into their digital marketing strategy. So much so, that Livestream uncovered that 80% of people would rather watch a live stream from a brand they follow than read their blog.
Attribution – Businesses have swayed towards taking into account social media as an integral part of a wider marketing strategy, due to the evolution of social media tools such as Simply Measured. With companies able to measure ROI better than ever before, social media marketing is no longer left out of marketing conversations like it once was.
Automation – Whilst automation has had its place in larger business strategies, many other smaller companies have chosen to maintain the social aspect of social media, choosing to look into automation in other areas including PPC.
Social Media Trends for 2018
1. Instagram lenses – With Instagram Story features exploding throughout 2017, the natural move would be to build upon this trends with a wider AR push. In true Snapchat style, we predict that the rumours for world lenses and other real-world tools will come true in 2018, continuing the platform’s innovative evolution.
2. Virtual reality – Facebook has already taken big leaps in adopting virtual reality since the platform purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion in March 2014; so it doesn’t come as much surprise that they are set to expand their VR offering in the new year. With VR headsets still on the pricey side, we predict that as the technology evolves, so will the availability to take part in the full VR experience.
3. eCommerce messenger – In early November, Facebook announced a new peer-to-peer payment process via PayPal for US users, and we expect the process to roll-out through other financial institutions across the world. 2018’s eCommerce function will allow users to quickly and easily complete transactions within their messenger that, if effective, may see a universal roll-out across Instagram and WhatsApp too.
4. Visual search – 2018 looks to be a year in which visual search excels, particularly on Instagram and Pinterest. As well as helping consumer’s imaginations, brands will be able to join the dots between photos and products that reflect them. This improves the search function on Instagram, from beyond hashtags towards image content, allowing brands to discover people who may be interested in their products beyond text searching.
5. Algorithm improvements – All platforms plan on cracking down on irrelevant content by improving their algorithms to ensure users are alerted to the most relevant content. Twitter may focus on a ‘top tweets’ approach, whilst LinkedIn plans on driving engagement via machine learning.
6. Shopping tags – Instagram shopping tags are set to arrive more broadly in 2018, offering business pages the option to put information and price tags on their images. Although it has been in testing since November 2015, Instagram’s recent partnership expansion with Shopify means we’re likely to see an Instagram business takeover in the upcoming year.
How to Plan for Social Media Marketing in 2018
- Set your objectives and targets – Be clear on what you want to achieve with social media in 2018; whether that’s engagement, leads, sentiment, followers or otherwise. By setting objectives at the start of the year, you will be able to measure your return and overall performance.
- Align with your overall marketing objective(s) – Improve your brand’s overall user journey by ensuring your social media marketing strategy aligns with your wider business focus.
- Do extensive research – The key to a successful social media strategy is understanding your audience and your main competitors. Consider a social listening tool like Meltwater, which will help you to understand how your brand is currently viewed online, allowing you to benchmark targets for 2018.
- Plan ahead – If there are particular monthly or seasonal focuses for your business, factor those in with a plan which looks at the year at large. Although there needs to be an element of reactive content, by planning a rough guideline of your content each month, you’ll ensure you never miss any important calendar dates.
- Consider measurements of success – It’s important to understand how you are going to demonstrate ROI from social media alone. There are a number of tools available, which will give you more solid proof that your social media strategy is worth the time you spend.
Want to keep up with social media trends or need help with your social media strategy for 2018? Get in touch!