#Emerging: 2018 Social Media Trends to Look Out For

2017 is over. Sad, really. We’d seen some great innovation on social last year: social e-commerce, live video and Instagram Stories to name but a few. But let’s not dwell on the past. Here are some key trends on social media you need to prepare your brand for in 2018 (in order of awesomeness) .

Instagram Stories

They’re growing. As of August, this year, Instagram officially overtook rival Snapchat to be the world’s largest dedicated visual communication app. What does that mean? 250 million daily users – and that’s for Instagram Stories alone. Now the ‘testing’ phase is over, 2018 will see more brands include Instagram stories as an integral part of their social ecosystem.

AR

This. Is. Exciting. How will your brand integrate AR into your social media activity? We’ve already seen some great work outside of social from the likes of IkeaNational Geographic and Starbucks, and with the rise of the technology’s popularity through Instagram’s new filters, it’s only a matter of time until AR really takes off on social.

Influencer Marketing

But not as you know it. Abigail, one of Collider’s strategists, has already spoken at length about the rise of the micro-influencer.

Whether they choose to go micro or macro, or both, we can expect brands’ marketing budgets to rise significantly in this sector as results from last year’s influencer work have proven its impact. 2018 will also see brands develop these influencer relationships more strategically with a focus on building long-term partnerships and utilising this across channels.

As influencer marketing grows, so does the demand in transparency. The ASA updated their regulations on affiliate marketing in 2017, and 2018 could see them cracking down on influencers and brands who fail to disclose these relationships clearly for the consumer.

Messaging Platforms and Dark Social

Your brand is now more accessible than ever. And that’s a wonderful opportunity. Brands such as Asos are making great use of chatbots with their virtual gift assistant; and we’ve helped Monkey deliver a million laughs for PG Tips with a custom-built Facebook messenger bot.

Despite examples like these, it’s fair to say that dark social remains largely new territory for brands. With improved methods of measuring dark social, 2018 could be the year brands really tap into the 84% of outbound sharing which takes place here and use this for effective one-on-one communication with consumers.

The Death of Twitter?

As we know it anyway. With falling user numbers, lower engagement than ever before and the loss of huge partnerships to the likes of Amazon, expect big changes at Twitter next year. We’ve already seen the increased character limit, but what will be next..? Until those changes, though, Twitter is king for irreverent humour and customer service. The team at Sky continue to show exactly that.

UGC

For some years now, we’ve seen brands leverage user-generated content in their marketing. 2018 will see AI play a bigger part in this, with platforms using more and more sophisticated image-recognition technology to trawl the internet for content brands can use across their channels.

Social listening and measurement tools

We’ve mentioned the role AI and influencer marketing will have in 2018. It’s because of the ever-smarter social listening tools out there that these trends will develop. More and more, we’ll see their evolution equip brands with the tools to resolve consumer gripes, meet their needs and provide a more targeted and personalised consumer experience.

Gillette’s inspired use of social listening to spot the gap in the market for an assisted shaving product was a highlight last year. 2018 will see less listening and more capitalising on the vast information these tools can provide.

Facebook Spaces

You might not have heard much about this yet. It’s Facebook’s version of Houseparty. Don’t know what Houseparty is? Ask your kids. In short, it’s a digital hangout where Generation Z (or post-Millennials) are spending their time. One million of them a day. Once Facebook has its own version up and running, expect those numbers to be blown out of the water.

Most if not all of these trends will affect your brand one way or another. Don’t be caught on your heels. Get in touch with us at the number below if you’d like to discuss how we can help your brand navigate social in 2018.

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