Social media is evolving: Are you ready for what 2018 will bring?

Social media is evolving: Are you ready for what 2018 will bring?

Written by Jonny Aldridge

With the days getting shorter, the sound of the Coca Cola truck ringing in your ears and the yearly furore around the Christmas ads from the major retailers, it can only mean one thing – time to look ahead at what next year will hold.

Social media is a fast moving platform and we have seen a number of recent changes, including Twitter doubling its character limit from 140 to 280 and Facebook testing new ways of delivering news to users’ news feeds.

With some of the major social media channels making significant changes to their platforms, what else can we expect to change in 2018 and what are the key social media trends to be aware of?

Short-lived content

In today’s always-on society, time is short and speed is key when trying to get messages across using social media. This year, Facebook and Instagram both followed Snapchat’s lead and introduced video story functions allowing short video clips to be viewed for a limited period of time, or that disappear once a viewed has seen them.

This type of content is popular with younger people and while it may seem like wasted effort to see videos disappear as quickly as they are added, it is difficult to ignore the growing trend and popularity of them. Making use of short-lived video creates the need for audiences to engage quickly so they don’t miss out on the latest news, views and offers.

Be personal

Studies have indicated there is a growing distrust of traditional advertising, or an apathy towards it. The growth of on demand TV has significantly reduced the number of traditional adverts people are watching, but one of the growing issues is that people simply do not want to see content that is not relevant to them. Therefore, brands need a new way to get their messages across to consumers and customers and to make sure information is as personalised as possible on social media.

The first step in personalising content on social media is to understand who you are engaging with. Knowing your market based on key information, such as gender, location, age and income, will help brands quickly and easily reach out to customers.

Adopting a storytelling approach and not being afraid to make your brand human will help in the creation of personalised content. People buy from people so showcasing the human side of a brand will always help the company make headway with the target market.

Think about influence

Influencer marketing has exploded in recent years and in the consumer sector, there is plenty to gain from securing the support of a well-known celebrity to endorse your brand or products.

Influencers in the B2B sector are slightly different, in that it is more about the company you keep, than the people using your products or services. Of course, case studies and good news stories can help, but linking your brand with industry experts and real influencers in your sector will mean a higher engagement rate with customers.

Things can be a little harder in the B2B sector, but it’s not impossible and it’s something that should form part of any marketing strategy.

Think video

This is an old one, and one that has featured in trends lists for a few years now, but it is still true. In today’s mobile-first society, video is key and its popularity continues to grow. As with any of these trends, brand can’t just post any old video, it needs to be high-quality, personal and engaging.

One element that has changed in video is the way it is consumed. In many cases, people watch video with the sound off as they are in a public place. So, it is important to develop video to be viewed with the sound off, which includes the use of subtitles.

To take advantage of these new social media trends, brands need to make sure they have a solid plan in place to implement the tactics.

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