5 Social Media Trends That Will Have Maximum Impact in 2018

Opinion: The role of social media marketers is expanding

It's not too early to start thinking about 2018
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With more and more brands trying to connect with audiences across an array of social channels, the attention span of people is on a decline.

Businesses need to quickly figure out what’s best for their audiences in order to generate better engagement and increased brand loyalty.

Here are five crucial social media trends that will have the maximum impact on your social media strategy in 2018 and ahead.

Ephemeral content will provide the best engagement rate

Snapchat has led to the popularity of ephemeral content. With 10 billion daily video views, no marketer can ignore the platform that Snapchat provides. It is the best way to reach younger millennials and generation Z.

Ephemeral content is short-lived, and the longest it can last is 24 hours. After that, it disappears forever.

This might sound scary to marketers, but the considerable popularity it has received so far has forced them to develop strategies for ephemeral content marketing.

There are several advantages that Ephemeral content offers:

  • Content that is short lived is thought to be more authentic versus sponsored ads or spammy posts that lasts longer and push customers into making purchases.
  • The content is lost within hours, so it effectively raises the potential of FOMO (fear of missing out). As a result, audiences take fast action and marketers gain from it.
  • Users can access content easily with the help of Snap Codes or QR codes.
  • Ephemeral content gives you potential customers’ attention, which is undoubtedly the most prized commodity on the internet today.

Have a plan in place to reach audiences with the help of an ephemeral content marketing strategy that essentially revolves around producing content (videos and pictures) that is able to engage audiences in the shortest possible time.

Content that engages audiences on a personal level will be liked the most

84 percent of millennials do not trust traditional advertising, so it does not makes any sense to create content that is written from a selling point of view.

People do not like content that is not relevant to them. Instead, content that is personalized and based on user personas is more likely to be read and shared.

With buyer personas, you get an exact answer to what your audience wants instead of guessing it. It is much better to prepare content that solves users’ pain points.

Know your target market and create a user persona based on the person’s age, gender, education level, income, likes, location, etc.

Adopt a storytelling approach and narrate the story in a manner and language that your audiences understand best.

Reach out to influencers and ask them to share your brand stories. eMarketer predicted that opinions of around 45 percent of people who buy on the internet are affected by the opinions of other people. Influencers are people who are connected with your audiences at a personal level and can provide the best engagement, often leading to direct sales, with simple recommendations.

Platforms like Influence.co can help find influencers related to a particular niche. Moreover, contacting influencers also brings search-engine-optimization gains, as brands are able to reach a much wider audience in the shortest possible time.

Engage with the audiences on a personal level. Comment on their posts, share their voices, tag them and respond to them when they need you.

Businesses leveraging the power of social chat bots for customer service will win the game

Gartner predicted that by 2018, around 30 percent of our conversations will be assisted by machines.

A chat bot is a software application built to simulate a human-like conversation. It is like a friend to the customer. It assists people 24/7 and helps improve revenue by building lasting relationships with potential customers.

For businesses that have thousands of followers, adopting a personalized marketing strategy for every customer that requires responding to followers’ comments can be a daunting task. Chat bots can assist by creating one-to-one interactions with each follower and responding immediately to the questions posed by them. They are fast, they initiate timely responses and they are always polite no matter how rude the customer’s replies are.

Brands that use chat bots for customer service will certainly win the hearts of audiences and ultimately defeat their competitors.

Livestreaming and interactive broadcasting will be the next big thing

Facebook already offers livestreaming via Facebook Live, and businesses must use it to reach their niche target audiences.

Livestreaming requires commitment from audiences, so it will automatically keep the uninterested ones away.

Moreover, with interactive broadcasting channels like Agora, one-way livestreaming is converted into two-way streaming, which allows people to chat with each other. The best part is that your audience is not required to download another app. It integrates with existing apps and allows brands to reach consumers in real-time.

AI and image recognition have already begun to transform social media marketing

Social media is no longer a text business for marketers. With around 3.2 billion photos being shared every single day on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, the trend is moving toward visual content.

With tools like Einstein Vision for Social Studio, brands now have the power to search for pictures related to their brands on social media. This product from Salesforce uses artificial intelligence algorithms like Einstein Image Classification for image recognition, coupled with visual search, brand detection and product identification.

Brands quickly need to capitalize on this visual phenomenon, as people are more likely to share and comment on posts that contain images. With AI in place, it has become easier for marketers to find visuals that do not have text keyword mentions in them. Moreover, image processing will provide better metrics and accurate data to uncover the minute details that remained inaccessible before AI.

We expect a lot of changes in the social media landscape in 2018, which means that the role of social media marketers is expanding. Mobile-first is the strategy to adopt, and you only need to combine the power of inbound marketing with the above discussed strategies in order to take your business to the next level.

Guy Sheetrit is CEO of digital marketing agency Over the Top SEO.