January 12, 2018 Kevin Erb

Eight for 18

It’s 2018! If it seems like you haven’t heard from us since last year, well…that’s because you haven’t. But we’re here now! And we’re here with some trends and shifts in social media we think are worth preparing for in 2018…and beyond.

End-of-year trend lists aren’t hard to find for just about any industry, and digital marketing and social media are no exceptions. Worry not, of course, we combed through some from our favorite resources to identify the trends we see as most important in the coming year.

Without further ado:

  • Video…again. If this seems like the fourth or fifth straight year where video has been predicted to be a big trend, you’re not alone. Video still provides its challenges, but what makes it a more compelling and accessible platform is its increasing variety, as you’ll see below.
  • What’s your story? Take Instagram Stories, for example. While most still think of Instagram as a photo-driven social network, Stories saw explosive growth in 2017. That growth is expected to continue this year, making it easy for brands to bring unique, quick video content to audiences they’ve already developed and nurtured.
  • We’ll do it live. Same goes for “livestreaming” via Facebook Live, Periscope and others. Trade shows and similar events in particular lend themselves well to Facebook Live – another easy way for brands to bring quick video content to built-in audiences.
  • Diving deep on data. It can get noisy and crowded for consumers online. As the analytics from brands’ social media continues to get more robust and detailed, the value of that data becomes more important than ever. Such data enables brands to continue personalizing content, engagement and experience as much as possible – which helps cut through the noise and the traffic.
  • Listen up. Some of that data comes from social listening. Brands that have a clear understanding of their core audience can better listen to what they’re saying and the conversations they find engaging and energizing – and continue to personalize their content to align with that qualitative data.
  • Less is more. Audiences continue to have more options and choices when it comes to where they spend their time on social media, meaning it can be tempting for brands to try to be everywhere for everyone. Instead, it’s now more important than ever to understand your core audience deeply; doing so enables you to know which social platforms they prefer and frequent – and focus your finite resources accordingly. Keep it simple.
  • Organic on the outs. Friendly reminder that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. aren’t charities. As they continuously “tweak” the algorithms that decide what you see in your feed, the most common victim of those tweaks is organic content from brands. As such, brands should be prepared to invest in supporting and expanding their organic content with smart digital buys and promotions when appropriate. There’s not much worse than quality content falling on deaf ears – or no ears at all.

Exciting stuff in the year ahead! If it can seem overwhelming, it’s always important to remember that a clear-eyed, comprehensive understanding of core audience and customer simplifies the strategic-planning process as much as anything. And if it still seems overwhelming, well…better call Saul.