Smart brands know how critical it is to have a strong social media presence. According to Statista, 81% of Americans and almost two billion global consumers have at least one social media profile. It’s become obvious that it’s not a matter of if your customers are on social media, but which platforms they’re on and what types of content they respond to most positively — especially for increasing sales.
So what trends and practices should your business be paying attention to right now? We asked members of Young Entrepreneurs Council for their social media predictions, and how brands can best leverage them for marketing success in 2018.
1. Selling On Social
With Facebook Marketplace, Instagram’s Shop Now button, Pinterest’s Buyable Pins and tools like Yotpo consistently evolving to increase product visibility and user engagement, we will see the number of brands selling on social skyrocket in 2018.
2. Higher Quality Video Content
Instead of brands using digital influencer channels for video content, they will leverage influencers to create the content. Influencers with high-quality content will make the biggest impact. Businesses need to continue building relationships with influencers in their niche markets to benefit from this.
3. Instagram Stories
Instagram stories were introduced not too long ago, and already they are seeing much success. In 2018, I see businesses leveraging the swipe up feature linking those stories to their websites, blog posts, etc. Getting new and existing users to swipe up and engage with your business is going to be an asset to the marketing mix this year.
4. Augmented Reality Filters
I expect to see more intelligent augmented reality filters on Instagram and Snapchat. Business leaders can take advantage of this trend by developing filters as part of their marketing campaigns that enhance the user experience, rather than interrupt it.
Live video marketing is becoming an influential form of digital content for businesses today and, if done right, it can have a very positive impact on your business. Creating live video content on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can boost search engine rankings, engagement and website traffic. Leverage it by doing live webinars, product demos, marketing hacks, interviews and more.
Customers will expect to have conversations directly with brands through interfaces like Facebook Messenger, click-to-chat ads in Google and other chatbot features. As people get accustomed to asking questions, brands need to answer those questions in real time. To do this, they need chatbots powered by AI and machine learning and a human understanding of their customers’ most critical questions.
7. Quality Content Curation
People are inundated with an absurd amount of content every time they go online. Every day sees the release of scores upon scores of articles, podcasts and videos, all varying wildly in quality. Using social media to curate high-quality content that is tailored toward your particular niche can increase audience retention and engagement.
8. Multi-Guest Videos
Social media is connecting likeminded people from all over the world. My prediction for 2018 is that we’re going to see more multi-guest videos where content creators will debate each other or share likeminded opinions in the same video. Whether they’re prerecorded or live, multi-guest videos are here to stay.
9. Video Ads
I think there will be more video ads and sponsored video content that will tie into people’s love of video. Watch what other companies do and observe what works to jump in.
10. Complex Ad Funnels
With more tools and a better understanding of social behavior, marketers will double down on complex advertising funnels to get visitors incrementally to the point of conversion. Instead of flashing a newsfeed offer to a sales page, they could use a video ad, followed by a quality piece of content, followed by an email opt-in, followed by a drip sequence leading into an offer.
11. Virtual Reality
Facebook is starting something called Spaces, a kind of VR version of Google Hangouts. As VR takes off, this kind of meeting space will be very popular with millennials and Gen Zers. Businesses may not be able to advertise directly on such platforms, but they should look for ways to enter the VR realm. For example, partner with an influencer to talk about your product in a VR setting.
If you enjoyed this round-up article and actionable tips from experts around the world, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to create content and bring audiences back to your site. Make sure you have a quality blog representing your brand online.