There were no shortage of changes to the social media industry last year, which included several new features, consumer preferences and brand opportunities. Looking toward 2018, social media trends will continue to evolve and surprise us.
While it’s impossible to predict how the social media marketing landscape will change over the course of a year, we were certain about a few trends last year. For example, artificial intelligence lenses became a smash hit with Instagram Stories. And we saw the beginning of Instagram Shopping, which allows users to make more instant purchases.
Below we have listed out some of the trends in 2018
1. Higher Engagement Rates Between Brands & Customers
The connection between brands and consumers has never been closer than what we see today. Don’t believe us? The Sprout Social Index discovered 1 in 3 consumers would mention a brand while sharing personal accomplishment on social media.
Consumers not only love sharing personal accomplishments on social media, but they also enjoy getting responses for the milestone by brands. In fact, the data showed 41% of millennials would include a brand on a life milestone just to say thanks.
Brands are suddenly realizing the impact of social media engagement and creating lasting relationships instead of just treating social as a platform to advertise their products. It’s absolutely essential to keep your followers happy by providing a network where they can reach you. According to Instagram, at least 80% of its usersalready follow a brand on the network.
2. Customizable Chatbots
As we just covered, incoming social messages to your brand need a response. But what if your organization receives hundreds or thousands of similar customer service questions? Brands have found an answer and it’s chatbots.
Much like we mentioned last year, social media trends in 2018 point toward another period of growth with chatbots. If we look at the history of chatbots, we see a major spike throughout the previous year, and that growth is likely to continue.
3. Brands Relying on Social Listening Tools
If you can’t already tell, we have a major theme so far for our social media trends in 2018–taking care of customers. And our next trend follows that same idea by brands relying more on social listening tools.
What is social listening? It’s the practice of tracking your conversations that revolve around specific phrases, words or brands. Then you leverage those words or phrases to find new opportunities to create content specifically for those audiences.
It’s certainly much more than just seeing who’s commenting on your new Instagram post. Social listening tools allow brands to analyze and reflect on their audiences actions. Additionally, organizations can track overall brand health, create better marketing campaigns and ultimately improve customer experiences.
So how can social listening tools help your brand in 2018? Here’s a few reasons why we made social listening a trend for next year:
- Better Customer Care: People’s top choice for customer care is social media. That means you have to track brand health through sentiment analysis. This helps you actively pay attention to what users say.
- More Engaging Content: Truly engaging content is what makes any social strategy strive. So why not use listening tools to see what’s the best content to share in 2018? You can identify topics of importance without the guesswork by tracking hashtags, topics or keywords people use with your brand.
- Newer Marketing Campaigns: If you’re social marketing campaigns are in a funk, it’s time to seek out new opportunities with the help of social listening. These features allow brands to find trends faster so they can get the most from topics or user-generated content.
Like most years in the social world, 2018 can be about learning and growing to be one step ahead. The use of social listening tools is one trend that could push your brand in the right direction.
4. In-Platform Messaging & Instagram Stories
It hasn’t been long since Instagram launched Stories to compete with Snapchat. But in that short period of time, Instagram Stories accrued more than 250 million daily users. That’s astonishing compared to the 173 million daily active Snapchat users, which took years to build.
Instagram Stories tops our social media trends for 2018 list because of the sheer engagement numbers it posts. For example, 1 in 5 organic Instagram Stories from brands see at least one direct message from a consumer. That’s a huge potential for engagement through a somewhat new medium.
5. More Augmented-Reality & Face Filters
If you thought face filters (also known as AI lenses) were popular last year, wait until we see networks continue the push in 2018. Face filters have grown in popularity over the years, but with Instagram’s push toward Stories, you should only expect to see more.
Instagram stated its most popular face filter was the dog ears, which shouldn’t be a surprise as Snapchat’s is the dog filter as well. However, what’s interesting about the two face filter competitors is the advertising ability.