Brand promotion on social media is more competitive than ever. So how can your business stand out from the pack and take advantage of all that social media can do to leverage your products or services?
Here are 4 trends that you should consider when planning your social media marketing strategy for 2018.
2018 Social Media Marketing Trends
Ephemeral Content Is All the Rage
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat posts lend themselves well to ephemeral, or short-lived content. But what’s the allure of content that disappears within 24 hours? Well, there are many reasons this type of content is popular, and engagement may very well top the list.
- High Engagement: By now, it’s common knowledge that visual content gets the most shares on social media. In fact, according to the social media management platform Buffer, this type of content is 40x more likely to be shared. A great example of this is Snapchat’s business geo-filters, which brands can use at a specific location and time to help crowdsource an event. So if you plan to have a holiday or sponsored event, you could select a filter that will capture people’s attention and attract them to the event.
- Fear of Missing Out: FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, can be a very effective marketing tool. Appealing to your audience’s desire to be a part of the coolest new trend or must-have product is a very powerful psychological tool. However, for content to be engaging, it has to have a sense of urgency behind it. Your content needs to excite and inform your target audience in a way that can’t be done by simply recycling old content.
- Behind-the-Scenes Look: A huge part of engaging your customers and nurturing brand loyalty is by ensuring that they feel connected to you by being authentic. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most important is by helping them to identify and get to know you on a personal level through the use of behind-the-scenes videos. Whether it’s an informative Q&A or "how-to" live video, a preview of a product that’s about to be released, or a special promotion just for your followers, they’ll be able to directly interact with you, which builds a connection you wouldn’t get through email or blog posts.
Ephemeral content provides the opportunity to keep your brand at the forefront of your audience’s minds and at the top of their social feeds. However, it can be challenging to come up with engaging and creative content in short fashion; that’s why it’s important to have a social media marketing strategy that’s dedicated to this type of content.
Social Media Will Be a Vehicle for Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR), which enables mobile device users to view the real world with an overlay of computer-generated imagery and information, will make it possible for brands to project their products into their audience’s home via social media. With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X already offering augmented reality features, social media platforms are sure to follow. In fact, Snapchat offers an AR art platform that makes it possible for users to utilize their Bitmoji to project an image of themselves or other images into the real world by using Snapchat’s camera.
Brands such as IKEA already have an app for customers that shows how a piece of furniture will look in a particular room in their home before they purchase that item. This is a fantastic way to potentially increase sales and perhaps even reduce returns, helping customers shop from the comfort of their own homes and giving them peace of mind about a purchase.
AR is likely to become an example of virtual FOMO; before too long, social media users will want to be able to have access to this new world. Consequently, social media will be a vehicle for its proliferation, which will help it become more mainstream. As a result, social media marketers should keep apprised of how social channels are utilizing AR and determine whether their brand can utilize it to promote their products or services further.
It’s (Almost) All About Video
Short video is the name of the game when it comes to social media; after all, 90% of shared content was in the form of video in 2017. That said, it’s imperative that you grab your audience’s attention within the first few seconds or they’re likely to look somewhere else for information.
Video is also the top medium for ads, and it continues to grow each year. In fact, by 2020, video will comprise 80% of online consumer Internet traffic. So why do people enjoy video so much?
Well, if it’s live video—for example, a Q&A or how-to video—they may be able to directly interact with you as they would if they were speaking to you in person. And engagement like this is one of the keys to obtaining more followers and growing your brand.
If you haven’t invested the time to find out how video can work for you as a marketing tactic, do so as soon as possible. Facebook Live and Instagram Live are great tools for interacting with your target audience in real time. And going live is about as transparent as you can get, which will help build a stronger connection with your audience. So whether you’re broadcasting live events, hosting interviews with industry influencers, or providing a behind-the-scenes look at your business, you’re certain to entice your audience.
User-Generated Content Will Become Increasingly Valuable
Online reviews, opinions, and photos posted by customers can be invaluable in helping prospects decide whether they want to purchase a particular product. According to BrightLocal, in 2017, 85% of the consumers they surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So if consumers trust online reviews, wouldn’t it be a good idea to leverage this user-generated content (UGC) in a way that can help your business?
The answer is yes, but not by simply reposting a random Instagram or Facebook photo of one of your happy customers enjoying one of your products. Instead, UGC can be utilized as part of your social media marketing campaigns. You can develop campaigns around hashtags related to your business, which can increase engagement and ultimately boost conversions.
To incentivize your prospects and customers, don’t forget to award prizes or special offers to those who submit content. And if you plan to use this content in your social media marketing campaigns, you will need to acquire permission to do so. This should be made crystal clear to your audience before you move forward.
These are just a few of the social media trends you should keep an eye on in 2018. Determining what will work best for your brand and business will go a long way in helping you to engage and connect with your target audience.