2017 was surely a roller coaster ride for social media marketers. Twitter rolled out the new 280-character limit. Instagram allowed for multi-photo posts. Augmented Reality and photo filters continue to develop. Moreover, more and more brands are competing more fiercely using influencers.
As an evolving platform, we expect nothing less from the social media sphere in 2018. However, before you join the bandwagon, there are several trends which you need to know to maximize the potential of social media in your business. To help you out, we have compiled in this infographic the six trends that will shape the face of social media marketing in 2018.
- The Rise of Micro-Influencers
According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, 83% of consumers trust the recommendations from people they know, and 66% trust other consumer opinions posted online. As such, companies like North Face, HubSpot, and Rolex use social-media based influencer marketing strategies to build trust with their customers.
However, while the use of macro-influencers can still be effective in 2018, many experts see a different form of influencer marketing program this year – the micro-influencer marketing. This strategy pertains to the use of smaller scale influencers that can help promote a brand, product, or service in a more authentic way.
MullenLowe has shown some interesting statistics about the effectiveness of micro-influencers:
- Retail and entertainment companies using micro-influencers have seen a 50% higher engagement rate than those who use macro-influencers.
- Influencers with 1,000 fans showed an 85% higher lift than influencers with 100,000 fans. These campaigns have driven 10x higher efficiencies than influencers with more massive followings, making them more cost-effective.
Prime examples of brands using micro-influencers and who dominated the social media realm in 2017 are Danial Wellington and Starbucks. Expect to see more companies trying to do the same in 2018.
- Focus on Generation Z
According to recent research by financial firm Goldman Sachs, Generation Z is more valuable to most organizations than millennials. Born after 1995, the oldest Gen Zers today is 22 years old. This means they are just beginning to enter the labor force and will have increased buying power for some time.
In social media perspective, Gen Zers are more inclined to use platforms that help them produce their ephemeral content such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat. According to statistics, Instagram Stories has 250 million daily, while Snapchat still dominates the youth market with 72% of Americans aged 12-24 have it on their phone.
Several brands have been utilizing these platforms to entice this younger internet-savvy generation. On Instagram, Cheerios sent out personalized compliments to their users, and Marriott Hotel has been running a campaign on Snapchat by touring around D.C. with hilariously captioned images.
- Twitter’s Bot Crackdown
Twitter has had a rough time in 2017. Compared to other platforms, the platform has failed to grow followers, according to Statista. Twitter also lost access to streaming NFL games to Amazon, which impacted its live streaming video strategy which it has been pushing for almost a year.
However, these are not the biggest problem that Twitter is currently facing, but rather the enormous networks of fake accounts on their platform – possibly as many as 48 million accounts, says study. While some bots can be useful in some areas such as dissemination of news, experts think that most of these bots have been tweeting and retweeting information to make it seem more popular, or to support a particular person or group, helping to amplify their messaging.
Bots present many problems to brands as well, especially on their social ROI. Bots hold no value even if a brand can boost their reach because those fake profiles are not likely to engage with them on a regular basis. At worst, having fake followers can tarnish a brand, clutter their feed, and damage their credibility. As such, any potential crackdown on bots and fake activity can only be positive for businesses looking to make the best use of social platforms.
While Twitter has already announced new bot detection measures, social marketers should take all the necessary steps to prevent attracting fake social profiles in 2018.
- The Impact of Call-Out Culture on Brands
There is no doubt that 2017 is the year of the call-out culture. Regardless of the platform, social media has given people the power to call out things that matter to them most for better or worse. Hence, no topic, individual, or brand is safe from the call-out culture.
According to SproutSocial, 46% of consumers have called out a brand via social media. Of these people, 55% call out brands simply to get a resolution or response, and 35% of people would never buy a brand’s product or service again if they do not get a response to an inquiry on social, indicating the direct link between active communication and bottom-line metrics like revenue.
Therefore, those brands who still lacks defined the brand voice and knowledge on how to respond to customers online should better be preparing a strategy as soon as possible.
- More Brands Will Use Messaging Platforms
According to Statista,over 2.5 million people are using messaging platforms globally, and yet brands are still primarily focused on communicating with consumers on pure social media platforms.
In 2018, we can expect that more brands will invest more resources in connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. Moreover, as artificial intelligence, voice assistants, and chatbots get integrated with popular messaging apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp, more brands will be able to offer personalized shopping experiences to their customers in the years to come.
- Social Media Marketers Battling Fake News
As damaging and deceiving as they are, the propagation of fake news on various social media platforms is now a major concern not only for the public but the brands as well. People are becoming more skeptical about sponsored content, and more are quick in sharing made-up articles pertaining certain companies.
That was what pizza restaurant Comet Ping Pong found out in 2016 when it became the subject of a fake news story that circulated on social media. The story claimed that the restaurant was a front for a sex trafficking ring allegedly run by Democrats.
While there was no substantial physical evidence to back the claims, they were embraced and spread further by eager conspiracy theorists. By the time the company got the picture and mounted their response, the fake news already gained traction and changed the perception of their audience towards their brand.
Until social media platforms come up with a more reliable solution to the fake news problem, social media marketers must become more proactive in tackling the issue. As such, proper training on how to efficiently deal with fake news will become a focus for many brands – including those who still don’t have social media presence yet.
Which of these trends do you think will matter the most for social media marketers in 2018? Leave a comment below and start the conversation today.
Download this infographic.