It’s that time of year again! Let’s check in with the social media world to see if the predictions we made at the beginning of the year have either come to pass or are ready for takeoff. Checking in with the trends and seeing if our predictions were correct isn’t just a way to make sure we’re staying on top of things—it’s a way to help you ensure you’re in the know with the latest and greatest upcoming trends in social media so you’re prepared to close out this year with a big bang.
And now for the moment of truth!
Prediction 1: Be Prepared to Pay
We said you should be prepared to pay when it comes to social media advertising. There are six million advertisers on Facebook. That number alone should elicit a “shut up and take my money!” reaction from businesses. But this isn’t just a follow-the-crowd scenario. It isn’t enough to have a social media presence on the platforms anymore because almost all businesses have profiles. It’s getting harder and harder to stand out among the crowd, and organic reach isn’t what it used to be. That’s why businesses are finding that the best way to reach new audiences is to rely on a tried-and-true solution: advertising. Except this time it’s in the digital arena. And it’s generally a little bit easier once you get the hang of it, especially as you dig in and understand how to best target your ads.
Prediction 2: Farewell to Twitter
Result: True—at least in a way.
We didn’t mean goodbye to the platform all together but to the Twitter we once knew. Marketing and business guru Neil Patel ranked the platform eleventh on his list of the most-used and most popular social media platforms for 2018. What we predicted most likely to happen to Twitter in 2018 is that there would be changes—and, indeed, there have been.
In an effort to combat malicious and fraudulent activity, as well as spambots, fake news, and spam messages, Twitter recently published new rules for using the platform. In a nutshell, Twitter is now restricting users from posting the same or even similar original content to multiple accounts they manage as well as performing simultaneous actions across those multiple accounts, even with automation tools like social media dashboard managers. If these rules are not followed, Twitter may even restrict accounts. It’s hoped these new rules will bring Twitter back to being one of the most-used and most-trusted platforms, although the results may not be apparent for a few years.
Prediction 3: Video Kills the Text Star
Text isn’t dead—not yet. But video is by far the most popular means of advertising: 53 percent of audiences say they want more video content, because it’s more personal and engaging. Did you know that 77 percent of viewers watch until the end? Granted, the most popular videos are those averaging two minutes in length, but you can say a lot in those 120 seconds. And remember that going viral isn’t necessary—what’s important is that you create a high-quality video that reaches and engages your target audience. The most common videos don’t even require a large set or big script! You can use your two-minute videos to explain your business or product, give a short demonstration, offer a free DIY or how-to tutorial, and ask some of your top clients to provide testimonials (and this last option gets you out from in front of the camera!).
Prediction 4: Go Live or Go Home
Live video continues to thrive across the social media platforms. Remember from our article how Forbes media experts said live video is expected of social media marketers nowadays? Well, according to a recent study, 95 percent of brands incorporate live video in their content marketing strategies, nearly 60 percent of both customers and employees feel that live video brings a human element to digital marketing, and more than 56 percent say it engages customers more than your average social media. Here’s one more statistic that may send you scrambling to use a live camera: 80 percent of audiences say they’d rather watch a live video than read an article.
If you’re still hiding in the dark about live video (or pretending to not see the light!), we’ll just leave this list of sixty-two statistics about live video right here for you to try to ignore. Lights, camera, action!
But before we step away from live streaming, let’s quickly chat about its cousin, expiring (or ephemeral) content. As a quick overview, remember that this type of content began with Snap and is now headed up by Instagram (owned by Facebook, of course). Two hundred million Instagramers currently utilize the Stories feature. There are a few reasons why this type of content is so popular: one, because it’s short-lived—you have to watch it now, before it expires. Two, it doesn’t clog up people’s news feeds and timelines because the Stories feature (both on Instagram and now Facebook) is at the top of the screen, allowing you to scroll left to right and choose which Stories you want to watch.
Prediction 5: Let’s Get Personal
Even though we live in the age of digital media, we predicted that people would want a more personal experience. One way brands and companies have been getting more personal is through messenger apps, which have, indeed, been one of the biggest booms in social media in 2018. Users can talk directly with the businesses they follow rather than through a page post for the entire platform to see, and the response—whether automated or not—is directed just toward them. And even though it may be a chatbot that answers, users are still feeling a more personal connection. Chatbots are another area of social media expanding across the platforms, one reason being they’re a cost-effective and time-effective way of responding directly to customers. 2018 is also seeing a big push for more personalized content, possibly for the simple reason that with so much content out there, audiences are looking for content that speaks directly to them.
So there you have it—pretty accurate predictions! However, there is one we didn’t predict we thought you may want to know about: augmented reality. Sounds futuristic, right? Well, pardon the cliché, but the future is now! Augmented reality—which takes something real and alters it using technology—is a fun way to engage customers. You’ve seen the fun filters you can use in messaging apps? That’s augmented reality. Did you play Pokémon Go? That utilized augmented reality (and, as a fun fact, the company behind Pokémon Go is going to release a Harry Potter game soon—yessss!). We recommend getting in on this trend now—and that you have fun doing it.
What predictions do you have for the rest of the year? Let us know in the comments below!