Long gone are the days when simple text or image updates made for effective social content. As new technologies emerge and online demographics shift, tactics that worked five years ago ― or even one year ago ― are rapidly becoming obsolete. So, to keep your brand content on the cutting edge, here are some trends to stay ahead of as we look to 2018:
1. Live Streaming
It’s no secret that video has become essential to any marketing strategy in the past few years, but live streaming is the most recent video application to take social media by storm. Between current devices’ increased streaming capabilities and the continued focus on video content, live streaming has already grown tremendously. Currently, live videos are broadcast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even Tumblr ― but with 82% of audiences preferring live video to social posts, expect this tactic to gain even more prominence next year.
2. Augmented and Virtual Reality
This year, an estimated 40 million people in the U.S. have engaged with some form of augmented reality at least monthly. With its lens features and real-time virtual camera effects, Snapchat has made the biggest push into this sphere. Mobile gaming applications like Pokémon Go have dabbled in AR as well, but in 2018 the widespread availability of AR and VR will create new opportunities for marketers to make their content on social platforms more interactive as well as engaging.
3. Chatbots and Messaging
Personalization is key in the current social media landscape, especially with regards to messaging. Two billion messages are sent each month between people and businesses through chatbots, which are relatively simple AI interfaces specializing in natural language processing ― think Siri or Cortana, but less sophisticated. They live on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and provide an automated but (ideally) satisfying way for companies to answer individuals’ questions or provide information. When done right, bots allow businesses to message audiences in a more immediate way, on a more personalized level, at scale. For brands, messaging apps have mostly been for early adopters till now, but expect that to change in 2018.
4. Influencer Marketing
It’s imperative for brands to access and tap into consumer trust, and one of the best ways to do that is through influencer marketing. 45% of online shoppers say they are influenced by the opinions of others, and 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising. In 2018, more brands will partner with influencers and embrace this tactic across channels as a more authentic way to build customer relationships.