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It’s reaching the end of the year and the time where, as marketers, we look into our psychic instincts and try to predict the future… that’s right – defining online and digital trends for the upcoming year. Joking aside, most of these predictions come to light, and having the knowledge of what’s to come is great for keeping ahead of the game. With the digital landscape constantly changing, it’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind and fall behind. But fear not – we’re here to show you how to build an online empire with these social media predictions for 2018. Some are a natural progression to what you would expect, but others may come at a surprise…

Hello, Generation Z

Up until now, millennials have been the target for many digital strategies. However, recent studies have implicated Generation Z to be much more valuable to a business than millennials are. This generation have now reached their 20’s, joining the workforce and possessing some real buying power that brands need to recognise in their social media strategy. Generation Z favour social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, and so businesses are going to need to place a large focus on these channels in order to target the Z-ers.

More Brands Will Utilise Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are used by billions of users across the world and are a great way for brands to communicate with their target audience. Instead of focusing solely on the main social media networks, brands will start to utilise messaging apps to connect with their consumers and provide them with a new level of communication that is much more responsive and personal. This was a prediction for 2017 and did come to fruition for many brands, but the social media-sphere expects to see this grow even further in 2018. Brands will utilise platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger to enhance consumers’ experiences with the brand. If this is a service your target audience would benefit from, you should start to think about ways you can incorporate messaging apps into your social media strategy.

Augmented Reality Will Make an Appearance

Augmented Reality

Much of social media is influenced by the latest iPhone, and 2018 is going to be no different. IPhones 8 and X provide users with the ability to experience augmented reality. But what exactly is this?

Wikipedia: Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, haptics or GPS data.

It is likely that platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram will jump on the bandwagon and create filters for users to be able to use augmented reality on their platforms.

Influencer Marketing Will Gain Momentum

Influencer Marketing on Instagram

This year has seen influencer marketing flourish and plant roots in many social media campaigns. Social media is constantly revolving to become more influential to its users, and alongside this, so have many individual social media users themselves. Users are able to develop a loyal following who respect the opinion of the user and use their social media as a way to discover new products and brands. Naturally, brands jumped onto this trend and have utilised these ‘influencers’ to target their consumer.

On the other end of the spectrum, this year has seen organisations struggle to connect with social media users using regular and more traditional advertising strategies. While on the other hand, brands utilising influencer marketing have seen many successful campaigns. While some brands were sceptical and uneducated about influencer marketing at first, 2017 trends have solidified this form of marketing as a successful tactic and now, a necessity. Brands will start to embrace this and switch their traditional strategies to influencer marketing in 2018.

Shoppable Media Will Expand

Shoppable Media

Marketers are always thinking of new ways to make the shopping experience more immersive to the consumer. It’s likely that trends will see marketers utilising video to add to this, through consumers being able to shop objects after tapping on items in a video. This means getting the consumer as soon as they see the content, making the buying process even quicker and more efficient.

Ephemeral Content to Conquer

Social Media Trend of Ephemeral Content

This year has seen a rise in ‘ephemeral content’, also known as disappearing content. Snapchat famously started the trend but 2017 saw Facebook and Instagram jumping on the bandwagon. With ephemeral content being a relatively new concept, it took a little while for some brands to work out how it can be incorporated into their social media strategy. However, ephemeral content is effective for two key reasons:

  1. It delivers a sense of urgency, encouraging consumers to ‘act now’,
  2. It improves the authenticity of a brand and helps to develop user trust.

Sponsored ads are now often perceived as spammy and annoying, but ephemeral content provides a new and more authentic way for brands to reach users. It is likely that this type of social media strategy is going to become more successful than other types of social media content in terms of conversions.

These are some of the key social media trends that brands, marketers, and users alike can expect to see in the new year. With this knowledge, brands and marketers can immediately start to put plans into place that will allow them to ride the social media wave with ease.

Now that you’re clued up on social media, discover the ways content marketing will be changing in 2018 to strengthen your digital strategy even further.

If you’re looking to develop your social media strategy but aren’t quite sure how best to do so, get in touch with us today! Alternatively, keep up to date with our blog for more social media advice.