A new year inspires new changes. When it comes to social media marketing, we’re all out on the lookout for something new, be it the next big trend or hack that a few know about. Social media marketing trends come and go, but every year solidified trends determine our workflow which means being on top of social media updates and marketing trends in this article is a must for a every business.

Marketers constantly have to ask important questions when it comes to social media marketing strategies – what are we doing that works for our brand and what can we do to improve our approach? What can we integrate into our strategy to improve engagement? What are the latest innovative trends that we can implement? All these questions and more will be addressed in our comprehensive guide on social media marketing trends in 2018.

Main social media trends for businesses

1. The rise of user generated content

User generated content is not a new concept in social media marketing. Bringing people on board to contribute to your strategy is always a win-win situation. Potential clients appreciate the human element and the authenticity of posts about people enjoying your product or services.

In 2018, things need to be changed up a bit. It’s not enough to post Instagram pictures by users that have tagged your product. Find creative ways to get people to subtly promote your product all the while leaving comments about your brand that can be repurposed for other social media networks. This way, you span out and repurpose excellent content to share real stories about your brand or business.

social media marketing trends 2018 influencer marketing

2. Micro-influencer marketing

As an extension of the previous trend, influencer marketing is changing as well. There have been both good and bad sides to influencer marketing, as some brands blow their budgets and go out of their way just to make use this as a source for promotion.

In 2018, we’re looking more at micro-influencer marketing which is different and has proven to be more effective. This means using lesser known influencers to promote your brand or products. It makes reaching out to influencers slightly easier, doesn’t drain your budget and will actually help you promote products in a more cost effective way. It’s the quality of the posts and reviews that matter more so than the very well known or a lesser known individual.

example of micro influencer marketing from banana republic

3. Strong visual content still a priority

More so than ever, the focus is on your brand or business’s aesthetics. The visuals you use resonate with your followers, clients and potential leads. It is therefore crucial to implement a visual marketing strategy which is a lot of work, but pays off in the best ways.

Here are some useful resources to get started today:

  • Depositphotos featured collections for every theme and event

We hand select only the best images from our library based on popular topics, themes and events. We’re also introducing video collections this year to help you have better curated collections and visual content for your projects.

social media marketing trends in 2018 - quality visuals

Everything about visuals and formats that you can count on this year. From the trendiest topics circling around social media, to new formats that are going to add a creative flare to your online and offline projects.

Posting visual content on social media every single day can result in a creative block, so why not change things up and opt for professional designs? Check out the Inspiration Collection for ideas on upcoming events.

social media marketing trends 2018 creative content

For more resources, check out our article on keyword search hacks for stock photography, tips on choosing stock photos, 10 visual formats you should be using, and an article on how to win over your clients with visual content.  

4. Live video and real-time content

Going live on Instagram and Facebook was popular last year, but you shouldn’t be surprised that 2018 is the year when this trend gains momentum. Snapchat joined the crowd and live and real-time events became second nature to many of us. This is important to your brand in that it can bring your clients closer to your business with an almost face-to-face-like interaction.

The difficult part about making the most of this trend is coming up with really original and creative ideas and giving your followers something truly worthy and useful through the medium. Time to brainstorm with your team, take tips from Buzzfeed:

5. Chat bots vs human interaction

Facebook Chat bots are automating customers service, which is great, but are we losing the human element in the process? The idea of having chatbots seems to be on trend and certainly speeds up customer service, however, in 2018 people will be more pleasantly surprise and grow to appreciate your business if you manage to integrate the human element as well.

Finding the perfect middle ground should be a priority this year. You can have chatbots, but by all means don’t neglect the human side to your brand. You have to remind the people that click, read and engage with your content that there is also a very real human and a team of people behind each post.

social media marketing trends for business - chatbots

Image source: Loyalty Apps

6. Cling on to Generation Z

This is where things get interesting for every business. Goldman Sachs mentioned that Generation Z is more valuable to marketers than millennials in 2018. Why? Because their buying power is on the rise.

Many marketers choose to put off this fact because Generation Z are mostly 22 year olds that just graduated, but this also means they’re a new wave of the workforce. B2B marketers should take this into consideration and put lots of thought and research into targeting this market. This research can help answer questions about where your target audience hangs out to know which channels to invest more time in.

social media marketing trends 2018 generation z

7. Prepare for a Twitter turnaround

Businesses prefer to invest into increasingly popular platforms like Instagram and Facebook this year. What can we say about Twitter? The past few years have been a struggle (especially with the code of conduct issue), which leads us to believe that big changes are underway to make it a relevant and powerful marketing platform for businesses. Watch out for Twitter updates in 2018 and finding new ways to market your business on the platform.

social media marketing trends on twitter in 2018

8. Newsflash: Social media is predominantly mobile

No big surprise here that we’re all glued to our smartphones. Majority of social media users are using their smartphone to access popular apps and check social media. Let’s look at some numbers for the use of apps on smartphones as opposed to desktops:

  • Facebook: 94% of monthly active users
  • Twitter: 82% of monthly active users
  • LinkedIn: 60% of unique visitors
  • Pinterest: 80% traffic from mobile users
  • Instagram and Snapchat: Majority, no stats needed

You know what this means. Mobile optimization is a must. Every type of content that you post has to be just as effective on mobile devices.

social media marketing trents for business in 2018 mobile

9. Organic search and referral traffic is quickly decreasing

Not the best news for marketers, but the tough reality over the past few years. The result of a fall in organic reach on Facebook was the changes in the algorithm that prioritizes posts from friends and family. Instagram and Twitter similarly made changes to affect organic search.

Due to these changes, referral traffic has been falling on social media. As fewer people see your posts, fewer click on the links to be redirected to your website. Referral traffic from Facebook according to Parse.ly almost halved in the past year. Brace yourself for 2018!

referral-traffic-facebook-2018

Image credit: Parse.ly

10. Buzz around augmented and virtual reality

Filters – they’re everywhere! With Instagram pushing Stories, we’re expecting even more filters to become available on social media. Instagram is next in line with the trend, giving users a chance to interact with filters. The newest iPhone uses face recognition and augmented reality technology, and the social networks are ready to dive into the trend.

The potential for brands with this is immense. You can showcase your products in new ways for your audience to show what your items look like in possession. Integrating AR into your marketing efforts is not for everyone’s budget but this year, we’re expecting to see a surge in terms of accessibility and the use of this trend for brands and companies on social media. This is the driving force behind the more fun and interactive content on social media, and definitely going to be significant in social media marketing in 2018.

ikea AR integration

Image credit: Adweek

The takeaway from all these trends is that social media marketing trends don’t stay in place. Jumping on board and using all of these trends might be too much, but a few off the list should bring a new value for your followers and customers. Be persistent, focus on building and gaining trust, post only the best quality visual content and you can be sure to witness positive effects on your online presence in 2018.

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