T.S Eliot once said, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” 2017 was a banner year for social media marketing. With major shifts in the way people consume social media, social media companies regulate it, and vendors innovate creative ways to monetize feeds, trends are shifting like the tides and evolving at a record clip. In the last few years, convincing businesses they can monetize social media had been one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. Now, that hurdles is largely in the rearview mirror with reports that 96% of businesses are using social media. Last year’s words belong to last year and 2018 will see even more changes. Read further to see what happened when we looked into our crystal ball and forecasted trends to watch out for in 2018…
1. Instagram with the Win!
When Instagram launched its Stories feature in August of 2016, many didn’t know if they would be able to slow the bullet train we called Snapchat. But a year later we have seen over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat. Users no longer have to switch apps to Snapchat for their fill of flower crowns and dog faces. Having an easy to use and familiar platform that ties to, and is owned by, Facebook makes daily usage easy. Instagram has become an all-in-one spot for posts, filters, messaging, and disappearing content. Being a Facebook-owned company also means better reporting and analysis for businesses to improve customer targeting. We predict Instagram, driven by Stories, will continue to grow while also being used more by businesses to capture your entire screen with branded messages.
2. Where are We? The Rise of Augmented Reality
Another place we see Facebook’s strong impact is in the world of Augmented Reality (AR). They own Oculus and have created Facebook Spaces. Both provide users the ability to escape reality and visit cool places. Augmented reality companies and internal teams at various social media corporations have been working on ways to build upon technology like Skype and FaceTime, allowing users the ability to hang out together in a virtual world. Watching movies, talking, taking pictures, listening to music and more. The new iPhone X and 8 have chips that enhance the AR experience. As the technology develops you may see filters or features like the ability to add furniture or products in a room or scene. Imagine holding a virtual demo for your new makeup line where groups of friends and customers are able to experience everything together even if across the country or the world. Or, imagine being able to see an augmented (or reduced) you at your local plastic surgeon’s offices before you go under the knife. With this new world of AR becoming a bigger part of our actual reality, there is an opportunity for businesses to capitalize with unique brand and product experiences.
3. ACTION! You Are Live!
It is no surprise in our on demand society that live streaming has been growing in popularity, up 14% since 2016. Companies as well as users have begun to discover the ability to reach people immediately with their message. Why wait to edit and post a demo video when you can hold a live event, get real feedback, address questions and concerns, and still have the ability to re-post the content as you would a normal video? Broadcasting to followers in real time is a fantastic way to get people interested in your content and engaged with your brand. As more people utilize the camera and viewing devices in their pocket, we predict live streaming will become an even bigger part of engaging and exciting your customers.
4. Ain’t Nothin’ in Life for Free
For many years, Google has earned billions through Google Adwords, commonly called pay-per-click advertising. Similarly, Instagram and Facebook, as well as LinkedIn and Twitter, we predict will earn the vast majority of their revenue from pay-per-click advertising and similar marketing options within their apps. Because of this, companies will continue to see a decrease in the percentage of their followers seeing their content, forcing nearly all companies to pay for boosted posts and paid advertising to get their message out on social media. In positive news, this should, for some time, be far less costly than advertising through Google Adwords and for many industries be as, or more, effective. Regardless, the days of posting for free and having a mass of customers or clients contact your company or purchase your product or service are in a downwards spiral with no end in site, underscoring the need for a social media marketing team with expertise in post creation and curation coupled with paid advertising acumen.
We are not clairvoyant, but we know a thing or two about social media and digital marketing. One thing we do know is that as more companies and people gravitate to social media for their everyday needs, marketers will need to continue to utilize evolving technology and user trends to stay on the cutting edge. For help bringing your social media into 2018 in a profitable way, GetTheScoop@iScreamSocialMedia.com.