Social Media Trends For 2018—What You Need To Do To Stay Ahead Of The Game

Social Media Trends For 2018—What You Need To Do To Stay Ahead Of The Game

Businessman looking ahead for social media trends

At Tate Design, we are here to help you build a strong brand and a vibrant online presence. This means we keep informed about changes in the social media landscape and know how to take appropriate action. Here is what you need to do.

Forget what you know about big numbers
Clicks, likes, shares, social proof, and traffic to your blog or website are not as important as building an amazing audience. Instead of looking at numbers of people, look at their engagement with you and your content. As Jeff Bullas shared in an interview on unpacking social media trends with Jeff Steen on March 14, 2018, “The real connection with an audience, whatever your goal, happens when you share your honest thoughts and feelings. That’s incredibly powerful and can incite change more quickly than a well-rehearsed presentation on sales or industry trends.”

Make your content mobile-friendly
Social media users aren’t all at their desktops. From 60% of LinkedIn users to 100% of Snapchat users, the majority of users on these major social networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter) use their mobile devices to access content.

Choose more than one platform
When asked, “What is your single most important social platform?” for this year’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 67% of 5,700 respondents said Facebook, 12% LinkedIn, 10% Instagram, 5% Twitter, 4% YouTube, 2% Pinterest, and 0% Snapchat. While Facebook obviously has a loyal following now, their January 2018 algorithm change may encourage you and/or your audience to look elsewhere. Also, who knows what social media platforms will best serve your audience and your business in the future?

Basically, Facebook has changed its news feed. Instead of helping you/your audience find relevant content, the goal is now to help you have more meaningful interactions. Facebook wants you—the content creator—to post content that will accomplish this for them. They want to see your followers get others to Comment and Like, respond in long (not one-word) answers, carry on conversations with others in response to what you post, and share your content on Messenger so they can talk about it with friends.

Take a look at messaging
Messaging is gaining in popularity. As of January 2018, Facebook Messenger and Facebook-owned WhatsApp both had 1.3 billion active users. Another 217 million people use LINE, the messaging system that replaced Japan’s telecommunications after their massive earthquake. An additional 2.1+ billion people actively use QQ, Skype, and WeChat. This is almost equal to the total of active Facebook (2,167 million), Instagram (800 million), Twitter (330 million), and YouTube (1,500 million) users.

Realize organic content won’t be as effective
Michael Stelzner, speaking at Social Media Marketing World in March 2018, shared that your organic content will no longer have the reach that you have enjoyed in the past. Links to your external pages—blog posts, website, landing pages—will get less visibility with the new Facebook algorithm and this applies to personal posts, your groups, and your event postings.

Even videos will get less space in the Facebook news feed. According to a statement by Mark Zuckerberg during Facebook’s January 2018 quarterly update “We made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure your time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.”

Stelzner observed “…you are about to hit the end of the organic road if you are part of the 89% using Facebook to generate exposure or the 81% to generate traffic to your website.”

Invest in advertising on social media
Obviously, increasing organic posts on Facebook—and possibly other platforms, too—will not produce the results that investing in high quality, relevant, targeted ads will. Ads will become more important. Tate Design can help you with this process.

Try different kinds of videos
Video will remain popular but there is no one clear winner. Facebook likes quick on-the-go videos, which is why they have Instagram Stories. They also love video because it gets people talking. Unfortunately, only 35% of those in this year’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report are using it (but 77% say they plan to increase their use of all kinds of video in the next 12 months). Facebook’s algorithm also adores videos that are crafted as episodes of a story, which encourage viewers to keep coming back for more.

Bullas, in the previously mentioned interview, noted, “There’s a push now to create longer-form, more meaningful content. And sure…there are different kinds of content and there’s tension between quick-hit content “bites” and content of consequence. But I think there will be a lot of focus on quality, long-form content this year because there’s so much crap online. People want content that is real, that has value.”

If you are new to video, here are some easy ways to do live video that has value:
• Ask in-depth questions that get people talking about meaningful things
• Give a tour of your place of business or walk a customer through the production of their purchase
• Report breaking news in your industry and comment on what it means to you personally
• Review books or tools as they hit the market, just when your friends are considering a purchase
• Share tips your followers can use immediately
• Show your audience around a live event and tell them what you are learning, what they shouldn’t miss if they attend, what you wish you had packed, or your favorite giveaways

Once you have created your videos, make good use of them. Post them on multiple social media sites.

Explore automation and artificial intelligence
It’s great to show how human you are in all those videos but there is also a time and place for human-like technology. That time is now. Chatbot use is on the rise. David Marcus, head of Messenger for Facebook, reported that more than 200,000 bots were live in January of this year. They will continue to be an important part of quickly responding to customer queries for many businesses. AI and automation will play a greater role in marketing and publishing, too.

However, Twitter has come back hard in an effort to prevent spam and bot activity. They will no longer allow posting of identical or nearly identical material on multiple accounts at the same time. If you do not comply, your Twitter account may be suspended. This rule does not apply to emergency and public safety announcements or weather bulletins.

Look for more storytelling
Storytelling isn’t limited to Facebook and Instagram. More storytelling is happening on LinkedIn, which continues to grow as the best social network for business. Even Twitter has enabled better stories with its increased character limit.

Don’t be intimidated by this list or the rapid changes that occur in the world of social media. We at Tate Design are on your side every step of the way with your social media marketing and graphic design for your ad campaigns and other online content.  Stay ahead of the game. Start with a call to Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or an e-mail to info@tatedesign.net.

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