As the digital marketing era matures, brands must constantly innovate their strategies to remain competitive. What does this mean? Well, with the decline of organic reach and customers being saturated with content, brands must re-evaluate and refine their digital tactics from the ground up. To start, ask yourself if you are pushing out engaging content that is hyper-relative to your target customer? Do your present social platforms align with your brand? In 2018, less is more and quality over quantity of content will take precedence.
Here are the 5 social media trends you should be implementing in 2018:
Ready, Camera, Action – Video is taking over.
Video has been making its steady rise and with the introduction of newer features like Facebook Live and Instagram stories, it’s not going anywhere. It's estimated that by 2019, video will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic. It also generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.
Keep in mind that your video content will garner significant more engagement when it is unique and on brand. What you can do with video is endless, for example: take the opportunity to educate your customers on a new product, bring them behind the scenes or conduct interviews with different departments. Video is a great way to build a friendship with your customer and with so many easy editing programs, there is no excuse to not be creating video content.
2018’s Best Friend -- The Cellphone
Mobile now represents almost 7 in 10 digital media minutes, with smartphone applications alone accounting for one-half of all time spent engaging with digital media (2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report). When it comes to creating and sharing mobile content think of apps like Instagram and Snapchat. This creative should be uncomplicated and visually compelling. Not to mention, if your website is not mobile responsive this could be a detriment to your success and a huge waste of marketing dollars, so before you drive customers from social media to your website always make sure your mobile web user experience is seamless.
Living in a Fantasy World -- Augmented Reality
AR is the leading edge when it comes to virtually connecting with your customer. This interactive brand experience is unique and can leave a lasting impression on a potential customer. Snapchat was the first AR social media app and other apps like Facebook are not far behind. Be ready for when AR takes over by beginning to think “if and how” AR could enrich your brand marketing efforts.
At Your Service -- AI and Chatbots
With the immediacy of social media traditional customer service strategies are no longer working. An unhappy customer can tweet at your brand with an issue and there it is for the entire world to see. Brands have had to scramble to find what it means to give great customer service in this instant messaging era, so it’s no wonder that AI and Chatbots have become necessary to real-time engagement. If a brand is not easily accessible to the public, this could be a deciding factor between you and a competitor. AI and Chatbots make real-time customer engagement more consistent for the customer and achievable for the brand. Something to think about: 38% of enterprise brands used AI in 2017, by 2018 this will increase to 62%.
The Niche Influencer
You may have noticed there’s a saturation of influencers on platforms like Instagram and Youtube and no, they aren’t going away. 49% of Twitter and Instagram users say they rely on recommendations from influencers, so it comes as no surprise that 94% of brands who used influencer marketing believe it’s an effective strategy – because it is! Most customers have grown wary of traditional marketing strategies and while still effective, influencers have a more authentic way of reaching customers. With that said, not just any influencer will work. Be sure to choose carefully, the influencers lifestyle should align with your brand. For example: a niche influencer in tech with 10k followers may be more effective for your tech product than a fashion influencer with more 20k followers. Social ROI can be ambiguous at times but influencer marketing has a proven 10x rise in conversion rate.
Thinking ahead can lead to sustainable success. Generation Zers, born from 1995-2012 are considered the ‘true digital natives’ and already have an estimated $44 billion in buying power. If you have been putting off true consideration for the power of digital marketing, 2018 is a time for change.
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Other sources: Socialmediatoday.com, Narrative Science