Giving me a raise
Incredible but true: the biggest social media trend for the coming year will be giving me a huge raise!
In 2018, across all industries, your social media manager will probably need a company car or an expense account or something. This will make up for no one really knowing what their job title is (Community Manager? Social Specialist? You do Facebook stuff all day, right?) And is guaranteed to make it go viral. What is it? Not important, but it’s definitely #trending right now.
Now that we’re clear on that, here’s what else to keep in mind for 2018.
Enter the micro-influencer
The age of the mega-influencer may officially be over.
While paying a Kardashian or Jenner to promote a product through their social accounts may have reaped big rewards for brands in the past, targeting consumers on social media is about to get a lot more micro.
With consumers reporting that they’re just as likely to trust someone they know as they are a professional, 2018 will be all about small scale influencer campaigns that tap into uber-specific social spheres.
Younger, savvier consumers are likely to see through a large-scale celebrity social influencer campaign – but can be reached more effectively via authentic, relatable, and genuinely enthusiastic social media personalities.
The takeaway? A large follower count won’t guarantee results, but a well-informed and passionate influencer with an engaged following will.
Brands as broadcasters
On social media, video will still reign supreme in 2018. With video content prioritized algorithmically in feeds on most social platforms, it’s obviously smart to follow the pack and pivot to video.
But what’s the best approach?
Live video will, unsurprisingly, still be big in 2018. Live streams on Facebook have a 25% higher engagement rate than standard video content and are perfect for launches or major events.
With many social platforms majorly investing in influencer video content (think early days of YouTube,) the micro-influencer/video content-creator approach will make waves in 2018.
Overall, platforms are encouraging brands to become broadcasters: consumers on social are more likely to watch a video than they are to read a post.
The biggest lesson for 2018 will be how to accurately report the consumer impact of video content. Agencies and clients alike are used to turning to direct engagements to benchmark success, but activity is no longer an accurate metric. While harder to contextualize, the impact of views rather than likes will be further proven in 2018.
Rise of the machines
Chat bots are becoming increasingly present in the social media marketing landscape, but 2018 will be the year brands need to fully embrace the possibilities and benefits of the bots.
More social media activity is taking place privately than publicly. Users are more aware than ever that every like and comment on a brand post will be visible to their friends, family, and future employers. This comes into play when discussing passive vs active engagements. While this makes tracking certain KPIs difficult, and perhaps out-dated, it opens new avenues for brands to communicate with actively involved consumers.
Chat bots can no longer be considered a quick fix for customer service based social accounts, but rather an exceptional way to learn more about consumers and leave them with a genuine sense of goodwill toward the brand.
In 2018, strike while the iron is still hot: smart, fun, and engaging chat bots are still relatively novel and buzz worthy.
A team effort
When it comes to consumer trust, peers may be viewed as more credible than experts – however right behind friends or relatable micro-influencers is a surprising demographic: employees.
With brand trust down and younger demographics increasingly averse to traditional advertising, employee advocacy is a trend that will only pick up more steam in 2018.
Making your company seem like a cool place to work is a surprisingly simple premise that brands like L’Oreal have recently seen great success with. It puts a human face on a corporation and fosters a sense of reliability: if employees are willing to share brand content, they probably believe in it.
Aside from generating good will, employee advocacy also increases awareness, with brand messaging reaching 561% further on social when shared by employees rather than corporately owned accounts.
Remember these insights while working on 2018 social strategies, and we’re sure you’ll never pull a McDonalds.