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2018 SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS FOR BUSINESS

2018 SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS FOR BUSINESS

2018 is the year that social media will take over the world. The key to survival? Be prepared!
To stay ahead of the pack, you need to keep up with the latest social media trends such as user behaviour, new technology and consumer demands.

Below are the social media trends that are set to have a major impact this year:

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE USER EXPERIENCE

 

  • Quality Content:

    Social media users are an increasingly discerning and demanding bunch. “Winging it” will not work – messaging must be strategically planned, crafted and executed. Content should be compelling, engaging, creative and visually appealing in order to succeed, with brand consistency and exceptional quality underlying all activities.

 

  • Increased Personalisation:

    Marketing will be more target-based, making use of not just demographic info, but factors like user lifestyle (e.g. interest in sport), media consumption habits (via mobile, on the move etc) and real-time behaviour (e.g. status change to “single”) as well. From a user perspective, content received is expected to be more relevant and personal than ever.

 

  • Improved Customer Service:

    It’s do or die when it comes to customer service and responsiveness. Falling short will put a brand’s reputation at risk as users waste no time in venting their frustrations online. On the upside, excellent customer service will be rewarded by loyalty and positive public commentary by clients. Long term customer relationships and community building will also become more vital areas of focus by social media managers.

 

  • Changing social media landscape:

    Platform-specific changes such as recently revised Facebook algorithms will make organic reach more difficult – meaning messages need to be even more effective and targeted. A boom in Millennials and Generation Z (those born after 1992) as part of the workforce form ever-expanding digital-based active consumer segment. Strategy plans have to evolve to meet the needs of this diverse (and somewhat challenging) market sector.

 

 

INFLUENCER MARKETING & ENDORSEMENT

 

  • Authenticity:

    2018 will see a shift towards more authentic and transparent messaging, driven by customer demands and sentiment. Influencers need to be genuine, representative of the brand and maintain a level of integrity in terms of their social media presence.

 

  • Client Testimonials:

    Companies that incorporate a customer reviews on their platforms will encourage positive sentiment as consumers are more likely to support, mention or endorse a brand that they view as trustworthy..

 

  • Employee amplification:

    Organisations are also seeing the potential of using their employee base as a valuable resource to inspire consumer trust. Effective employee amplification techniques that help position staff as brand ambassadors, and even industry experts, help in promoting brand objectives.

 

 

DIRECT MESSAGING & CHATBOTS

 

  • Direct consumer contact:

    As the need for personal interaction increases, social media is moving towards a higher volume of one-to-one client communication, with brands set to channel more resources into apps and platforms that facilitate direct interaction with consumers.

 

  • Facebook Messenger:

    There will be a tangible increase in the use of Facebook Messenger services such as Ads (running ads directly through Facebook, thus eliminating the need to obtain email addresses for direct marketing) and Bots. Facebook in general will see a rise in business-based application including targeted paid promotions.

 

  • Bots:

    Until now, bots have been a “nice to have” option mainly used by larger brands. This year, however, will see a breakthrough in the mainstream use of chatbots by brands across the board. Well-setup bot automation has been shown to substantially improve business productivity, reduce costs and improve customer service.

 

 

VIDEO CONTENT

 

  • Brands:

    While 2017 stats already revealed a surge in the use of videos, this year video usage will be taken to a whole new level. Compelling Live Streaming content will become an integral tool for organic reach, especially with the new Facebook News Feed algorithm set for activation in early 2018.

 

  • The Long and Short of it:

    Longer format and storytelling-style videos (such as Instagram Stories) are set gain popularity this year. On the flip side, a rise in the use of ephemeral content (posts that are short-lived, such as Snapchat videos) will shake up the social media sphere by creating an urgency to view before it disappears a few hours after it is posted. 

 

  • Apps and Technology:

    Other video-based trends to watch out for are the use of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and in-platform apps like Facebook Watch by a growing number of businesses.

 

 

DATA & CONSUMER INSIGHT

 

  • Reporting and statistics:

    A higher priority will be placed on measurable statistics such as engagement metrics and overall return on investment by marketers when assessing the business value of activities.

 

  • Emotional analytics:

    Focus on emotion-based information such as customer sentiment, brand health and message memorability will be more prevalent.

 

  • Social Listening:

    Techniques like social listening are growing in importance as companies are under pressure to gain a competitive edge. By leveraging off user generated content, brands can gain insight leading to improved customer service, increased user engagement and more effective marketing strategies.

 


Other 2018 social media trends include added integration with online purchasing (e.g. Instagram Shoppable posts), improved business-based functionality within the various platforms and an overall increase in social media users globally. It’s no wonder that brands are investing more and more resources into their social media presence.

 

For companies that have not yet finalised their social media budget, experts suggest that a minimum 20% – 25% of total marketing spend should be allocated to social media activities. Whether in-house or outsourced, social media is an undeniable force to be reckoned with. Make sure you harness the awesome power it offers to make it work for your brand.  

 

 

Social Media 101: The social media specialists

 

 

New Facebook Algorithm

New Facebook Algorithm

What is the new Facebook algorithm all about?

 

Facebook has announced a new change to its algorithms, starting with the News Feed element. This will affect how content appears on each users personal News Feed. At the moment, much of the organic content seen is based on a user’s behaviour on the platform. For example: a person that previously clicked to view a page post gets served more content from that page. This includes public content from business pages. 

The new Facebook algorithm will instead be based on what Facebook deems as useful content, prioritising network contacts and high engagement posts. One-on-one communication and posts from Facebook contacts will increase while public content from brands or business pages will drop. Facebook’s aim is to enhance the user experience and personal interaction between individuals while reducing business-based passively consumed messages.

Continuing our focus for 2018 to make sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent… Last week I…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, 19 January 2018

How will the new Facebook News Feed settings impact my brand?

 

Firstly, the information provided by Facebook is quite vague. So at this point, outcomes of the change are based on predictions until we get solid facts.

Disclaimer aside, the projected negative impact faced by brands include reduced organic reach potential and increased competition. This means that more paid promotion will be necessary in order to get the required audience exposure. As the user experience takes precedence over brand marketing, content strategy will have to be adapted to meet this shift. 

What can I do to improve my brand’s News Feed ranking on Facebook?

 

While we don’t know for sure how drastically the changes will impact business pages, it’s best to take a proactive approach. To win, quality of content is imperative. Posts need to be crafted to be visually appealing, have high engagement potential and add value to the end user.  The type of media used is also important – Live Videos have a much higher reach than static images, for example. Therefore, great video content is likely to get more organic views in general.

Audience targeting has to be razor focused on people that have a genuine interest in your product or service. As priority will be given to network communication, setting up groups will not only increase your reach, but will also encourage authentic engagement from members.

What could Facebook’s changes mean for marketing in general?

 

While we await the implementation of the new Facebook algorithm and the results of this change, I can’t help but consider what this means for the progression of consumer marketing as a whole. The approach taken by Facebook may prove prophetic in predicting the future of business practices.

As consumers grow increasingly demanding, and the brands that excel will be the ones that meet client needs best. If the Facebook methodology is anything to go by, personalisation, emotive value and authenticity seem to be the key elements to brand success and customer loyalty.  I suggest that you get a head-start by applying a genuine customer-centric approach to all organisation processes – beginning with your social media strategy.

Social Media 101: The social media specialists

 

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