Julie Cave
Julie Cave 25 January 2018

Social Media Marketing 2018: Are You Prepared?

Social media marketing 2018 looks very different than it did just a few years ago. Like most digital industries, social media continues to evolve rapidly, and that means that to have an effective marketing strategy, you must also keep up with change. What does social media marketing 2018 look like?

Trends: Social Media Marketing 2018

Video’s Not Going Anywhere

Experts have been saying for several years now that video is an important part of any marketing strategy. The reason for this is simple: Videos have been shown to elicit higher engagement, including more likes, retweets, comments and shares – especially on Facebook. Videos on social media generate 1,200% more shares than text and images combined. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they see it in a video and only 10% retain it when they see it in text. We also know that Facebook favours live video over every other type of content you post on your page.

Live streaming video is a highly effective and inexpensive way to engage your users that exploded in popularity. In 2018, more businesses will begin to realize the power of live streaming and will incorporate it into their social media strategies.

Plus, it’s estimated that by 2019, video will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic. It’s not just Facebook pushing video either. Instagram Stories and Snapchat stories are two other examples that give brands the chance to create timely video content and share it with their followers. Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month.  It’s estimated that nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018.

If your business uses Facebook and Instagram, you need to think about using video.

Artificial Intelligence: Chatbots

A chatbot is a software application built to simulate a human-like conversation. It acts as a customer service representative to the customer but does so in a very personable way – despite being automated. Chatbots assist people 24/7 and help improve revenue by building lasting relationships with potential customers – while you’re sleeping or busy with other tasks.

Using chatbots to provide customer service, receipts, and special offers to customers has really taken off in 2017. With customers wanting (and expecting) immediate answers to their questions, chatbots are an ideal solution – especially when they’re used through Facebook Messenger. Chatbots allow brands to interact quickly with customers in a way that feels personal.

Personalised Content

Social media marketing 2018 continues the trend of highly personalised content. Millennials and Generation Z are big markets, and are known for their mistrust of traditional advertising, meaning it doesn’t make sense to create content that designed with direct sales revenue in mind.

All individuals (not just millennials) want content that is relevant to them; personalized, customized content is more likely to be consumed and shared. Know your target market, and create a few user personas based on your most common types of buyers. These personas should be based on the buyer’s age, gender, education level, income, likes, location, and so on. Keep personas in mind every time you write a post or create a video. Step into the persona’s shoes and ask yourself if they will find value in the content you’re promoting. When you utilize user personas to determine the content you create across each social media platform, you’re ble to give your audience content that answers their specific problems–not guesses at them.

What goes hand-in-hand with personalised content is high quality, relevant content.

Anyone can create content, but not everyone can create high quality content. As audiences become more inundated, businesses and marketers will have to become more skilled at creating truly valuable content

The time of free organic reach has gone the way of the dinosaurs, and therefore to gain any kind of traction with social media marketing you need to have an advertising budget of some kind.

As the number of advertisers on social media increases, so will the cost of social ads – for context, spending on Facebook alone increased 74% year over year in 2017. If you want to make an impact on Facebook, you’ll need to set aside a budget to do so. The good news is that advertising on Facebook is inexpensive and highly targeted, which means your ads – if created correctly – can be very effective.

User-generated Content

According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, 83 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 66 percent trust other consumer opinions posted online. Those are substantially higher numbers than the 46 percent of consumers who trust ads on social networks. Because we know consumers trust one another’s opinions—not social influencers and celebrities—I expect that we’ll see brands leveraging user-generated content more heavily in their social strategies. Simply reposting a happy customer’s Instagram photo is no longer enough. Brands will spend time finessing user-generated content and weaving it into social campaigns in an organic yet professional way.

Social Media Marketing 2018: What To Do Next?

How can you and your business adapt to the ever-changing world of social media marketing? Here are some simple steps.

  • Make sure you have a social media marketing strategy with goals in mind.
  • Incorporate live streaming video into your strategy.
  • Think about how you can use Facebook Messenger as part of your strategy.
  • Have an advertising budget.
  • Never skimp on creating high-quality, relevant content.
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