In today’s market, where more than 70% of internet users are active on social media, implementing a strong social media strategy is a vital part of the marketing mix. Yet keeping on top of the latest trends and tools in social media is more complex now than ever. The platforms are ever-changing, and while new tools become more prominent and effective each day, existing practices that many companies are only just grasping are already becoming obsolete. Here are three top trends to stay on top of in 2018 to leverage your social media channels:
1. Video content
As digital marketing evolves, video content on social media has landed in an extremely dominant position and it’s set to drive more traffic and awareness for companies in 2018. The past year has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of video content consumed through the autoplay features in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which means the video will automatically start playing when scrolling through the feed. To optimise video content and boost your following ensure the first few seconds of the video have movement to capture the attention of those scrolling. Keep it short. Make watching video content a breeze for your audience; any video longer than two minutes will lose the interest of a lot of viewers. Don’t underestimate the power of humorous and relatable content, any video that encourages users to circulate and tag others is a social success for you, or the company you are representing.
2. Live streaming
In 2015, Facebook launched a live streaming video feature that was only available to celebrities. Since then, the $74 billion company has made live streaming available to all Facebook users worldwide. Other platforms that offer the same facility include Instagram, YouTube, Meerkat and Periscope. Now that companies and users are finding the concept of live streaming more familiar – 2018 is the prime time to put it into practice. Live content is considered one of the most genuine ways to connect with an audience, offering a personal insight to create an online buzz. However, there is a fine line when it comes to planning for live content on social media. Avoid overly scripted or rehearsed content, as this defeats the sense of spontaneity of being live and will lose the interest of your audience. Although, it is wise to plan the subject and time. This will allow you to tease your audience beforehand and choose the most productive time to go live; when most of your audience are online.
3. Instagram stories
Last year, Instagram launched a ‘stories’ feature, previously only available from the image messaging app Snapchat. Stories allow users to post images or videos sharing moments from their day that are available for just 24 hours and then disappear. With 800 million monthly active users, it didn’t take long for Instagram to overtake Snapchat. So, make the most of what is going to be a big year for Instagram stories and optimise the captions with hashtags. Adding one hashtag to an Instagram post increases engagement by 12%. Stories are also now ‘discoverable’, meaning viewing is not limited to followers. Adding swipe-up links are more than ideal for driving sales and traffic through Instagram as a social commerce platform. This is a feature that used to only be available to celebrities on verified accounts but is now available for business accounts.
The bottom line is, in whatever form it takes, video content is set to be one of the key components for social media marketing in 2018. While it’s still evolving, now is the time to begin your journey and experimentation in visual storytelling through social media.