Like change? Then social media is the place for you. Every day there’s some small evolution in at least one of the social platforms.
Some days, there’s a big new product announcement—a new tool that could change the way you do business. This keeps things interesting, but it can make it hard to keep up, if you’re only looking at the details of how social media works.
When you look at the larger trends, it all starts to make more sense. It gets easier to see the changes not as isolated events, but as trends.
So while it’s hard to predict what might happen next on social media, it is possible to make an educated guess about some of the trends we’ll see in the coming year. This ends up being quite the pastime in marketing, actually—making predictions about social media trends.
While researching this article, I came across more than 20 articles about social media trends for 2018. It seems everybody has an opinion, so I thought it might be fun to tally up the votes for each trend:
- Social messaging: 15
- Live streaming: 13
- Video: 9
- Influencer marketing: 8
- Augmented reality: 7
- Generation Z: 5
- Content personalization: 5
- Facebook goes mobile: 3
- Better social analytics: 3
- Ephemeral content: 3
- Better governance/combat abuse: 3
- Changes at/rethinking Twitter: 3
- Facebook Spaces: 2
- Employee advocacy: 2
- AI: 2
- Brands reduce the number of platforms: 2
- Social listening: 2
- Mobile usage, generally: 2
- Digital hangouts: 1
- Diversified ad spend: 1
- More ad spend: 1
- Purchasing via social: 1
- Emotional content: 1
Oddly enough, the results from my informal little tally are strikingly similar to a survey of marketing executives conducted last fall by The Creative Group:
This survey also picked social messaging as the biggest trend in social media for 2018. Their second pick, video, also closely mirrors what I found, though I broke out live streaming and video as two separate trends (even though they’re awfully, awfully close). We also agree on influencer marketing and augmented reality.
We broke ways on paid content; only one trends article I found mentioned increased ad spend on social. But hey, it’s an informal tally, and everybody has a right to their opinion.
While the trends themselves are interesting, I’d like to frame this in a way that’s more useful for small businesses: companies with 100 employees or less. With that number of employees, a company maybe has a marketing staff of three to four, max. And given that only 48% of small business owners say they’re doing any social media marketing, we need to keep the resource demands for this low.
One way for a small business with limited resources to manage a social media marketing program is to apply the 70/20/10 budget rule. See here how Coca-Cola applies the rule for content development and investment:
And now, here is a look at the top 5 social media marketing trends for 2018:
1. Social messaging
Namely, chatbots. Ten of the articles I got these tallies from specifically mentioned chatbots; the others used the term “social messaging.” These are close enough to merge them.