Posted on January 30, 2018 by
We’re only one month into 2018, but already the top social media trends of the year are clear. I’m not a psychic, of course—the social media landscape is constantly evolving, and I can’t predict what will come out on top. But, as always, our Roaring Pajamas team has been paying close attention to what captured audiences’ attention last year—and what’s on their radar in the months to come.
So which social media trends should you be paying attention to—and taking advantage of—in 2018? Here are five of the top social media #trendingtopics to keep your eye (and marketing strategy) on this year:
Sure, Instagram Stories have been around for awhile. The feature quickly garnered buzz after launching in August 2016—and Stories’ popularity has only grown from there. Though similar in design and features to its predecessor, Snapchat, Instagram Stories has rightfully earned the status as leader of the pack. And with over 300 million active daily users—more than half of Instagram’s total users—brands clearly have an extraordinary opportunity to connect with an active audience on the platform. So, how do you make that connection? Get personal! Instagram Stories offer a fun opportunity to share behind-the-scenes information, share exclusive updates, offer sneak peeks and so much more. Instagram Stories is also one of few platforms where brands can still (somewhat) easily connect to consumers without spending money. Take advantage of this up-close-and-personal medium sooner rather than later!
Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Youtube Live—seemingly every social media platform is jumping on the opportunity to broadcast in real-time to their followers. And jumping on that bandwagon makes sense! Users are loving the authentic connection to their favorite friends and fan pages. You can take advantage of this new trend by researching when your target audience is most likely to be on Facebook (or Instagram or YouTube) and going live then. You could pick a regular day and time to go Live every week, schedule Live sessions intermittently or simply surprise your followers by showing up Live on their feed. Use the feature to answer questions, to announce contests or giveaways, to interview people on your team or in your industry—and so much more! As with all of your content, create Live videos that are interesting, valuable and authentic (which they often are by default because they’re live). No matter what you do, don’t miss out on this opportunity for true and immediate connection.
Higher Ad Spend
I know this may not be what you want to hear, but somebody has to say it! Ad spend is no longer “something to consider”; social media advertising dollars are a “must have” marketing line item if you want to have significant reach and engagement on social media in 2018. With social media algorithms changing seemingly every other day (ahem, Facebook), many brands are finding that showing up in the social media feeds of even their most fervent fans is harder and harder to do. And while you could easily just grumble at the changes and the increase to your bottom line, this is what marketing budgets (and strategy) are for. As a business, working hard—and perhaps paying—for your customer’s attention will always be necessary. So yes, one of the top 2018 social media trends is to prioritize the targeted and personal connection you get to your audience through social media advertising, while also continuing to post engaging, quality content that your favorite fans will want to engage with . . . with ad spend or without.
Taking a Stand
As you know, social media platforms are often the best and most immediate way to connect with your audience. But, of course, that makes standing out harder and harder to do—because every other brand knows that, too. When social media users see post after post from different companies—even those they’ve chosen to follow—they need a way to differentiate one company from the next. And, according to a recent study, one of the best ways to stand out is by standing up for what you believe in. Users want to know: where do you stand on the important issues that are showing up on their news feeds every single day? There’s risk of alienating customers, of course—those who may not agree with your stance or those who disagree with brands having an “opinion” on anything other than their product or service. But clearly, two-thirds of customers think taking a stand is important. You don’t have to comment on everything, of course—just consider what does and does not align with your company’s mission and values. Taking a stand is not about being controversial or inauthentic; this is about aligning with what’s most important to you. The right customers will feel that’s important, too.
Generation Z vs Millennials
Who is Generation Z, you ask? Don’t worry—I did, too. They are millennials’ younger siblings; those born after 1998. And while millennials tended to make purchases based on promotions and discounts, Generation Z are 2-3 times more likely to be influenced simply by engaging social media content (not just a good sale). That’s what makes this singular generation one of the top social media trends of 2018. The oldest of this newest generation are still quite young—around 20-22 years old—but they’re nearly out of school and about to enter the workforce. They have money to spend (whether theirs or their parents’) and, as the first generation of true “digital natives”, they’re going online to find out where they should. Focus your marketing efforts where Generation Z spends their time—Instagram and Snapchat are a great start—and focus on how they’re spending their time. Taking action on every one of the trends we’ve mentioned in this article will help you do just that.
With a heads up on what’s happening in 2018, take some time to tweak your social media marketing strategy and take advantage of these trends! Because regardless of how social media evolves this year, the brands that win with their customers are the ones that stay on top of that evolution.
Which social media trends will you add to your marketing strategy in 2018? Share your favorite ideas in the comments below!