The past year saw several key stories that changed the social media landscape. From Facebook budding Instagram Stories and Spaces to increased influencer marketing and stronger governance policies on different social networks, we left 2017 with a bang.
This year, social media will continue to disrupt the way we interact with new technologies. Here are the top social media trends for 2018:
1. Instagram Stories
More than 200 million monthly active users shared Instagram Stories over the past year. In comparison, Snapchat had 50 million less monthly active users in 2017.
Facebook, in a series of copying Snapchat-like features, launched Instagram just about a year ago.
If the social media trends last year will spill over 2018, 50 percent of Instagram users will be actively using Stories by year end.
Now is the right time for brands to market on Instagram and connect with their target audience through Stories.
2. Influencer Marketing
More than four out of five marketers who use influencer marketing find it successful.
Hubspot, Rolex and North Face all use influencer marketing in social media to find new audiences and increase engagement with current audiences.
In 2017, brands who chose conventional ads over social media ads had a hard time connecting to most of their target audience.
In 2018, we will see more brands embracing influencer marketing to connect with audiences who are unreachable through traditional ways.
3. Brands in Messaging Platforms
More than 2.5 billion people are actively using messaging platforms worldwide. Yet, brands still spend most of their time to connect with consumers on social media pages only.
This year, brands will start investing to connect with new and existing consumers on messaging platforms, especially on social media.
AI, chatbots and voice assistants allow brands to offer better shopping experiences on social messaging platforms, such as Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik.
4. Live Streaming
People once saw live streaming as a one-time service that was bound to fail.
In 2017, it became one of the hottest trends and broke into the social media mainstream.
This year, brands will continue to lean on live streaming to draw more followers on their social media accounts. They will also include it in their monthly content strategy.
Twitter failed to increase its number of followers last year. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all have more followers than Twitter. The latter also lost rights to stream NFL games against Amazon.
This year, the company’s management will likely mull over on how it operates the platform, especially the lucrative advertising options.
6. Facebook Spaces
Facebook launched a project called Spaces in 2017 to bridge the gap between friends in Virtual Reality (VR).
Facebook already owns VR company Oculus so Spaces is the best platform to complement the new technology.
This year, Facebook will likely scale Spaces to be the first successful social media VR product in that space.
Many social media trends in 2018 will reinforce how users and brands act on the platform. We expect VR to go mainstream this year. And brands will spend most of their efforts on Instagram and Snapchat, as more young people jump on the bandwagon.