CF Saskatchewan Blog

Top 6 Social Media Trends to Prepare For in 2018

  • November 24, 2017
  • Written by Community Futures Saskatchewan

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to take stock of what is changing in the world of online marketing and what to expect in the coming months. Social media never stays stagnant for long and the more you know about what is around the bend, the easier it will be to create successful campaigns and manage your marketing budget.

The following 6 social media trends are poised to make a splash in 2018. Read on to find out what you need to know to be prepared, as well as how to build buzz around your small business in the new year.

  1. More Video

You cannot talk about the future of social media without talking about video—a lot of video.

  • YouTube viewers watch more than 500 million hours of video a day
  • 33% of online activity is dedicated to viewing videos
  • Experts predict that by 2019, videos will make up 80% of all consumer online traffic

There is no denying that video marketing, already trendy, is only going to get hotter. That is good news for your small business because videos on social media produce 1200% more shares than written content and images combined! Take advantage of the potential for massive audience engagement: create short videos about your company.

For example, a brief “about us” video that describes your company’s mission and values is ideal for telling your story and humanizing your brand. Or, if you are a clothing retailer, share one video every month teasing new lines being released and how to combine them into outfits that embody the latest fashion trends. Keep in mind that the best performing videos are:

  • Less than 90 seconds long
  • Personalized
  • Product demonstrations, how-tos, testimonials, or explainers
  1. Live Streaming

Another form of visual content, live videos (or live streams) are becoming increasingly popular. Nearly 80% of social media audiences have watched videos on Facebook Live, and 82% of consumers prefer to watch a company’s live videos than read social media posts.

That is not to say that written content and social media image posts do not have a place in your social media marketing plan, but it doesn’t hurt to integrate live videos into your existing strategy to further connect with prospects and customers. If you own a local bakery, for instance, feel free to let viewers into your kitchen! Showcase your head baker creating the bakery’s famous 5-layer cake from scratch.

  1. Ephemeral Content

“Only two tickets left! Get yours before they’re gone!” Marketing statements like this employ two psychological marketing principles: scarcity, the human tendency to value limited resources, and loss aversion, which triggers our instinct to act in order to avoid experiencing loss.

Ephemeral social media content—posts that are available for a limited time, such as 24 hours—does the same. Viewers are more willing to stop their day and engage with content because they know it won’t be available later, and because they want to be part of the “in” crowd that sees each exclusive post.

If you have yet to jump on this trend, 2018 is your opportunity. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram all offer a Stories option where your small business can easily share ephemeral content to your network, such as a video promoting a limited-time flash sale at your downtown location—one day only!

  1. Mobile Prioritized First

Experts predict that by 2018, the number of worldwide smartphone users will exceed 2.5 billion. There is no denying it: much of our lives are now mobile! In fact, the average person spends more than 4 hours per day on a mobile device texting, browsing social media, checking email, and more.

Keep these statistics in mind when creating social media content in 2018. Everything should not only be optimized for mobile (one example: captioning images with large, clear fonts for easy readership), but designed for mobile from the ground up. For instance, this means adding shortened links to posts so viewers can route right to your landing pages, as well as employing striking images that attract attention when mobile users are quickly scrolling through their feeds.

  1. Influencer Marketing

Some of the strongest brands on social media don’t actually focus on promoting their brand; instead, they find the right people to promote for them. This is called influencer marketing, where organizations design marketing activities around well-connected social media “influencers” who can reach the organization’s target audience. For example, Levi’s could design a sponsored Instagram photo of a celebrity wearing a pair of the brand’s jeans, which the celebrity could then share with his 30,000 Instagram followers.

Influencer marketing is a great way for your small business to reach a large audience without having to build yours from scratch, and to connect with prospects and customers in a more personal, organic way.

  1. User-Generated Content

Similarly, user-generated content is material crafted externally by your audience rather than internally by your team. Examples of this for the product GoPro, for instance, could include online reviews, review videos, adventurous surfing videos made using a waterproof GoPro, and social media posts tagging GoPro online.

Like influencer marketing, user-generated content takes the control out of your hands. This can be a frightening prospect but engaging with potential and past customers on social media, and letting them speak for your brand (and then leveraging this content on your small business social media pages), can help to create a loyal tribe around your small business and its products or services.

Jump on these trends to make 2018 a year of online marketing success. Then, download our complimentary e-book to avoid 10 common social media mistakes that many small business owners make.

Grab your free copy of “10 Game-Changing Social Media Tactics for Small Businesses” now!