In the past couple of years, there have been so many changes in the social media marketing trends. You may have missed them if you are not paying attention. In fact, these changes (trends) have become so frequent that top marketers have come to expect new trends every year. New technologies are launched every year and the way we use social media for marketing keeps on evolving.

You need to ensure you are integrating these social media marketing trends with your core marketing strategies. This means you need to keep yourself updated on latest social media marketing trends. To ensure you stay current with the trends in your marketing, we have come up with a list of top 12 social media marketing trends for 2018.

  1. Video is the New King of Marketing

I know what you are thinking “the trend of marketing with video didn’t start in 2018″. But what you may not know is that this trend continues to be re-emphasized and gets more popular with each new day. To my shock, some marketers still don’t understand the importance of video in social media marketing or they are just ignoring it. Whatever is the case… It is a bad idea to ignore video marketing.

You will be blown away when you take a look at the video stats on various platforms. Take YouTube, for instance, there are 1.5 billion logged-in YouTube users visiting YouTube at least once a month.

1.5 billion? Look at that stat again; notice it said “logged-in users”. Note that most people don’t actually log in when they visit YouTube especially from a device that doesn’t belong to them.

According to experts, video traffic would make up 80% of the total consumer internet traffic by 2020. This prediction is supported by Cisco VNI report which states that 70% of the total consumer traffic in 2015 was video traffic only.

The point here is simply: embrace video marketing or ignore it to the detriment of your business.

  1. One Platform is Not Enough

Ok, it is time to quit patting yourself on the back for dominating Facebook, what of Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube? You see, you have a lot of work to do.

A bulk of your customers may be on Facebook, but if you are not utilizing other platforms, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. If there is one thing you must know, it is that one platform is no longer enough. You need to repurpose your content across multiple platforms.

But don’t lose focus, stick to the platforms that are relevant. Jumping on every platform on social media can lead to lack of focus.

  1. A rise of Augmented Reality

What the hell is that? – That’s the exact reaction I get whenever I mention augmented reality to some business owners. Love it or loathe it, augmented reality is becoming a new way to reach and engage with a targeted audience. It is quick, easy, and very interactive.

iPhone 8 and iPhone X introduced recently provides users with new augmented reality experiences. While augmented reality currently has a stronger impact on mobile gaming, it is believed that soon social media platforms will incorporate it into their platforms. In coming days, not only will consumers be able to take a selfie with their favorite celebrities through augmented reality, you can project your products into the homes of your targeted customers on social media through special filters.

  1. Chatbots For Better Customer Relation Management

Are you paying enough attention to customer relationship management? Customers feel satisfied when they get a reply from the Customer Support within minutes. Chatbots can be used to efficiently provide 24/7 support to the customers. It can provide real-time engagement with the customers.

This trend will only get popular in 2018 as businesses are looking for more ways to keep their customers engaged. If this is a trend you are not utilizing yet, you need to do something about it ASAP.

  1. The New Found Popularity of Instagram Stories

When Facebook paid $1 billion in cash to purchase Instagram back in 2012, it didn’t take a genius to realize that Instagram will be the next big thing in social media marketing. Over the years that followed, Instagram grew in popularity as one of the best social media platforms for marketers. It is now paramount that businesses pay attention to trends on Instagram.

One popular Instagram trend in 2018 is the use of Instagram Stories. Currently, it is estimated that more than 200 million people use Instagram and before the end of 2018, more than half of all Instagram users will be using Instagram Stories. If you are looking for a way to connect with your audience, you must take out time to master Instagram Stories.

  1. Influencer Marketing Will Continue To Soar

This trend started a few years back but it is NOT looking like it is going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, influencer marketing is going to be bigger in 2018. Influencers are people on social media who have the authority and ability to influence a definite audience. Last year, 90% of marketers who sought for the services of influencers believed it was successful.

Influencers are dominating YouTube and doing the same on Instagram. Facebook has realized the importance of influencers that they now pay them over $2 million to produce live contents. They have what it takes to bring you the audience you need in a bag (so to speak). Brands can leverage influencers to spread their message and experience 10X rise in conversion rate. Just ensure you find a trusted influencer.

  1. Growing Need For Social Listening Tools

Often times, businesses pay more attention to producing contents for users without considering what their audience actually want. Social listening has become very important in recent days. With the use of hashtags, trending topics, and search engines, businesses can understand what their audience is talking about.

Leveraging social listening tools can help a business create more engaging contents. These tools will also help you to engage an audience in active conversations about your products and services. Some of these tools include HootSuite, Spotify, Brandwatch, SproutSocial, Buzzsumo, Sprinklr, and Conversocial.

  1. Focus on Generation Z

Take a look at some top brands, you will notice that there is a common trend being adopted by most of these brands. They are repurposing their businesses for Generation Z. Your business is not too small to consider the future generation in your marketing. In 2018, Generation Z is considered more valuable than Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Gen Xers are the future. The oldest Gen Xers are 22 years old. As Baby boomers are exiting the labor force, the Gen Xers who are more technologically-aware are entering the labor force. Your marketing strategy must be repurposed to address the needs of Gen Xers if you want to build a strong brand for the future.

  1. Live video and real-time content

Last year, going live on Facebook and Instagram was very popular. Well, this trend continues in 2018. Millennials and Gen Xers are increasingly making use of live videos. Businesses that understand the importance of real-time content are using this feature on Facebook and Instagram to engage with customers and bring them closer to their business with an almost face-to-face-like interaction.

Customers tend to trust a brand when they know the face behind the business, social media live video provides you an opportunity to interact with your audience and build trust and engagement.

  1. Strong visual content still a priority

With the emphasis being placed on videos, don’t assume that strong visual content like high-quality images and infographics have lost their appeal. The use of attractive visuals is still considered a trend you need to key into when marketing in social media in 2018.

You, therefore, need to implement a visual marketing strategy. This could be a lot of work, but it will surely pay off in more than one way.

  1. Measuring ROI

Marketing teams now need to re-evaluate the impact of their efforts to ensure it is working as planned. In recent days, there is an added pressure on marketers to prove the effectiveness of the strategies they adopted in social media marketing. Part of the trend nowadays is to keep on evaluating every strategy adopted to ensure you are on the right path.

  1. Expect Stronger Policies on Social Platforms

Pretty sure you got an email about GDPR sometime last month. That’s not all, with the embarrassment Facebook suffered in the case of Cambridge Analytica and Yahoo getting hacked last year; social media platforms are adopting stronger policies.

You should prepare to embrace stronger policies that will protect these brands from future criticism.

Final Thoughts

Trends come and go; your ability to understand them and use them is what makes the difference between a successful brand and a failed one. Right now, social media is more about people than technology. Businesses need to adjust to these new realities. More importantly, you need to keep your knowledge updated and forecast the things that matter to your business.

At Cleveratvity, we focus on Social Networks; we take the guesswork out of your social media marketing and deliver optimal results with your marketing budget. We can help you leverage ins and outs of social media marketing whether you are a big brand or a small business. Contact us today to learn how we can help you increase your leads and improve your revenue!