5 Social Media Trends for the Year Ahead
Social media is a powerful tool that always seems to be evolving. As 2018 approaches, here are some major trends you should know if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
Live video: Already one of the most effective tools for social media engagement, video has taken on even more importance in recent months. Thanks to Periscope, Facebook Live and Instagram’s new live video feature, marketers are able to stream events as they occur. Audiences enjoy live content, because it makes them feel more connected to an event. It also humanizes the experience, especially since live videos are typically devoid of graphics, filters and heavy editing. Far from perfect, live video is real, which gives it that feeling of authenticity, which has become such a vital characteristic of effective social media communication.
Fake news: During the 2016 presidential election, social media channels inadvertently propagated erroneous news stories meant to cause confusion and discord. As a result, Facebook and other social networks have begun implementing new strategies aimed at barring false news. To keep your content from getting caught in the net, be sure to rely on credible sources. You should also be very clear when engaging with the public, so your messages can't be twisted or taken out of context. After all, it only takes one misleading post to set off a firestorm that can ruin your brand's reputation.
Disclosures: Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission issued a statement reminding social media influencers that they should disclose paid relationships with brands. Although they've yet to conduct widespread crackdowns, hashtags such as #partner, #ad and #sponsored are becoming more frequent. While it might seem more relevant to the influencer than the brand, if you are working with someone to promote a product - or have set up a secondary identity to promote your brand - you should probably protect yourself by being as upfront as possible.
Attitude matters: For years, social marketers have had a strong belief that cool, clever messages were the key to going viral. According to a recent study, however, this doesn't always translate into sales and conversions. To gauge how brand personality relates to purchasing decisions, Sprout Social asked 1,000 consumers which traits they wanted brands to demonstrate on social media. To the surprise of some, honesty, friendliness and helpfulness vastly dominated characteristics, such as funny, trendy and snarky. If you've been racking your brain trying to come up with clever or funny posts, this survey should give you plenty to think about.
Instagram rising: Long viewed as Facebook's little brother, Instagram is becoming a huge outlet for social media marketers. According to a report from SocialBakers, brands enjoy much stronger engagement on Instagram than Facebook. In fact, companies are getting about three times more engagement, while celebrities are getting 3.6 times more via the app. Does this mean you should channel energy away from Facebook toward your Instagram profile? Right now, Instagram has just 700 million monthly users, compared to 1.94 billion for Facebook. With this in mind, it's probably not a good idea to turn away from Facebook entirely. That said, you should definitely be putting more effort into your Instagram profile, especially if you've been ignoring it entirely.