The trend is your friend.
Why? Because trends often become the norm, and the early arrival allows you to tap your power without too much competition or noise. Write something like "just" a trend, and you may be late for the holiday of the year.
Remember when Facebook was a "trend"? Or Twitter? Instagram? Now, these are a key part of your digital marketing plan (and if that is not the case, they should be).
You must reach your audience and interact with them when they spend time online. And where is it? Say it with me: social media.
- In his report on the state of social 2018, Buffer found that companies are predominantly in the social train. 96% of them use Facebook, with Twitter (89%), LinkedIn (70%), Instagram (70%) and YouTube (57%) completing the top five. The report also revealed that 85% of companies plan to create more video content on these platforms than last year.
- We spend an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes on social networks every day, which is one-third of our time online and twice as much as any other activity.
- Customers spend 20 to 40% more for companies that interact with them on social networks.
- The most popular social media platforms in January 2018 include Facebook (2.2 billion users), YouTube (1.5 billion), WhatsApp (1.3 billion), Facebook Messenger (1.3 billion) and WeChat (980 million). Three of the top five are messaging apps.
- There were 2.46 billion social media users in 2017. This number is expected to reach 2.62 billion in 2018, and 3.02 billion in 2021.
- Social media is popular with baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z.
The statistics paint a very clear picture: social media must be an integral part of your marketing mix in 2018 and beyond. Ignore it at your own risk.
That said, social media is an evolving beast, with new features coming up all the time.
Some are destined for the trash of history – remember how "hot" was on Facebook? – while others become the cornerstones of the platform which we can not remember to live without.
So what to do, which platforms to use and which trends to try?
Here are seven for the New Year:
- Social Listening
- Live Streaming & Video
- Marketing of influence
- Facebook continues to set the pace
- Increased commitment to messaging platforms
- Instagram Stories
- Augmented Reality
1. Social Listening
It may not be completely new, but it will become more important in 2018 and in the years to come. Social media in all its forms are only growing and becoming more popular, and by extension you will have to start paying more attention to it.
But this is not limited to having a few accounts on a few different platforms. You will have to do more than just have an active presence on these platforms. You must listen what people say about you, your competition, your brand and your products, and react accordingly. The good the bad and the ugly.
People talk to you more often than when they engage directly with you. People complain, praise and show your products on many platforms and networks. You belong to some, and others do not.
But that's not the point: if they talk to you or talk about you, they are waiting for an answer from you.
In fact, 60% of consumers who post a complaint on social media expect an answer in less than 60 minutes. You have an hour to notice and answer. And if you do not, 88% of them are unlikely to buy you again or recommend you to your friends and family.
Enter social listening.
You need systems in place to monitor many different channels for your specific keywords and phrases, and to bring those mentions to your attention so that you can examine them for both insight and opportunity.
What do people say about your brand? How do they feel about your latest product? What problems or complaints do they have? An active social listening strategy can provide these answers and more.
And as we are using more and more social media for everything, there is a lot of information you could reap about, not to mention the improved customer experience that you can provide by addressing the issues and complaints in a timely and practical manner.
The more you have, the more important it is to be aware of what others are saying about you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, review sites, and more.
Google Alerts is a simple way to get started. You can quickly set up e-mail notifications for the words and phrases you want to monitor by typing them into the search bar, setting your preferences for frequency, sources, region, and more, then clicking the "Create an alert" button. It's as simple as that.
But to really get the most out of social listening, you need a specialized service or tool. Some of the best include Brandwatch, Hootsuite Insights, Mention, ReviewTrackers, Talkwalker and TrackReddit.
Respond quickly to complaints. Collect valuable data about your customers. Manage a crisis. Find influencers. Generate reports Analyze your competition. Better understand your audience and your industry. Measure the impact. Gauge feeling of the brand. Improve customer service and commitment.
The list of what social listening can not do is much shorter than what she can do. If you do not use it already, I highly recommend you start. Sign up and start listening today.
Being aware of public opinion and feeling for your brand is as important as the product or service itself. Social listening gives it to you.
2. Streaming in live and video
Video – recorded or live – becomes Social Media Tactics that you can not afford to ignore. This will only become more evident in 2018.
According to a recent Hubspot article, 43% of social media users want to see more video content from marketers, companies now publish an average of 18 videos per month, the average video remains a a little over a third of its viewers (37%) until the end, and 85% of companies have staff and internal resources for video creation.
And you? Do you use video and its younger but equally popular brother, live streaming, as part of your social media efforts? You should. Consider:
Viewers react positively to live video streaming because of the immediacy and commitment that it creates with their favorite brands and personalities.
Brands and personalities can quickly deliver an enhanced customer experience through live video. The four most popular types are explanations, product demonstrations, how-tos and testimonials, but you can do much more: live events, announcements, product revelations, interviews, backstage, Q & A sessions, demonstrations, etc. sure.
Most social media platforms now have live streaming capabilities or easy integration, so you can choose where and when to do it. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, Twitter, Snapchat, Twitch and Instagram Live are all platforms to try depending on where your customers and your audience meet.
To prepare you for success, let your fans and fans know that you will broadcast live in advance . Publish it, send a reminder, create a daily, weekly or monthly schedule, be consistent, spread the word to generate as much audience as possible.
Then click on the "Go Live" button. Be authentic, informative and do not forget to breathe. Connect and connect with your audience, and they will become not only loyal lawyers, but lawyers on your part.
3. Marketing influence
Some have called this one dead and done, but the marketing of influence is not only alive, it is growing. That's not to say that it has not evolved, though.
In 2018, it's less about standing in line with someone who is the most popular at one point, and more about building meaningful relationships and finding the influencers that reflect the same. ethic of your brand.
Many companies found themselves in defense mode after being associated with an influencer based solely on numbers, to discover later that they shared sexist, racist, grossly inappropriate or sectarian content on their chains. 73% of marketers list "find the right influencer" as the biggest challenge.
YouTuber PewDiePie, for example, has more than 60 million subscribers and makes millions of dollars each year on the platform. In February 2017, he had lucrative partnerships with Google and Disney … until he was fired from both after publishing reprehensible and anti-Semitic material. Not the kind of show that Google and Disney were trying to get.
Do not make this mistake. Launch a successful influence marketing campaign should never be based on the number of followers or fans. You need to look for relevance for your industry, your products and your target audience – Kim Kardashian to promote your new robot-advisor might not be the best choice – their average number of comments and other statistics from 39, commitment, and the general feeling towards them (you can find it with social listening).
Choose wisely because your designated influencer is a reflection of your brand. You want it to be positive. Once you have identified one, reach out and connect. Build the relationship. Ask their ideas if they are interested, but do not feel compelled to give them complete control and freedom. Influencer marketing works best when it is a true partnership .
But what about the $ 64,000 question: does it work?
- Influence marketing was primarily related to email marketing as the most profitable online acquisition channel. Marketers in the same survey ranked blogs (37%), Facebook (25%) and YouTube (6%) among the top three platforms for tactics.
- Do not automatically associate "celebrity" with "influencer". In fact, Markerly found that the engagement rate decreases as the number of followers increases. Those with more than 10 million followers saw 1.6% of likes and 0.04% of comments, compared to 8% and 0.5% respectively for those with less than 1,000 subscribers. They suggest working with a micro-influencer in the 10k-100k fan range for maximum reach and commitment.
- Marketers in a survey Linqia Facebook list (87%), Instagram (87%), blogs (48%), Twitter (44%) and Pinterest (40%) as the most important platforms for their influencer campaigns. Do you need to use them all? Absolutely not. Find your audience Locate the relevant influencers on the platform and leave from there.
- The same survey identified CPE (cost per engagement) and CPC (cost per click) as the two most preferred pricing models.
Are you ready to take a chance? The gain of a well planned and strategic marketing campaign can far exceed your wildest expectations. Expect this tactic to continue to grow in 2018.
4. Facebook continues to set the pace
It's easy to think that Facebook has exceeded its peak. It has been around since 2004 – a digital life – and news and trends often focus on what's new and emerging.
This is a major mistake. Facebook is platform to manage all platforms. Was, is and will continue to be. If you engage only on two platforms, it should work from Facebook and another. Three? Facebook and two others. You have the idea.
The social media giant had 1.40 billion daily active users and 2.13 billion monthly active users in December 2017. And that's not all:
- Facebook posts an average of over 8 billion videos each day.
- 91% of millennia are on the platform.
- More than 800 million users "like" something every day.
- Men have an average of 145 friends, while women have 166. Your content or message reaches an exponentially larger audience with each share and everything.
Long story short: be active on Facebook. Regardless of your age group or your target, they are on this platform.
With numbers like that, Facebook could simply sit back and count its advertising revenue. But this is not the case. It continues to evolve and innovate at breakneck speed.
In 2018, a lot of things happen on Facebook. These three should be on your radar:
- Facebook Messenger – Initially integrated with Facebook itself, it is now a stand-alone application – and very popular -. It has 1.3 billion users and 11% of the world population uses it monthly. There are 60 million businesses, just like half of the teens in the United States. It's a platform bigger than Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat combined and it hosts 7 billion conversations a day. And with A.I. and chatbot integration, the channel has the potential to be huge.
- Facebook spaces. Ignore the whole debate about virtual reality and augmented reality for the moment. Both are gaining popularity and prevalence. Both open up unparalleled opportunities for engagement. Facebook has launched its own virtual reality meeting place called Spaces to use with Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. Users can create and customize their own appearance, connect with others, draw 3D objects and immerse themselves in a 360-degree virtual environment. You can even host live events as you would with live video streaming. As it grows and improves, companies will be able to present fully-made stores, behind-the-scenes features and more to their audiences. It is not there yet … but stay tuned.
- Watch Facebook. We live in a culture on demand these days. We want what we want when we want it. If you can deliver this to your customers, you are ahead of the curve. The new monitoring feature is a video-on-demand service for long-term content and broadcasts. Ball in the Family – the reality show built around three basketball players and their father – is hosted on the platform. Businesses can create videos and shows to interact with their community, connect directly with their users, and more.
Facebook may be old by social media standards, but there is evidence that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
5. Increased commitment to messaging platforms
We already mentioned Facebook Messenger, but it's not the only circus in town. The popularity of messaging platforms is exploding. WhatsApp (1.3 billion active users per month), WeChat (963 million MAU) and Facebook Messenger (1.2 billion MAU) are leading.
And with the easy integration of artificial intelligence and chatbots, you can automatically increase the commitment and the customer experience.
Facebook searches show that 54.5% of US social media users prefer e-mail, phone and online messaging channels, and 67% of business owners plan to increase their message over the next few years. next two years.
Messaging allows you to reach your audience on the scale and on their favorite channel. 89% of consumers would like to use it to communicate with businesses, but only 48% of companies are able to do so. These figures do not add up.
In fact, users prefer to give up using the phone, morning coffee and sex before giving up messaging. On average, 77% of users keep email notifications enabled so they never miss anything. FOMO is a powerful motivator.
And I know from experience that you get an 88% open rate and a 56% clickthrough rate with Facebook Messenger.
Let me put it plainly: the messaging is big, efficient and just getting bigger. With it, you can stream messaging, automate conversations with your users, create a sales funnel, and serve ads, resources, and new content, just to name a few.
A chatbot – yes, the majority of robots are good – can automate your sales, help desk, complaint service, and more. You can communicate with your customers on their territory and whenever they want, not the other way around.
Not convinced? Check out these ten examples of effective Chatbots on Messenger to see how useful and entertaining they are.
If you're eager to give it a try, check out the popular platforms and services to create and launch your own (most without the need for coding skills):
The robots are not bad. And the messaging will not go soon. Take full advantage of both.
6. Instagram Stories
Introduced in August 2016 to compete with a similar feature on Snapchat, Instagram Stories quickly reached more than 100 million daily active users (DAU) in a matter of months, touching 200 million UADs in less than A year, and now has an impressive 250 million UADs. Its growth and popularity far exceed those of Snapchat, and continue to grow.
Do you use it?
About half of businesses on Instagram publish at least one story each month, while 20% of these stories generate at least one direct message. How is it going for commitment?
The Story feature allows users to post both videos and photos that disappear within 24 hours. You can add filters, stickers, text and drawings. You can even create simple polls to ask questions and gather valuable data about your audience.
Using the Instagram Story feature is not complicated, and even if you've never used Instagram before, you'll quickly discover everything it has to do.
Instagram has 800 million active users a month, more than Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest combined. It should definitely be part of your social media toolbelt.
Include the recent Instagram Shopping feature – a feature that allows you to tag up to five items in an image with a clickable link for more information – and you can increase the engagement and the sales even more.
7. Augmented Reality
Although virtual reality creates an immersive experience, it has major drawbacks. For beginners, it limits the mobility of the user wearing the VR helmet. And since most of us access the online world via our mobile devices, it is a big problem.
It's there that Augmented Reality (AR) has a distinct advantage. Because users do not have their vision restricted, mobility is not hindered. In fact, RA generally promotes greater mobility when users search for virtual elements in the physical world.
The game industry is already taking a beating. Remember Pokémon Go? The company behind her – Niantic – will release Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in the near future. It will likely have the same opportunity as Pokémon Go for businesses to market in partnership with the game.
Buy a "lure", and not only does it attract the Pokémon into your business, but it also draws players to your physical location to capture them. Win-win.
Augmented reality is about to have a similar impact on social media, allowing online personalities and products to be brought directly to homes, photos, and videos. And since it does not require additional hardware other than your smartphone, most of us are already equipped to enjoy it.
Filters for the face and lenses also fall under the AR umbrella.
Lens Studio by Snapchat gives everyone the opportunity to create and share custom goals and "magical AR experiences". Let your subscribers and fans play with your brand and products in the real world.
With augmented reality, you can drop your hair and have fun while continuing to spread brand awareness and interact with prospects and customers. Enter in.
I personally think that these seven will be watching in 2018. Choose one, choose one and try them.
I also have marketing strategies to try in 2018:
Social media is all about connection, relationships, and engagement.
But to do this you need to stay abreast of the latest trends and popular features. Do not jump into everyone's movement – some will not suit you, your brand and your customers – but it's better to choose the ones that make sense for your business and your goals.
Trends come. Trends are going. But some survive to become the pillars of tomorrow. Enter before the masses, and you will win big.
What other trends in social media have you noticed in recent months? What do you most want to try?
About the author: Neil Patel is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital.