Happy New Year! It’s time to shake the Magic 8 Ball and consider what 2018 will mean for your social media marketing strategy. What are the best channels to keep using? What should you try that's new and improved? What won't work anymore?
We perused predictions and read through the research to help you plan for the new year. Don't be afraid to try out some new tactics or tools; you never know where your next new customers might be hiding!
4 Social Media Predictions for 2018
Facebook ads are only going to get more expensive and competitive, so advertisers will be turning to smaller platforms like LinkedIn and Pinterest to get the most bang for their social media advertising bucks. It's worth trying, as both companies are continuing to improve their advertising platforms and grow their unique audiences as much as possible.
If you're selling products online or catering to online shoppers, do not disregard Pinterest. They are slowly and steadily moving away from social networking and even more towards e-commerce, so that their users can purchase items and plan vacations without having to leave the site at all. They're also improving their Lens tool, which lets you take a picture of an item and use Pinterest to find it and buy it online. Pinterest may be a small company, but the buying power of their users is mighty.
LinkedIn is going to be a pretty big deal in 2018. Did you know LinkedIn’s growth is about as big as Snapchat’s in 2016 and Instagram’s in 2017? As the company rolls out video advertisements this year, the potential for success there is growing, especially if your target audience is of the professional variety.
2018 Tip: Diversify your ad budget. Instead of boosting the same type of post every week on Facebook, start experimenting with other platforms to really see where you end up getting the most bang for your buck.
Instagram is Queen
Everyone loves Instagram. No, really: Ask the 200 million people who use Instagram stories each month (50 million more than those who use Snapchat by the way), or the businesses who poured $4 billion into advertising last year alone. At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018, while Facebook deals with ad saturation and dwindling popularity.
2018 Tip: Start using Instagram Stories if you're not already. It's a way to get comfortable with augmented reality tools, which are changing the way customers find and buy products and services online. Sure, you might be putting puppy ears on your selfie today, but soon you'll be able to let your customers try on your products before they purchase them, or immerse your audience in an environment you designed.
Keep an eye on Twitter
Twitter is at a crossroads. Some experts are predicting 2018 will mark Twitter’s slow and painful decline. Others believe 2018 could be the year of a Twitter renaissance, with companies finally taking advantage of advertising opportunities. Either way, something about Twitter has to change. After failing to grow significantly in 2017, Twitter leadership is thinking long and hard about what exactly to do with their platform.
2018 Tip: Always remember that private companies like Twitter can and often do make major changes without warning, which can turn your strategy upside-down. Twitter could be gone by the end of 2018, or could have a sudden resurgence in popularity. Either way, make sure you are reaching audiences on more than just one channel, so you're not relying on the good graces of just one company.
Video, video, video
Are you tired of hearing us talk about how important video is? Well, sorry, because in 2018 video will be even more important! Every single article we read about 2018 predictions mentioned video. Mark Zuckerburg himself even predicted that 90% of Facebook’s content will be video-based by 2018!
As Facebook releases more tools to encourage users to create more videos, LinkedIn launches video ads, and your Instagram feed is slowly taken over by augmented reality, 2018 won’t let you forget that video reigns supreme! Facebook might even make moves to challenge your Netflix loyalty as they release their own scripted shows. That’s right; your favorite binge might be on Facebook this year, instead of Netflix or Amazon. Or, you know, your actual TV.
2018 Tip: Challenge yourself to have a video strategy. We’re not saying that you need to go buy an expensive camera and build a studio; grab your phone and record yourself giving a company update, or share highlights from a great panel at an industry conference. Think about what is valuable, inspiring or entertaining to your audience, and then decide how you can deliver that using a video. Don't forget to ask your team or colleagues for their creative ideas.
For even more 2018 speculation, check out this infographic breaking predictions down channel by channel.