It’s hard to imagine, but just a few years ago social media marketing didn’t exist. Now literally millions of businesses are connecting to their Client base like never before. Social media continues to change the marketing game. But of course, as is the nature of the internet, social media marketing is always changing and successful social media marketers must adapt to the latest trends. What trends can you expect to see in 2018?
Focus on Generation Z
Millennials, make way for your baby siblings and cousins: Generation Z will be the “It” demographic in 2018. The oldest of Generation Zers are in their early twenties and entering the labor force. This generation grew up with the internet, so tend to take a more global perspective. Coming of age during the recession means that members of Generation Z are more frugal than their older siblings and parents. Now is the perfect moment to recognize their purchasing potential. Smart social media marketers can capitalize on their interests and values, but you must use a deft touch. These savvy consumers came of age in a more cynical time, so they are wary of more traditional marketing tactics. Hashtag wisely, is what we’re saying.
The importance of influencer marketing
Who you know continues to be more important than what you know, at least when it comes to branding. Social media influencers–YouTube and Instagram stars, e.g.–are more important than ever when it comes to brand exposure. However, before you text your tween son and teenage niece for suggestions, do thorough research on any internet celeb you hire to promote your company. The adage that “any publicity is good publicity” only holds true to a point. Attaching yourself to an influencer could backfire if he/she makes a public faux pas or if any previous bad behavior is uncovered. Your brand could look foolish at best, complicit at worst.
Expansion of live streaming
This format has quickly become a necessity for any brand serious about showing its product and relevance. Brands have discovered that live streaming content is an effective way of attracting consumers. While this trend now mostly involves sporting companies, it’s easy to see the widespread adoption of this format. Social media marketers should take advantage of the continued popularity of DIY (and its sprawling community of devotees). Your brand could live stream how-to videos on crafts and projects. Food-oriented? Live stream cooking demonstrations. Clothing or accessories? Live stream a Q and A with a stylist. The possibilities are endless.
Stricter rules for social media platforms
Thanks to the proliferation of fake news and fake profiles, social media platforms have already begun to abandon the laissez-faire attitude toward content. We can expect platforms like Facebook and Twitter to develop to stricter codes of conduct in the new year. Facebook advertisers are already seeing rigid enforcement of new community standards. The backlash against native advertising and promoted content is still gearing up, so social media marketers should watch that trend carefully.
The only certainty regarding the future social media is that it will continue to rise in prominence as it embraces new technology and expands to new platforms. 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for social media marketing. Whatever the new year holds, innovation is key to success. Different markets, different formats, different rules–same capitalist system. The only constant is change: the strong survive, the adaptable thrive.
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