4 Social Media Trends to Watch for & Try This Year

Did you start the year off with a #NewYearNewYou hashtag on your business or professional social media pages? Maybe you’ve discussed your New Year’s resolutions with your followers? Celebratory New Year’s content is a relatable topic for the beginning of a new year; but if you want to continue the charge into a productive 2018, make sure that you take note of the biggest trends in the social media space.

Video

Since the end of 2013, the largest player in the social media world, Facebook, has been utilizing video content for their ad platform. They have toyed with auto-playing ad content, video ad objectives, and in 2017, Facebook announced Facebook Watch. As traditional television and cable services migrate towards streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, social media platforms continue to find that video content provides some of the most engagement across all content types. Facebook Watch provides the social media giant with a platform to host high-quality long-form video content supported by ad revenue, with a 55-45% revenue split between their partners and Facebook themselves.

Besides allowing you to connect with close friends and relatives, as Facebook transitions to a video platform, you should stay ahead of the curve and utilize video content from your business or organization to reach as many customers as possible. As early as 2013, Facebook acknowledged that organic growth has plateaued. Putting your social media ad budget into video content is a great way to align yourself with Facebook and make the most of their organic and advertising algorithms.

Influencers

When searching for a new product, whose opinion do you trust the most? The producer’s website? Amazon reviews? Perhaps a friend or relative? According to Nielsen’s ‘Trust in Advertising’ report, 83% of respondents trust recommendations from people they know. Leveraging the recent push for video content we discussed earlier, influencers and micro-influencers are trusted sources of editorial and review content who discuss the latest industry trends and updates across a wide variety of topics. These influencers typically host their content on independent YouTube channels and traditional social media pages.

Some of the strongest examples in the influencer space would be toy and video game reviewers among young boys; makeup, clothing, and spa products for young women; and DIY-Instructables, food, and travel videos across the remaining segments. Having your brand’s social media handles and hashtags featured on pages with up to 1 million+ followers is another way to reach out to untapped audiences.

If you maintain a retail brand online, it might be worth it to reach out to these non-traditional sources of engagement. Many influencers display their contact information on their social media pages, and although rates will vary wildly depending on the number of followers they have, this could end up paying off in a big way.

If you don’t have the means to tap into the big influencer market, think about how you can leverage your local market to create your own “influencers,” and read our post Steal These 5 Digital Marketing Tips from Social Media Influencers to find out how you can use the social media tactics influencers use to reach your audience.

Snapchat Lenses & Filters

Although Snapchat hasn’t quite yet reached financial solvency, their ad platform is certainly maturing. To inaugurate the new year, Snapchat has released its second official app, Lens Studio. This app will eventually allow advertisers to design and create their own AR lenses for use in Snapchat. Over the course of 2018, Snap will be bringing “Lens Studio challenges” to users of the app, in an effort to bring more developers to the platform.

For local restaurants, bars, and other social small businesses, Snapchat’s location-based filter products offer a great way to lay claim to your physical location amongst the social media savvy. For larger retailers, Snap Ads offer guaranteed viewership across a large demographic, great for building new products and brands.

Augmented Reality & Gamification

Although these services are not yet easily attainable by small- and medium-sized businesses, you should expect to see AR apps released by some big names. Ikea has a great example of an AR app with much utility – place its products in your own home to try out new design styles – and Lego’s AR-Studio app lets you try their playsets before you buy.

These AR applications play strongly to the ideas behind gamification: turn your everyday experiences into a game to keep consumers engaged for as long as possible. Teachers have been using this theory for decades now to keep children engaged in the classrooms, and similar products like Leapfrog learning games and tablets have produced a big market for these kinds of products. In the online space, Google has recently ‘gamified’ it’s Local Guides review platform by offering leaderboards and other statistics as a form of competition among these reviewers to incentivize more reviews for their Google Maps products.

No matter the size of your social media following, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. As the latest communication medium of the digital century, these social media platforms will continue to evolve. If your business needs a social media upgrade, consider contacting one of our social media experts at ReachLocal. From building your digital presence to advertising your products, our social media team members can help you achieve all of your online objectives.

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Daniel Morris

Daniel is a Digital Marketing Manager at ReachLocal in Phoenix, Arizona. He works on delivering strategic social media management for SMBs nationwide and has experience in local and national markets. He enjoys using his problem-solving skills to solve client needs and meet objectives. Outside of the office, he embraces all things tech and gushes over his feline companion, Penny.

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