Where is social media marketing going in 2018?
Good question. The social media landscape seems to change constantly. Facebook is constantly adding new features and tweaking their algorithms, and even people who use social media to market every day sometimes find themselves wondering how to keep up.
The key is not so much trying to stay on top of Facebook’s changes as it is getting a handle on what your marketing goals are.
So – what is it you want to accomplish in 2018? Let’s start there.
Setting Social Media Marketing Goals
One of the great things about social media marketing is how versatile it is. Whatever goal you want to achieve, you can do it using social media.
The problem that a lot of companies run into is that they don’t know what they want. They end up taking a scattershot approach to social media marketing. As a result, they:
- Don’t meet their goals
- Lose money
- Throw good money after bad
How do you avoid these things? The answer is simple. You do it by taking some time to think about what you want to accomplish it, and then planning how to do it.
Here are some of the common goals of marketers:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to their website
- Re-engage existing customers
- Building an online community
- Boosting engagement
- Building a list
- Making social sales
You might want to do all these things, but it’s not going to help you focus your efforts if you don’t prioritize the goals that you value most.
We suggest picking three goals that will be your priorities in the coming year. You may have secondary goals as well, but your top three will determine what you do on social media – and how you do it.
Choosing Your Social Media Strategies
Your next step must be deciding on the specific strategies and tactics you’ll use on social media to achieve your goals.
This is where social media marketing can be a little overwhelming. There are many potential strategies to consider. For example:
- You might connect with influencers and offer them payment or incentives to talk about your brand
- You could set up a posting schedule to increase engagement
- Designing a Facebook ad could help you generate leads or build your list
- Setting up an account on Instagram might help you attract younger customers
The more specific you are about your social media marketing goals, the easier it will be to choose the strategies that will help you achieve them.
For example, if you want to make influencer marketing a priority in 2018, you might do some research and make a list of potential influencers to approach. You could also give some thought to what kinds of things you would want your influencers to do, and quantify the results you hope to get.
The strategies you choose should be specific to your goals and appealing to your target audience. If you’re eager to attract male customers, for example, then a dedicated Pinterest campaign probably isn’t the way to go.
Social Media Trends for 2018
After you’ve identified your goals and chosen some general strategies, you can brush up on the latest and greatest social media trends and see if any of them fit into your plans for the coming year.
Let’s break down some of the biggest and most important trends.
- Live Streaming is more popular than ever before. Facebook has made its Facebook Live feature available to all users, and it’s not uncommon to see streaming videos from both brands and consumers. Live Streaming provides marketers with a way to connect directly with customers, answer questions, and give an inside look at their products, people, and services.
- Augmented and virtual reality usage are on the rise. While these technologies are still new, the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X feature virtual reality chips. Facebook Spaces is still in the testing stage, but it’s expected to go into wide release in 2018. VR is coming – and many companies will be jumping on the bandwagon.
- Instagram Stories have been around for a year, but marketers’ use of them is expected to skyrocket in 2018. 200,000 people use it each month, and if the trend continues, more than half of all Instagram users will be on board by the end of next year.
- Influencer marketing is still on the rise and is one of the most popular ways for brands to attract new customers. Big brands may go after celebrity endorsers, but choosing the right influential blogger or Instagrammer can make a huge difference in your visibility.
- The use of messaging platforms has increased dramatically as many companies integrate their social media with customer service. Apps like Messenger, Kik, and WhatsApp can be used to provide immediate responses to customer inquiries.
- The popularity of Houseparty – a new-ish digital hangout platform – has prompted talk that Facebook might launch a similar feature this year. It could represent an easy way for brands to “hang out” with their customers in cyberspace.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the trend that was inspired by the recent Congressional inquiries about Facebook advertising during the election. You can expect a crackdown on ad content in the coming months.
Most routine ads won’t be affected, but it’s important to note that Facebook is adding new AI monitoring as well as human monitoring. It may take a little longer to get ads approved in the future, and it’s possible that glitches and misunderstandings might occur, as well.
The Landscape of Social Media Is Constantly Changing…
New technologies, apps, and trends appear on the horizon faster than we can keep up.
The keys to making your social media marketing successful in 2018 are to:
- Identify your goals as completely as possible
- Choose strategies to help you achieve your goals
- Embrace new trends and technologies where they make sense
Do these three things, and your social media approach in the new year will be a successful one.