It seems like social media marketing trends change every year. Whether it’s a new social media platform or just the launch of new features, social media platforms are constantly innovating to keep users interested and satisfied.
It can be hard for small businesses to keep up with all the latest features, tools, and tactics. However, staying current with social media marketing trends and best practices is important for businesses that want to stay competitive in the busy digital market place. As platforms change and new trends emerge, marketers need to adjust their social media strategy to account for these changes.
Below, we’ve put together a list of the top social media marketing trends for 2018. Keep reading to find out what these trends mean for your small business and how you can leverage them:
1. Organic reach on social media channels is declining.
Organic reach across social media channels is continuing to decline. This is one of those social media marketing trends that you may have seen coming for the past few years. As social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram try to make the user experience more effective, they tend to cut down on the number of branded messages in a user’s feed.
This is just a look at Facebook’s decline in organic reach over the past few years, but the trend is the same across social media channels.
What does this mean for your business? Well, it’s going to be really hard to reach new audiences on social media with organic content alone. In fact, there’s a good chance that even your fans and followers are not able to see the organic content that you create even though they are following you on these channels.
One way to address this challenge is to use social media advertising as part of your overall strategy. Social ads help compliment your organic reach by allowing you to gain new visibility within your target market.
What’s more is that social platforms provide you with sophisticated targeting capabilities to make sure that your ad content is put in front of those who are most likely to be interested in your brand. This is great news for small businesses that are working with limited marketing budgets. By targeting only those who are likely to buy, you are able to maximize your social ad budget.
2. Video is one of the most effective content formats on social.
Video has become one of the most powerful tools for the modern marketer and is definitely one of the social media marketing trends that is here to stay. This is especially true when it comes to social media marketing. If you aren’t using video as part of your social media marketing strategy, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to reach and engage your target audience.
When you are posting content to your social media channels, you have to compete for your audience’s attention against their friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances. While written content can become a bit of a blur when users are scrolling through their feed, video tends to get their attention. Video content is an effective way to get your audience’s attention and start engaging them.
When developing your social media content marketing strategy, consider what topics would benefit from a video presentation. Quick how-to videos or video content that tells your brand story are great ways to engage your audience while guiding them to the next step in the marketing funnel. Don’t forget to find ways to repurpose your video by posting across channels and incorporating it into other digital marketing campaigns like email marketing or blogs. Additionally, if posting constant video content is too much for your small business, you can also explore other ways to spice up your social media content.
3. Ephemeral content provides higher engagement rates.
With the introduction of Snapchat, ephemeral content has become one of the biggest social media marketing trends of the past few years. And other social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have already jumped on this trend by including ephemeral content as part of their own platform experiences.
Ephemeral content is content that is only available for a brief amount of time. On Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram stories, this content can be shared for up to 24 hours before it disappears for good. Consumers, especially those who are millennials, can’t get enough of this content that has a foreseeable expiration date.
Here’s an example of a branded Instagram story. The content is only available for a limited amount of time before it disappears forever.
Small businesses can take advantage of the popularity of ephemeral content by including these types of social posts in their social media marketing strategy. These posts help brands show a more human side of their business while also playing on the consumer’s fear of missing out. When it comes to ephemeral content from brands, users tend to take faster action so they can see the content before it’s gone.
If you want social media users to look forward to your brand’s ephemeral content, it’s important that you are utilizing high-quality storytelling. Whether you create videos of your products or services in action or even just provide a behind-the-scenes look at your business, there are many ways to leverage this trend to create more excitement about your brand and build stronger customer relationships.
4. Facebook reviews become a key asset for small businesses.
When it comes to digital marketing, customer reviews can make or break you. The same is true of your reviews on social media platforms like Facebook. One of the biggest social media marketing trends you’ll need to pay attention to is consumers’ increasing reliance on Facebook reviews as part of their purchasing decision.
When a customer comes to your Facebook page, your reviews are right there front and center. Though some customers may just leave a star-rating out of 5 and others will provide a comprehensive overview of their experience, each review can have a significant impact on those who are considering making a purchase with your brand. In fact, a survey by BrightLocal reveals that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.
These Facebook reviews left by clients are a trusted common factor in a client’s final decision to choose LYFE Marketing for their small business social media marketing and advertising.
In order to take advantage of the opportunity to influence more conversions on Facebook, you should encourage your best and happiest customers to leave a review on your page. In addition, your business should actively be working to maintain a positive reputation online by providing quality customer service through all of your online channels.
Be sure to address any questions or concerns as soon as they come to your business. This means regularly monitoring your social media pages and inbox to ensure that there are no outstanding requests or customer service problems.
If you do end up getting a poor review, be sure to handle it in a positive, professional, and respectful manner. Publicly comment on the review to let the customer know that you care about and appreciate their feedback. Then, ask the customer what you can do to improve their experience. Even if they don’t change their mind, this response will show other potential customers that your business is concerned about customer service and improvement.
5. Small businesses need to harness the power of live streaming.
Live streaming features on social platforms like Facebook have been around for a while. However, the way that brands are using this feature to engage with their audience has transformed over the past couple of years. While businesses were slow to embrace live streaming at first, it has quickly become a powerful tool for companies that want to show a more human side of their brand.
As the technology to record and process video gets better, more and more small businesses will be taking advantage of this social media trend. Recording live video gives businesses the opportunity to provide more exclusive content, which can create excitement around their brand. It also allows small businesses to engage with fans and followers live as they react to the content, ask questions, and post comments in real time.
Here are some snapshots of a Facebook Live stream from a women’s boutique promoting apparel, shoes, and giveaways.
To incorporate this trend into your own social media strategy, take a look at your campaigns to see which would benefit from live, interactive content. For example, if you want to host a Q&A for your leads and customers, why not do it live on Facebook? This format allows your audience to react in real-time, which provides you the opportunity to make on-the-spot adjustments to your presentation in order to fit their needs.
6. Savvy consumers have become better at avoiding advertising.
The modern consumer has become incredibly good at avoiding promotions, tuning out sponsored content, and sometimes even blocking advertising. This is one of the newer social media marketing trends that presents a challenge for many businesses.
While traditional marketing philosophies focus on selling to the consumer, small businesses need to take a new approach if they want to engage their social media audiences. Rather than using sales language and going straight for the conversion in their social posts, businesses need to create social media content that’s authentic, engaging, and valuable.
By developing social media content that is useful to the consumer, small businesses can work to build relationships with their target audiences. These relationships can eventually lead to conversions, repeat sales, and even brand advocacy. That goes a lot farther than a single ad can.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t advertise on social media. In fact, social advertising plays a significant role in complimenting your organic posts to improve visibility and reach. However, you should take this same approach when developing advertising as you would for organic content. Ditch the sales language, and make sure that your business is providing something of value.
7. Retargeting through social media ads becomes an essential part of marketing campaigns.
As we mentioned before, social media advertising is a great way to complement the organic content in your social media strategy. However, retargeting ads can be a real game-changer for brands that want to re-engage those who have visited their site without making a purchase.
Social media platforms like Facebook allow you to reach back out to site visitors after they’ve left your site. These retargeting ads enable your business to use strategic and targeted content to try to bring the visitor back to your site to follow through with the conversion, whether that is a purchase or something else.
Here’s a visual look at the retargeting process from when the user interacts with your brand through their final purchase.
Let’s look at an example of how retargeting social media ads might work for your business. Let’s say that a consumer does a quick Google search and lands on your site. They start browsing through your product list and even add a few things into their online shopping cart. But they end up getting distracted and navigating away from the page before they finish checking out.
This scenario plays out all the time for small businesses in every industry. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on that conversion. This person has already shown interest in your brand and even intended to make a purchase.
Instead of writing the visitor off as a lost cause, you can use a Facebook retargeting ad to remind the visitor of what they left behind in their cart. Seeing a visual reminder of the products they were interested in or a targeted message enticing them to return to your site may be just what they need to come back and finish making the purchase!
8. Mobile-friendly content is no longer optional for social media marketing.
While mobile-friendly content may have been optional in the past, it is now essential for any business that wants to reach their mobile audience. And that mobile audience is quite significant. In fact, there are currently 5.11 billion mobile users worldwide. That’s a 2% increase from last year’s statistics.
Every year, the number of mobile social network users continues to increase.
Not only are consumers researching new products and shopping from their mobile phones, but they’re also accessing their social media accounts from mobile apps. According to Marketingland, almost 80% of users on the top three social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat) are accessing these platforms from their smartphones.
These statistics shows that if you aren’t creating mobile-ready content on your social channels that you may be missing out on the opportunity to reach a significant amount of new leads. This makes mobile-friendly content one of the top social media marketing trends that you just can’t ignore.
In order to stay ahead of this trend, you’ll want to make sure that any content you post to your social channels is mobile-friendly. Include more visual or video content to capture the attention of your mobile audience. And make sure that any written post content is short and sweet so it’s easy to read on a mobile device.
9. Small businesses need to pay more attention to social listening.
Social listening is becoming even more important for small businesses that want to reach new audiences. Social listening is the process of monitoring social media for information about what customers, competitors, influencers, and experts are saying.
You can learn a lot about your target audience through social listening. Look for what questions they commonly ask about products and services and what frustrations they voice through social media. You can use what you learn to develop social media content that helps address these concerns before they even voice them to your company.
Though social listening does take some investment of time, it can really help your small business better understand what’s trending in your industry and what new opportunities you have for engaging with and serving your customers. There are also social media listening tools that you can use to monitor conversations and collect data. The key to getting the most out of this process is using the data that you gather and taking action to revise your social media and content marketing strategy based on what you find.
10. Influencer marketing reigns supreme on social channels.
Though influencer marketing is not a new concept, this type of marketing remains one of the most popular social media marketing trends today. Influencer marketing involves businesses partnering with social media influencers. These are people who have lots of fans and followers on their social media profiles, and consumers often look to these individuals for advice or guidance on different topics.
By partnering with social media influencers in your industry, you can work to expand your reach by gaining access to their group of loyal followers. There are a number of different ways to leverage the reach of influencers. Your business might get influencers to share your content on their social media pages. You could even have them write and share a review about your products or services.
These statistics show just a few of the reasons why influencer social media marketing can be a game-changer for businesses.
If you find it hard to choose influencers for your brand, then check out these statistics:
- For Instagram, nano influencers have the highest engagement rate at 4.4%. These influencers have 1K-10K followers.
- For YouTube, nano influencers are also the winners garnering an engagement rate of 6.7%.
- But for Facebook and Twitter, they have a low engagement rate for all influencer levels with only below 1% rate.
But as a small business marketer, you’re probably thinking, isn’t influencer marketing expensive? Well, the truth is that it doesn’t have to be. There are ways that smaller businesses with smaller budgets can still work with influencers to take advantage of greater reach.
One way is to offer your products to the influencer for free or reduced cost in exchange for a mention on their profile or a review. If you have a product or service that the influencer may use, you might also consider trading services in exchange for visibility on their social profiles.
These top social media marketing trends are sure to be game-changers for your digital marketing strategy in 2018 and beyond. By keeping up with these social media trends and understanding what they mean for your business, you can stay one step ahead of your competitors. Knowing how to leverage social media marketing trends will allow your business to create killer social media content that attracts and engages your target buyers in no time.
Not quite sure how to best utilize these social media marketing trends to your full advantage? We’d love to help. Learn more about our social media management services or ask us how social media advertising can help complement your organic social campaign content.