The wheels turn fast in the world of social media. Sophisticated apps and functions can be superseded in a matter of months, and as we increasingly turn to the internet for our daily needs, social media is adapting fast to keep relevant. Let’s take a brief look at the trends from 2017 and see what’s in store for 2018.

A couple of major players in 2017 were live streaming and Influencer marketing. Instagram’s Stories feature took flight, overtaking SnapChat’s similar function within a year of launching, due in no small part to Instagram’s user-friendly vibe. Facebook also added Stories to its app, merging with its Messenger Day function, allowing the content to be posted on both apps. In fact, cross-posting functionality will be one to watch in 2018.

Influencer marketing budgets exploded in 2017. People seek authenticity, and influencers can lend legitimacy to a brand or message. They use stories and live streaming functions to give insight into the products and services they use to live their best-life, complete with links and hashtags to their sponsors. These trends are set to carry over into this year.

What To Expect in 2018

Generation Z will be the next ones to set the pace- for them, a digital existence is as natural as breathing. With the oldest Generation Zs in their early twenties, their future consumer power is big. But wooing a Gen Z is a tricky business- they are globally conscious, thrifty, and addicted to their digital devices. They seek originality, so reaching this generation through established channels of marketing is challenging.

 2018 will continue to see the rise of live streaming. The immediacy of video satisfies the social media user’s dual desire for authenticity and entertainment. With over a third of internet users saying they go online to see what their friends are doing, social media functions are merging to make the content fast, efficient and entertaining. And let’s not forget that people are using social media to get their daily news fix.  News content providers are flocking to live streaming to keep up with the trend.

Since it’s conception, the internet has been used as a digital whispering system, but with users becoming wary of fake news and bad content, social media is lifting its game. User-generated organic content is getting excellent rates of brand engagement. 2018 will see user-generated content increase.

Keeping It Real…Sort Of

Since Pokemon Go exploded in 2016, augmented reality (AR) has taken a firm hold in the collective digital consciousness. The combination of virtual reality and the physical world widens the scope of application. AR has come a long way since the old days of uploading a picture of your face and dragging different hairstyles onto it.  Expect to see AR used across multiple industries, including retail, beauty, home improvement and of course the ubiquitous gaming world.

Let’s Talk…Online

Given that social messaging is fast overtaking other forms of communication, it’s not surprising  that businesses are using chat and message functions to communicate directly with their customer bases. Chatbot use is exploding in numbers and sophistication to keep pace with the demand. Keep an eye on digital hangouts too- Generation Z is driving their use skyward.

Symbiosis may well be a trend to watch in social media. As consumers continue bundling their online behaviours, social media will have to demonstrate flexibility to keep their user-base happy. And although social media is dominating the narrative, existing forms of media are still used to great effect in conjunction with digital. Get in touch with us to see how we can map out strategies to maximise your media impact.

Benni Lucas

About Benni Lucas

Benni is a Digital Advertising aficionado with a vast interest in all things web, tech, digital and social. He has experience working for large and small digital media agencies. Benni enjoys seeking out new trends and technologies and implementing them for clients. He’s also adept at analytics, spotting trends, patterns and opportunities. He possesses the necessary skill of transforming raw data into a story with meaning. Benni also enjoys discovering Sydney’s best restaurants, travelling the world and his responsibility as the MediaSmiths Resident Office DJ.