Social media, for most of us, is a way to connect with friends and family, see what our favorite brand is doing, or a way for us to stay up-to-date on the current state of affairs in our busy lives. However, if you’re a business and not on social media – 2018 might be the year to not jump, but throw yourself onto the bandwagon. I’m not saying you need to be on every platform, posting every hour, retweeting, or sharing every second of every day. But, it is important you have a presence on the right social media platforms to reach your consumers in an authentic and mutually beneficial way.
Social media networks are a way for consumers to find new products and services, voice complaints (or praise), and to spread information with their co-workers, families, or the random LinkedIn connection from their college internship. In 2018, it’s honestly a place you can’t afford NOT to be. So, let’s get down to business, literally.
Once you have identified ideal platforms and have created the associated social pages for your business, you’re going to want to do some research on strategy, timing of posts, content and more. Luckily for you, I’ve done the work on what trends you can expect to see in the new year, giving you a jump start on the ever-changing social media game. So, be on the lookout and jot down some notes you think you’ll find useful.
Business Use for Stories on Social Media
“Stories” are a popular way of posting on both Snapchat and Instagram that only last 24 hours and are seen by your followers. In 2018, it’s expected that close to half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of the year. That’s over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat. If you’re on Instagram, this means you need to sit down and master the art of Stories in order to reach those users who are interested in connecting with your business.
Social Media Code of Conduct for Businesses
Whether you voted for the right, left, or you’re an independent, the 2016 Presidential Election had a big (or little) hand in social media. With that being said, in the upcoming year you can expect to see social media networks keeping a “big brother” close watch on how people act on their platforms. Both Twitter and Facebook, post-criticism of the year 2017, will embrace codes of conduct and policies that will protect brands and users in the years to come. For businesses in particular, embracing and following these policies will be imperative for social media success.
Using Chatbots to Connect with Consumers in 2018
Social media allows us to be closer to customers, and with the help of technology moving in the direction of AI (artificial intelligence) and chatbots, it can make real-time engagement with consumers even easier. Troubleshooting common issues or accessing information via a chatbot that provides 24/7 services will increase to 80% in the new year. Ready for more? If you’re a fan of Facebook Messenger, there are 12,000 monthly active bots providing answers to questions all around the globe. Chatbots will make customer service faster and easier for both the business and the consumer. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Gen-Z’s Impact on Social Media Trends
The final trend I want you to pay close attention to is ‘Gen Z’. This generation, born between 1995 and 2012, are considered the “true digital natives” and already have $44 billion in buying power. “Why should I care,” you ask? Because, these tech savvies will be the ones dictating social media trends in the future. They are two to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts – meaning they are the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to the purchase decision-making process. When marketing your product or service on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, this is the type of individual you will need to keep in mind.
Now that you have all this amazing information for the upcoming year, what will you do with it? Use it, take it, implement it into your plan or strategy for the new year, and keep your eyes peeled for how these trends shape social media in 2018 and how they impact your business.