Social media trends to watch for in 2018

Social media isn’t going anywhere soon. In fact, new platforms and ways to use social media for marketing and connecting continue to grow.

social media trendsIn a Sept. 27, 2017, article on Entrepreneur.com, contributor Deep Patel shared where he sees social media trends headed:

1. The rise of augmented reality

Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X incorporate a chip that allows the phones to give users an augmented reality experience, Patel wrote. He foresees a time when brands can project their products into the homes of social media users.

2. Increasing popularity of Instagram stories

Instagram Stories, at just a year old, has more than 200 million users each month—50 million more than Snapchat. “At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018,” he said.

3. Continued investment in influencer marketing

Influencer marketing—a form of marketing that uses influential people to promote products—is a good way to connect with social media users who don’t respond well to traditional advertising.

4. Focus on Generation Z

Gen Z—the oldest of whom are 22 years old—are starting to enter the labor force and have increased buying power. “Brands will begin to recognize this and will shift their social media strategies accordingly. Expect great investment in platforms loved by Gen Zers like Snapchat and Instagram,” Patel wrote.

5. Increasing brand participation in messaging platforms

Instant messaging platforms such as Kik, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger may offer brands opportunities to connect with consumers in new ways.

6. Expansion of live streaming

“Goruck, a backpack manufacturer and the organizer of extreme endurance events, is one example of a medium-size brand that has grown its reach by live streaming compelling content on Facebook,” Patel said. “Thousands of followers tuned in to watch 48-hour coverage of a recent endurance race.”

7. Rethinking Twitter

Twitter is struggling a bit. It did not significantly increase followers in 2017. Look for Twitter leadership to rethink how the platform operates.

8. Digital hangouts go mainstream

Gen Zers use digital hangouts, such as Houseparty, to socialize with friends. “Facebook is reportedly investigating ways to create a similar functionality within their platform,” he wrote.

9. Facebook Spaces goes mainstream

Spaces, a new project from Facebook, is designed to enable friends to connect in virtual reality. “Facebook is poised to scale spaces in 2018,” Patel said. “When they do, it is likely that it will be the first successful VR social media project at scale.”

10. Social platforms embrace stronger governance policies

According to Patel, “Given the wide criticism that Facebook and Twitter received during 2017, it is likely that these platforms will embrace codes of conduct and governance policies that protect brands from future criticism.”