For the fourth year, international social media analytics firm Talkwalker has asked experts from around the world to share their social media predictions for next year. Here, its list of the "10 Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2018":
1. What's Next for Social Video?What's this?
It's no secret that video has become the go-to content type for social networks and brands, but what changes should we look out for next year?Who cares?
Content Creators, Community Managers, Marketing LeadersTrend Level
Burning BrightMichael Stelzner, CEO and founder of Social Media Examiner, says:
Facebook becomes a major player in video. Facebook will become a major competitor to YouTube. In 2017, Facebook kicked off the Facebook Watch rollout for select creators (their TV-like option within Facebook). In 2018, we'll see that program expand to all people and pages on Facebook.
We'll also likely see Facebook roll out new features for video creators that'll make it far easier to get exposure and be discovered. This could include preferential Facebook News Feed exposure for original native video, generous revenue share deals, and the eventual roll out of a dedicated video app. We also might see Facebook negotiate traditional television deals or even start its own cable television network. If you're a video creator, watch this space closely!Harry Hugo, co-owner of The Goat Agency and CEO of CEO of FreshPressUK, says:
Video content created by influencers will see a huge shift in distribution, instead of brands utilizing influencer channels, they will use influencers as content creators; becoming video production companies in their own right. This sees a shift from influencers with wide reach, to influencers with high-quality content.2. Voice Search
Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google. Suddenly we're all talking to our phones and using our voices to search for the best deals, work out where to go for a drink, and find great marketing tips.Who cares?
SEO Experts, Content Creators, eCommerce SpecialistsTrend Level
Catching FireGini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich and founder and author of Spin Sucks, says:
Alexa, Siri, and Cortana have created more and more voice search, which will continue to increase (as we get lazier) in 2018 and beyond. This means paid search will have to be part of a content marketer's toolbox next year. The coveted top three spots in search results will be the goal for just about every organization. Paid social, paid search, and paying attention to the search results the personal assistants' return are top of my list!3. Is Organic Reach Dead?
The days of free exposure on social may be coming to an end. With millions posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and every minute of every day, social networks want you to pay to get your content seen.Who cares?
Digital Marketers, PR Executives, InfluencersTrend Level
Burning BrightMatt Navarra, director of social media at The Next Web, says:
In 2018, we're going to see the erosion of organic reach for Facebook Pages continue. However, brands and publishers will finally come to the long-overdue realization that their best course of action is content optimization supported by a smart paid social strategy. This shift for Page admins has been a long time coming and painful for some, but recent 'tests' by Facebook have given Page admins the jolt they needed to take action vs. burying their head in the sand.Ian Cleary, founder of RazorSocial and CEO of Outreachplus, says:
There will be significant growth in outbound marketing because of massive declines in organic reach. We will need to reach out and find the audience for our content as opposed to them finding us. Organic reach is declining and it's becoming harder to get on page one of Google. We are investing a lot of time in content that won't be seen by the majority of our audience so we need to do more promotion. Outreach can be done through email, paid advertising, partnerships and more.4. Brand Protection on Social
Fake news, fraud, copyright infringement, all are becoming increasingly prevalent on social media. Both brands and social networks are looking for new ways to fight back.Who cares?
PR Executives, C-suite, Brand ManagersTrend Level
Catching FireSarah Hall, founder of #FuturePRoof, agency owner, and president-elect of the CIPR, says:
Scrutiny of the social media platforms is set to increase in 2018 and we'll see greater pressure on the major players to monitor content for relevance and suitability. Public relations practitioners MUST factor in the potential negative impact on reputation where brand misplacement occurs. Ensuring values form the basis of all marketing activity will be crucial to mitigating major issues and maintaining legitimacy in society.5. The Chatbot Army
You may have noticed every shop from your favorite fashion retailer to your pizza delivery of choice engaging you in conversation on Facebook and even taking your order. Chances are, this isn't Dave, the customer service agent but rather Dave 2.0, the all-knowing, AI-powered chatbot.Who cares?
Customer Service Experts, E-commerce Specialists, Marketing LeadersTrend Level
Catching FireSam Hurley, owner of Optim-eyez, says:
Conversational commerce is still relatively primal - yet with the constant advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), 2018 is set to be a year of greater uptake. Chatbots will be launched by many brands, large and small.
It's becoming easier to build and deploy out-of-the-box chatbot solutions, primarily across Facebook Messenger. I believe this technology will rapidly develop to be widespread in all other key social platforms, as automated (yet intelligent) chat becomes a staple in business efficiency and engagement.
Remember: Chatbots aren't just for e-commerce purposes. Next year, more B2B brands will follow the trend to maximize their operational effectiveness. Chatbots are the missing link between scalable social, lead nurturing, and sales.Dave Chaffey, co-founder and content director of SmartInsights.com, says:
It will be interesting to see how many more brands use chatbots to enhance engagement, service and encourage sales via social media. One chatbot we've been taking a look at this year is the Pizza Express chatbot, it's accessed from the Facebook page to give customers choice to a more standard table reservation service on the desktop/mobile site. Take a look, we think it's quite slick and has the advantage that through working on Facebook it can encourage sharing.
Chatbots are an example of a broader trend which Forrester and Gartner call Conversational UI (User Interface) which includes the increasing adoption of the different Home appliances starting with Amazon Echo/Alexa and followed this year by Apple, Google and Microsoft all launching solutions. We'll see how these are used to support more social interactions and perhaps Facebook will launch a competing solution since, we will see.6. Shoppable Media
The rise of rich media format (video, AR) will enable more immersive shopping experiences across earned, owned and paid. Think calls to action that pop-up when you scroll or tap different items in an image or video.Who cares?
Marketing Leaders, E-commerce Specialists, UX ExpertsTrend Level
Adel de Meyer, new media specialist, author, mentor, speaker, and brand influencer, says:
Close the gap between engagement and purchase. Lessen the friction between your content and your products. Turn your website and marketing channels into a great digital experience that captures the consumer right at the moment they were delighted by your content, moving away from the dull and dated eCommerce environment. This will make, or could potentially break brands in 2018.7. Advocacy Marketing
It's the new "big thing" in influencer marketing where you turn employees, partners, and clients into a powerful source of brand advocacyWho cares?
Marketing leaders, C-suite, PR LeadersTrend Level
Catching FireStephen Waddington, chief engagement officer of Ketchum PR, says:
Any executive serious about leading a modern organization will invest in their social media footprint in 2018. 10 years ago executive profiling meant targeting features in the broadsheet and trade media. Today's modern executive is more likely to seek support in optimizing their social networks and content. The catalyst for this shift has been the growth of LinkedIn, as both a professional network and content publishing platform. My tip would be to use the media that your stakeholders follow, and align your content with their interests.Joanne Sweeney-Burke, CEO of the Digital Training Institute, says:
Advocacy marketing is a tactic that will rocket brands into a new digital stratosphere if they can leverage the power of their online community. This form of organic marketing sees the customer stepping into a brand advocate role with product or service reviews and recommendations which drive leads and increase sales. The smartphone has revolutionized consumer behavior. Mobile will continue to dominate search but conversions on mobile will also increase because of advocacy marketing.8. The Rise of the Show
From podcasts, to weekly Facebook Lives brands, agencies, influencers and even your grandma is starting a regular show to engage audiences.Who cares?
Content Creators, Influencers, Brand Managers, PR OfficersTrend Level
Andrew and Pete, creative content marketing duo, says:
As people's expectations for high-quality content goes up, more creators will move towards creating 'shows.' We're defining shows here as a season or series of content with an ongoing narrative between episodes. There's a number of benefits to creating shows ... increased retention, batched production, sponsorship opportunities, ability to provide more value over longer periods of time ... but the main benefit is more effectively being able to create a loyal community.9. The Next Step for Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is far from a new concept, but its graduation from marketing tactic to marketing essential is a new development for brands and influencer alike.Who cares?
Influencers, Community Managers, Content Creators, PR officersTrend Level
Burning BrightLilach Bullock, influential entrepreneur, says:
Influencer marketing has grown a lot over the past few years, from a fad to one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. However, one of the things I've noticed a lot with influencer marketing campaigns is that there is a lack of trust in the influencers - or perhaps, too much trust that they know better than the influencer, what works and what doesn't. Take the time to listen to the influencers' suggestions on how to set up your campaign, as they know their fans better than you do - and perhaps can help you get better results if you follow their advice.Neal Schaffer, CEO of Maximize Your Social and PDCA Social, says:
Influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2018 as it becomes part of the social media marketing infrastructure for consumer-facing brands and is increasingly leveraged by B2B companies. While Paid Social will continue to grow and companies get better at targeting and therefore ROI, Influencer Marketing will be a complementary way to authentically reach out to new networks, while building relationships with those that can help their business.Harry Hugo, co-owner of The Goat Agency and CEO of CEO of FreshPressUK, says:
2018 will be the first year an influencer agency or platform will be acquired by a larger agency or media company, turning heads across the industry. As people increasingly recognise the maturity and professionalism of influencer marketing agencies (and the market itself), we will see a spurt of growth as agencies seek to reclaim the market space currently being occupied.10. Real-time Marketing
A combination of real-time analytics and marketing automation means brands can connect faster with buyers on socialWho cares?
Marketing Leaders, Content Creators, Community ManagersTrend Level
Burning BrightJoanne Sweeney-Burke, CEO of the Digital Training Institute, says:
A successful news-jacking campaign can produce enormous results in terms of increased website traffic and brand positioning. But social monitoring is required to ensure you have your index finger on the pulse of what's making news and what's captivating the interest of the Internet nation. Choose your news-jacking opportunities wisely and always ask yourself, 'is it right for my brand to step into this conversation and right now?' You don't want to damage your brand with a misjudged news-jacking that backfires!