By now you will all have read some social media predictions for 2018. Robots will take over the world (AGAIN) and Twitter will die a dramatic death, forced out of the market by virtual reality millennials. Yawn. In this article I’m going to give you five funny social media predictions for 2018 and tell you how social media managers can prepare for them.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that while most of the social media predictions I have written over the years have come true, they don’t happen instantly. Change creeps into our social media platforms and we adapt as we go along. Therefore, no need to panic or stock up on torches, water and food supplies. Let’s head into 2018 with the confidence that we can handle this as we handled everything else.
Ephemeral content literally means disappearing content and it’s already been seen through Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook stories. Most ephemeral content lasts for 24 hours and then disappears making it plenty of fun for end users. And also a massive headache for content creators and social media managers.
The advantage of course is that you will tap into the FOMO market and in theory make your content more valuable and grabable. In reality, this will mean brands may need to have a completely separate strategy for ephemeral content. Ephemeral content cannot replace your usual social media posts, tweets and updates because if it did, your channel would look permanently empty. It also cannot be relied upon as a way to drive consistent traffic to your blog. So it will be fairly worthless in terms of its SEO contributions. Of course, it goes without saying that it’s not evergreen so cannot be considered to be a part of your overall brand reputation. I’m complaining but I know it’s coming.
Content managers and social media marketers will grimace when their organisation excitedly suggests ephemeral content. Amid my social media predictions, I would also add that the person suggesting it as a strategy will not be the same person creating the content.
Joking aside, ephemeral content is coming so we need to learn how to handle it without losing our minds along the way. So, when your boss says the word ephemeral think scheduling. In the same way that we use Agorapulse to schedule our content in advance, so too we can use it to schedule and manage our ephemeral content in one hit.
As the content will disappear in 24 hours, there will be no need to think deeply about keywords or SEO either. Think short, punchy pieces of content with eye grabbing images, gifs and videos. You may also want to use scheduling to repeat your ephemeral content to different time zones or demographics. However, repeating it in the same time zone will detract from it being original, valuable and unmissable.
My second of the social media predictions for 2018 is that social media will not dethrone television. Yes it’s true that users can now stream live TV through the major social media networks. However, it’s also true that Facebook is budgeting more than $1 billion in 2018 to produce programming for Watch, a new hub for television shows. Snapchat is partnering up with NBC to promote productions from ESPN, ABC, and Discovery, among others.
So, why then will social media viewing fail to dethrone TV? It’s simple. Social media predominantly takes place on smartphones and iPhones, sometimes tablets but rarely desktops. In fact, 90% of Facebook users access the platform from a mobile device. But to those 90 % REALLY want watch their favorite series on a mobile device?
As social media managers, we need to be aware that the technology is there and there are new avenues for us to explore. However, we are not talking about full length films or series. Mobile television is meant to be viewed on the go so think about short and punchy clips, shareable bite sized video updates and sponsored video ads.
If you haven’t done so already, consider investing in some basic video making equipment, or at least a microphone. Start thinking about short storytelling series that you can run with a view to potentially providing a subscribe option for learning, tutorials and seminars. You will also want to get smart about your resources. So check out this cool article from Amanda Webb about repurposing your video content.
Shopping and social media. What’s not to love? Well as social media managers will be aware, “buy now” buttons have been around for a while on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Setting up a social media store was huge between 2015- 2016. It was also something that, when promoted correctly, had the capacity to generate a good revenue for small business owners.
The problem was, they offered limited information about products. Plus, too many fiddly, offsite clicks to actually get to the POS (point of sale). So, in my social media predictions for 2018, I definitely predict that we are about to take the next big step to integrating shopping and social media. A feature which will delight retailers everywhere!
Just recently Shopify launched its Instagram integration which allowed merchants to sell directly on the network.
That means no more clicking out to view products because merchants can sell directly from the network. Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users and Shopify services over 500,000 brands. So we should expect a higher level of product sales in 2018.
If you’re an ecommerce startup, you really need to get yourself set up with a Shopify store so you don’t miss out on the coming “in platform” innovations. Using a platform such as Shopify will provide you with a whole host of sales channels which can be integrated into your existing Facebook marketing efforts. Also, with Agorapulse now offering multiple image uploads, it’s easier than ever to promote your latest catalog range.
As someone who is largely involved in financial services marketing at Contentworks, I can tell you that Blockchain is already disrupting. It’s disrupting traditional methods of online payment, investing, and purchasing.
In 2018, it will also disrupt traditional content and social media marketing processes. There’s a battle in place between the FCC which wants to kill net neutrality making it harder to access digital content. Then there’s Blockchain, which is decentralized, peer-to-peer, and resilient against efforts to make traffic on the internet less neutral.
Blockchain may also level the playing field for authors and content curators who have not been credited, paid, or recognized. These creators have traditionally lost out to content hosting services, social media giants and advertisers who rake in revenue.
WildSpark, by Synereo, is a Blockchain app that launched on August 10th, to empower curators and consumers directly. It also rewards them for their efforts via payment in digital currency.
The concept of content curation versus creation is not a new one. However, social media marketers and content managers may want to consider this in more detail throughout 2018. For example, if a piece of curated content has led to a surge in sales for your company, should you be rewarding that contributor or influencer?
With the rise of ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) throughout 2017, we have also learned a lesson. Users want to share in the successes of a brand. How can you start to acknowledge and reward your contributors?
Imagine if you could take an actual augmented reality timeout from your busy day as a social media manager. Imagine choosing your Virtual Reality (VR) wardrobe for a VR holiday and then lounging by a tropical pool with the sound of waves in the distance… Sounds great right? Well, as augmented reality is set to become more mainstream, this is a distinct possibility. But wait… NOT YET! As mainstream 2018 social media predictions promise a world of Augmented Reality (AR) technology integrated into social media marketing they are forgetting one key point. The technology isn’t quite ready yet.
Virtual Reality requires a head-mounted display, which is commonly used in gaming. However, that technology is still fairly expensive and early trials have shown that end users reacted negatively to the somewhat disorientating and sickening effects of VR.
The reality for now though, is that social media managers will need to embrace augmented reality apps to sell their products, promote their services and tell their stories more effectively.
The Spredfast Report recently stated:
“We’ve seen Instagram and Snapchat pave the way to make AR part of our everyday lives—and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Ikea’s AR kit is one of many examples that place the power of AR in the hands of a consumer. So our experts expect that in 2018, we’ll see more innovation roll out from brands adopting this technology.”
The IKEA AR kit mentioned above, allows users to place pieces of furniture inside their home through AR technology. Thereby allowing them to make better purchasing decisions. This will certainly pave the way for more brands to embrace new technology allowing social media to further integrate buying. Imagine being able to try on clothing, makeup or visualise yourself sitting in the latest sports car. It’s powerful stuff.
While AR technology may not be ready just yet, social media marketers can learn a lot from this upcoming trend. The main lesson here is that users want to immerse themselves in stories, videos and brand updates. In fact, believing you are involved in a brand story will increase your brand loyalty. This in turn increases the likelihood of purchasing in the future. For now, social media marketers can focus on Facebook Live, 360 video and other available technologies that fully immerse users.
Which of these social media predictions do you agree with most? Let us know in the comments.