Pack a carry-on, we’re getting on a flight to next year’s social media landscape as told by our team of dedicated Fandom marketers. As we finish our 2018 planning and budgets, we’ve kept a few social media marketing trends top of mind. If you approach marketing going into 2018 from the position of creating real everyday human experiences, then you’re hitting the target. From influencer marketing that forms authentic human connections, to video that creates memorable experiences (live, 3D or virtual reality), and advertising that connects your audience to culture and what already interests them, social media marketing will continue to develop new standards for customer engagement in 2018.
A Shift to Data Driven Social Media Marketing
I asked Fandom Marketing CEO & Chief Digital Strategist, Melonie Gallegos, what trends are coming in 2018. She predicts that in the coming year, marketers will make more informed decisions using social media data.
“As social networks collect big data and improve analytics, we are empowered to measure beyond soft metrics like engagement and impressions. This has led to the growing sophistication of paid social. Social media ads can target customers in personalized ways unmatched by other publishers. Throughout 2017 advertising platforms from Facebook to Twitter and Pinterest have added new features. The Pinterest ad manager was completely redesigned with new targeting functionality. Facebook rolled out direct response driven ad types that are tailored to shopping or lead capture. And, every network seems to be vying for video content. The take off of animated creative and live video has raised the bar on the quality of creative and investment we need to make in social marketing in 2018. Treating social media as a serious media tactic with measurable ROI, and investing quality creative will be vital in 2018. I recommend kicking off your year with a solid strategy and a measurement plan to be a data driven social media marketer in 2018.”
Brands will Take More Risk in Culture Conversations
Social media will continue to be used as a conversational platform to discuss timely topics with customers and potential customers. With the political climate and changing culture, we watched more brands taking risks in 2017 to participate in these conversations. To bring people together, lighten the climate with humor, or go as far as leading to positive change. Capitalizing on social micro-moments and using targeted audience data can help create authentic conversations around what is happening right now, in the space where your audience lives. By keeping a pulse on news, and targeting your audience through social media demographics, you can create content that moves the needle. Try not to tear up watching Heineken’s “Worlds Apart:”
Influencer Marketing Is Not A Fad
Building solid relationships with influencers will be crucial in 2018. Influencers help maintain credibility for your brand, and leverage the power of human relationships to align with your customer’s values. Influencer marketing has evolved into a partnership with brands, that many nurture as a long-term initiative. If you’re not already doing it, you can start small with a small budget and experiment with influencers who might resonate with your audience, then increase your spend when you find the right match. This trend shows no signs of stopping in 2018, and finding the right influencers for your audience who are not already oversaturated with marketing will become increasingly important.
Branded Content will Provide Value Beyond the Purchase
Fandom Marketing Social Media & Content Specialist, Quinn Nunes, points out that brands should provide value beyond a purchase, and in 2018 we will see that trend continue. Content doesn’t need to be a ground-breaking social experimentation as seen above in Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” video to engage customers. Meaningful content for customers can grow out of what your brand does best. One example of this is Net-a-Porter’s branded high-fashion magazine, “The Edit,” that showcases trends and advice, mirroring content found in your typical fashion magazine. Focus on providing that value customers are looking for with branded content after they click “Confirm Payment” and you will be rewarded.
Social Media will Drive Online Purchases
Fandom’s Chief Technology Officer, Rob Marlbrough, predicts that e-commerce will increase its integration with social media for marketing gains, as seen in Facebook Shopping, LIKEtoKNOW.it and Shopify. LIKEtoKNOW.it and Shopify embed links into a blog or website and provide that connection between content and products right on the content they are seeing, effectively monetizing blogs and social media. As brands build content around influencers, e-commerce solutions such as these will help measure this process. We will also see a shift toward mobile-first e-commerce as mobile shopping increases, and websites will need to optimize for mobile to accommodate this traffic. More and more people have become accustomed to payment on mobile, and even broadcasting their purchases socially as seen with the popularity of Venmo.
“Watch” the Trend in Social Media Videos
This is the official announcement that social media video will take off in 2018 as a bona fide strategy. If it’s not a big expensive video shoot, brands have been hesitant to put it out there. However, shorter, more informal videos have gained significant traction and are easy to create. Fandom’s Traffic Coordinator (and video aficionado), Cameron Mathis, suggests that instead of using static images, think of alternatives. In place of static Instagram photos of a recipe, why not record a half-second video clip of adding each ingredient, then stitch each clip together in a user-friendly app for the complete video (you don’t always have to use professional software).
Here’s an example of a short video the agency created for client Bumble Bee Foods.
Chop, mix, drizzle and eat. For simple and better-for-you food, mix up your own Kale Caprese Salad with Tuna tonight. ⠀ ⠀ #kale #simpleeats #salad #eatbetter #bumblebeetuna #tunasalad #food52 #cleaneating #greeneating #healthy #feedfeed #huffposttaste #foodlover #instafood #forkyeah #onthetable #theartofplating #realfood #kalesalad #caprese #capresesalad⠀
As much as these short videos are making gains in social media, long-form videos are also on the up and up. For example, Facebook is developing their own shows through “Watch,” where Facebook users can engage directly with shows as they watch them. We predict that as Watch rolls out more widely in 2018, marketers will either begin publishing their own content for their targeted audience’s engagement, or they will opt to select particular shows to display targeted, relevant ads.
Brands will Experiment with New Types of Creative
As video mainlines into your daily feeds, the varieties of animated and experiential creative will become even more diverse. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have taken a page from Snapchat’s book and created their own video filters, stories. Now, each platform is working on its own virtual reality features, and Snapchat is bringing Bitmoji into our world. With 360° video capabilities, you can even evoke the feeling of motion-sickness on Facebook. Video has opened Pandora’s box, and it’s the marketer’s job to find the right video tactics for their brand.
Live Video and Video Advertising a Top Social Media Trend
On Facebook, and now Instagram and Twitter, live video is on the rise as more platforms adopt the capability. One of Instagram’s newest features is two split-screen live videos, which can be initiated by a viewer who “asks to join” a livestream in progress. On Facebook, Live videos are prioritized at the top of news feeds through the algorithm, but we predict that businesses will need to start paying to boost live video for people to actually see it in 2018. Additionally, to optimize any other video on Facebook, this article points out that generally, native video uploads are still the best way to share video and earn priority on Facebook. Another video ad capability will be increasing the availability of Facebook’s mid-roll video advertising on certain qualified publishers, who will then profit off of their everyday Facebook videos. With the wide array of video types at marketer’s disposal, there will be no excuse not to create and incorporate video into social media marketing plans in 2018.
Embracing Social Media Marketing Trends in 2018
Fandom Marketing’s SEO & Content Specialist, Kindley Wong, points out that as the ever-changing interests of customers change, especially with the younger demographics like Millennials, marketers have to be quick to adapt. With all of the advances in the digital world, people will no longer need to shop for themselves because big players like Google and Amazon will present customers with what they need before they even know it based purely on patterns in their lifestyle, behavior, and routines. By utilizing all of these social media tactics to pin down customers’ wants and needs, marketers will be able to target audiences better than ever in 2018.