At the beginning of every new year, smart marketers set priorities to focus on for the next 12 months. But – like all new year’s resolutions – sometimes these good intentions fall by the wayside before Q2 even begins.

Take control of your social media strategy for 2018. With the new year already well underway, it’s a good time to check in on your marketing tactics and make sure they are keeping up with the changing times. Here are MtoM’s top social media trends to take advantage of in 2018.

1. Livestreaming

Live broadcasts continue to take center stage on social media. People spend three times longer watching live videos than those that have been prerecorded. Facebook Live isn’t quite two years old yet, and it’s already hard to remember a time when it wasn’t around. When done right, live broadcasts bring a spontaneity and energy to your brand’s content that drives engagement. One in every 5 videos on Facebook is live, and users comment more than 10 times more on live videos than on regular videos.

2. User-Generated Content

User-generated content connects with consumers in a genuine way that ads can’t compete with. Young consumers in particular get annoyed by ads disrupting their time online; 66% of millennials report using an ad blocker on at least one device. But that doesn’t mean they reject content from brands outright. They just want it to be in a respectful and relevant medium.

In one study that spanned generations – from millennials to baby boomers – 76% of respondents said they believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands. Another found that 27% of shoppers turn to UGC over traditional ads when making a purchasing decision. It’s a worthwhile investment to partner with content creators making engaging videos, photos, blog posts and other media.

3. AR Lenses

Augmented reality has been on a slow and steady rise for the last few years, combining physical and digital worlds in fun and fascinating ways. We’ve seen it enter the social media scene with features like Snapchat’s 3D World Lenses, which layers three-dimensional graphics on top of real-life photos or videos. TechCrunch predicted last year that AR could become the main driver of a $108 billion VR/AR market by 2021, with AR taking the majority with $83 billion and VR with $25 billion. This year, mobile AR users are predicted to reach 200 million.

4. Influencer Content

The nature of celebrity is changing. A decade or two ago, paying a famous actor or athlete to promote your brand in an ad would have been an effective strategy. Now, social media stars are the celebrities consumers look to for recommendations. For millennials who spend a significant amount of time watching online video, YouTube creators are more influential than traditional celebrities; 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers say they would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite YouTube creator over advice from their favorite traditional celebrity. And 7 in 10 say that YouTube creators change and shape culture.

5. Social Shopping

Younger consumers like to share their love for brands on social media, giving credit where credit is due. One survey found that 54% of millennials use branded hashtags because they want companies and their friends to know if they like a product. This trend toward social media shout-outs is valuable social currency, and brands would be wise to find ways to encourage and reward it.

What are your social media goals for 2018? Learn more about what MtoM offers our social media marketing clients.   

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