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Features / 23 Jul 2018

Top 3 Trends for Social Media in 2018

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2018 is a pretty complicated place within the social landscape, so here’s our picks for 2018’s Social Media Trends.

See all the trends below, or jump to a section here.

Chatbots

With messaging becoming the number 1 social media platform in 2018, a large part of messaging apps looks set to be chatbots (which we’ve been covering since late 2017). There are now currently over 100 thousand chatbots across messaging apps, with that expected to grow by 24% over the next four years.

A chatbot is a computer program that communicates with users through text. Essentially – it’s a robot built to reply to your questions through messenger with a specific goal, be it answering FAQ’s, delivering news, or generating leads.

An Opinium Research Survey found that 78% of 18-34 year olds want to use chatbots to interact with brands, however they find the experience of using a chatbot successful only 38% of the time. So how will this change in 2018?

Conversational

Chatbots at the moment have just really started gaining traction, so often only understand basic commands. This year, more development will be added to existing chatbots to make them more conversational, for example moving from understanding:

What’s the weather?

To something more complex such as:

What’s the weather going to be like in Sydney tomorrow afternoon?

Voice

Chatbots are now entering our homes, with the likes of Google Home and Amazon Echo now having large uptake. The good news with this is that consumers are becoming more accepting and knowledgeable of chatbots. Also, Google has opened up part of the tools it uses for its bot functionality with developers, meaning bots will be able to stay up to date with the latest trends.

Webviews

With the release of webview toolkits, apps and websites will be able to integrate with chatbots easier than ever before. In a similar way to how desktop and mobile versions of a website are currently created, in the long-term, there will be messenger-friendly versions of websites using the same style guide as messenger app, to create a seamless user experience.

Mobile

Whilst everyone may have been watching Love Island over winter, 94% of consumers still hold their smartphones whilst watching TV. In short – mobile has a massive, consistent audience. So how can you tap into this market?

Augmented Reality

Facebook has rolled out a suite of tools this year, making it easier to create custom Augmented Reality elements. So forget regular Snapchat filters – it’s going to be an all-out Augmented Reality sticker party. However, consumers currently only use Augmented Reality for its novelty factor, so it will be interesting to see how this can be adapted for commercial gain.

The New TV

Video is now the most popular form of content on social media, and live streaming allows you to connect with your fans right now. Ephemeral content (such as Instagram Stories) also sees one of the best performing engagement rates, whilst over 70% of YouTube is watched on mobile.

So this year, TV-style content will be king. Every single user has now become a broadcaster. And there are three main players vying for their content:

IGTV: Vertical-only, with long-form content that is of high quality.

Facebook LIVE: New features are being rolled out including custom intros, graphic frames, the ability to add GIFs, along with AR/VR functionality.

YouTube: Still the big unknown. What YouTube can bring to the table in 2018 remains to be seen.

Social Listening

With more and more brands embracing social, analysing what our fans and competitors are talking about is more important than ever before.

Community Management

Your customers no longer write in to complain, or ring to ask questions – instead, they leave a comment on your content. Anywhere. It doesn’t matter if the post is from yesterday or five years ago, customers expect a response.

This allows you to see the highs and lows of your brand – however community management is more than just hiding negative comments. Establish a brand voice and stick to it. Customers expect support through the comments section, so do a kick-ass job at delivering this.

Engaging Content

Engaging content is the ultimate goal. See what is working and improve on it. Your engagement shouldn’t come in bursts – it should be a growing trend that builds with every post. Part of this is also looking at what is working for your competitors, and creating content that surpasses it. There are a number of in-built and third-party tools that can help with this.

 

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