2017 was an unforgettable year in terms of social media. Facebook smashed the 2 billion monthly active user mark, Twitter increased its character limit from 140 to 280, and Instagram Stories now has nearly 100 million more daily users than Snapchat. It’s safe to say it certainly was a year to remember for Mark Zuckerberg.

2018 is poised to go one step further, with the progression of AR (Augmented Reality), Live streaming becoming more mainstream and the struggle to sustain organic reach, we’ll see plenty of changes to every platform in the next 12 months.

This is what you should focus your efforts on to ensure social media is still a winning strategy for you in 2018:

Video. Video. Video.

7. The first 7 posts on my Facebook timeline were video at the time this was published. They ranged from cooking to sport to travel. It’s no secret that video is continuing to rise and by 2021, every second, a million minutes of video will be viewed throughout the world. *

Social media platforms have changed the way content appears in your timelines and one of those changes is heavily favoured toward showing you more video. Platforms now make it easy for you publish video and brands should anticipate their followers expect them to offer video content in 2018.

Live streaming is key

Live streaming has been around for quite some time now, but we haven’t seen brands use it strategically as part of their overall social media strategy yet. Live streaming should fall within your video content and is one of the most genuine ways to connect with your audience.

It helps create active engagement. It’s up-to-date, informed content and educates your followers. Live streaming can help users engage with your brand in numerous ways at the same time. For example, the majority of people who watch live content will use a search engine to search for that content creator. *

Build a long-term strategy

Social media is not, and never has been, a short-term play. If you think by creating a page on Facebook and sending out a few posts will bring in sales or generate more business, you’re wrong. Successful social media accounts work hard to build long, lasting relationships with followers by providing valuable content that resonates with them.

With wide, organic reach on social media platforms becoming ever more difficult, it is imperative that businesses develop a long-term strategy. For 2018, you should at the very least do these 3 things:

  1. Identify your target market
  2. Choose the social media channels they are active on
  3. Create and publish content based on their needs

Starting out with these 3 actions will allow you to get the basics together for your overall strategy.

Increase messaging efforts

Messaging apps are huge players in the digital game. More people use messaging apps than social networking. Where previously you could only send text, recent updates allow you to send images, videos, documents and even clickable links.

Having the ability to directly message a business through Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp will allow immediate access to you for your followers. With everything going digital, people are less keen to pick up the telephone to make enquiries or bookings and expect businesses to be contactable on another level.

AR is on the rise

For those of you who are unfamiliar with AR, Augmented Reality is an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of the real world are augmented with computer-generated images. Now that sounds super complex but if you’ve used Snapchats filters, you would’ve already come across it, see below.

AR technology is steadily progressing and with the new iPhone X/8, it’s readily available on your smartphone. In 2018, it’s definitely a technology that you should become familiar with as social media platforms will no doubt be incorporating AR further into their channels. It’s quick, easy and very interactive. The best combination to connect with your audience.

Have you seen?

In November I announced a new Facebook For Business course that I will be running from February 2018. The course will look at helping your business use Facebook as a successful platform and ensure your efforts are not being wasted.

For full details on the course, you can visit the page here.

Stats* for the nerds:

  • Online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020 *
  • Over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day *
  • Facebook Live videos are watched 3x times longer than videos that aren’t live *
  • Only 13% of small businesses use social media for communication with customers *

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