It’s no secret that 2017 brought us many social media gems like the increasing of Twitter characters (yay 280!), Instagram stories, and Salt Bae, but we are excited to talk about what’s coming (and staying) in 2018. It’s important for your business to understand what’s going on in social media even if you aren’t necessarily going to implement every trend into your social strategy. Here is a list of trends that worth watching in 2018:
The Rise of Augmented Reality
I know what you’re probably thinking. We’ve been hearing about Virtual Reality and how innovative it is for a while now, but we haven’t seen a ton of practical/affordable options. Most of our experiences with AR was limited to our addiction to Pokemon Go in 2017, but in 2018 we think Apple’s ARKit is going to take augmented reality to the next level for both entertainment and ecommerce. Imagine being able to watch a sporting event like the 2018 World Cup and feel like you’re actually sitting in the stands. Apple’s ARkit is unique in that there are no bulky headsets required. If you download iOS 11 when it’s released, you’ll have access to any augmented reality apps in the App store. One of the apps we are most excited about is Ikea Place, where you can virtually place furniture in your actual living space to test out how it looks before purchasing it. That’s the type of future Apple, Google, and Facebook are all envisioning. And we’re looking at 2018 to be the year it finally takes off.
The Continued Popularity of Live Streaming and Instagram Stories
By 2021, live streaming is projected to be more than a $70 billion industry, and 2018 is a year where that increase is going to be happening all around us. Instagram Stories all but wiped out Snapchat in 2017, and with the average millennial and Gen Z-er being the ideal target audience, brands are fighting to be innovative while still preserving authenticity. And what better way to show your authenticity than by live-streaming? Instagram stories amassed over 300 million active users within its first year, passing Snapchat which is being used 33% less than in 2016. One of the most important statistics we found was that 70% of Instagram Stories are watched with the sound on. It’s a no-brainer that if you press “Live,” you’ll get an audience who will be actively engaged with what you’re saying. And that’s really all a brand can ask for in a time where everyone has about 30 apps open at one time. Want to get your customers to pay attention in 2018? Go Live.
Targeting Generation Z
While millennials still have brands’ attention, in 2018 we are going to see a shift to Generation Z. Who are they? They’re 22, just out of college, and just starting to make their adulting debut into society. They were born in 1995 or later (I know, whaaat?!), and they’re estimated to make up the largest percentage of the United States population. And they are looking to stand out. Nearly 92% of them have a digital footprint and they’re looking for brands that make them feel unique. What does that mean for brands? That means that your social presence (and original content) is more important than ever. They grew up with technology and are more likely to discover a new brand via social media than any other generation. In the marketplace, we predict a shift from millennial pink to whatever Generation Z gravitates to. What will that be? That’s up to you to get your name out there, and maybe you’ll be the new Salt Bae.
The Future of Twitter
It was BIG news when Twitter increased its character count to 280 this year, but, honestly, we saw it as an act of desperation to stay relevant. The future of Twitter is uncertain. We continue to see large brands who already have a large following do well (aka: @Wendys and @MoonPie), but is it the future of social media? We don’t think so. If you’ve got a large following already, by all means, rock it and keep going. If you’re just starting out, you need to be willing to develop a concise, unique voice in order for Twitter to work for you brand. But if you’re just sending tweets into the void every day with no real goals in mind, it might be time to hop on another platform like Instagram. Maybe it’s a certain account that has almost started war with North Korea that has us turning away, but if Twitter doesn’t incorporate something interesting soon, we aren’t sure it’ll be a player in the social media world much longer.