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10 Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2018 - The Experts' Voice

10 Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2018 - The Experts' Voice

It’s now the fourth year that we’ve asked experts from around the world to share their social media predictions for next year. 

We've got an all-star panel of experts from a variety of backgrounds, including social media specialists Matt Navarra of the Next Web and Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner. PR leaders, Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks and Stephen Waddington, Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum PR and digital marketing gurus Sam Hurley and Adel de Meyer, to name but a few.

Sit down, grab a coffee, and discover the trends that will shape 2018.

What's next for social video? Voice Search

Is organic reach dead? Brand protection on social

The chatbot army Shoppable media

Advocacy marketing The rise of the show

Next step for influencer marketing

Real-time marketing Forget the trends, do more!

Turn trends into action with our free eBook: The Definitive Digital Marketing Guide To Getting Results


1. What's Next for Social Video?

What's this? It's no secret that video has become the go-to content type for social networks and brands, but what changes should we look out for next year?

Who cares? Content Creators, Community Managers, Marketing Leaders

Trend Level Burning Bright

michael stelzner social media trends

Facebook becomes a MAJOR player in video. Facebook will become a major competitor to YouTube. In 2017, Facebook kicked off the Facebook Watch rollout for select creators (their TV-like option within Facebook). In 2018, we'll see that program expand to all people and pages on Facebook.

We'll also likely see Facebook roll out new features for video creators that'll make it far easier to get exposure and be discovered. This could include preferential Facebook News Feed exposure for original native video, generous revenue share deals, and the eventual roll out of a dedicated video app. We also might see Facebook negotiate traditional television deals or even start its own cable television network. If you're a video creator, watch this space closely!

social media trends harry hugo

Video content created by influencers will see a huge shift in distribution, instead of brands utilising influencer channels, they will use influencers as content creators; becoming video production companies in their own right. This sees a shift from influencers with wide reach, to influencers with high-quality content.

2. Voice Search

What's this? Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google. Suddenly we're all talking to our phones and using our voices to search for the best deals, work out where to go for a drink, and find great marketing tips.

Who cares? SEO Experts, Content Creators, eCommerce Specialists

Trend Level Catching Fire

gini dietrich social media trends

Alexa, Siri, and Cortana have created more and more voice search, which will continue to increase (as we get lazier) in 2018 and beyond. This means paid search will have to be part of a content marketer's toolbox next year. The coveted top three spots in search results will be the goal for just about every organization. Paid social, paid search, and paying attention to the search results the personal assistants' return are top of my list!


3. Is Organic Reach Dead?

What's this The days of free exposure on social may be coming to an end. With millions posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and every minute of every day, social networks want you to pay to get your content seen.

Who cares? Digital Marketers, PR Executives, Influencers

Trend Level Burning Bright

Matt Navarra social media trends

In 2018, we're going to see the erosion of organic reach for Facebook Pages continue. However, brands and publishers will finally come to the long-overdue realisation that their best course of action is content optimisation supported by a smart paid social strategy. This shift for Page admins has been a long time coming and painful for some, but recent 'tests' by Facebook have given Page admins the jolt they needed to take action vs. burying their head in the sand.


social media trends ian cleary

There will be significant growth in outbound marketing because of massive declines in organic reach. We will need to reach out and find the audience for our content as opposed to them finding us. Organic reach is declining and it's becoming harder to get on page one of Google. We are investing a lot of time in content that won't be seen by the majority of our audience so we need to do more promotion. Outreach can be done through email, paid advertising, partnerships and more.

digital marketing results


4. Brand Protection on Social

What's this? Fake news, fraud, copyright infringement, all are becoming increasingly prevalent on social media. Both brands and social networks are looking for new ways to fight back.

Who cares? PR Executives, C-suite, Brand Managers

Trend Level Catching Fire

social media trends sarah hall

Scrutiny of the social media platforms is set to increase in 2018 and we’ll see greater pressure on the major players to monitor content for relevance and suitability. Public relations practitioners MUST factor in the potential negative impact on reputation where brand misplacement occurs. Ensuring values form the basis of all marketing activity will be crucial to mitigating major issues and maintaining legitimacy in society.


5. The Chatbot Army

What's this? You may have noticed every shop from your favorite fashion retailer to your pizza delivery of choice engaging you in conversation on Facebook and even taking your order. Chances are, this isn't Dave, the customer service agent but rather Dave 2.0, the all-knowing, AI-powered chatbot.

Who cares? Customer Service Experts, E-commerce Specialists, Marketing Leaders

Trend Level Catching Fire

social media trends sam hurley

Conversational commerce is still relatively primal — yet with the constant advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), 2018 is set to be a year of greater uptake. Chatbots will be launched by many brands, large and small.

It’s becoming easier to build and deploy out-of-the-box Chatbot solutions, primarily across Facebook Messenger. I believe this technology will rapidly develop to be widespread in all other key social platforms, as automated (yet intelligent) chat becomes a staple in business efficiency and engagement.

Remember: Chatbots aren’t just for ecommerce purposes. Next year, more B2B brands will follow the trend to maximize their operational effectiveness. Chatbots are the missing link between scalable social, lead nurturing and sales.


social media trends dave chaffey

It will be interesting to see how many more brands use chatbots to enhance engagement, service and encourage sales via social media. One chatbot we've been taking a look at this year is the Pizza Express chatbot, it's accessed from the Facebook page to give customers choice to a more standard table reservation service on the desktop/mobile site. Take a look, we think it's quite slick and has the advantage that through working on Facebook it can encourage sharing.

Chatbots are an example of a broader trend which Forrester and Gartner call Conversational UI (User Interface) which includes the increasing adoption of the different Home appliances starting with Amazon Echo/Alexa and followed this year by Apple, Google and Microsoft all launching solutions. We'll see how these are used to support more social interactions and perhaps Facebook will launch a competing solution since, we will see.


Read More - Chatbots, AR and Predictive Analytics: The Innovations Revolutionizing Retail


6. Shoppable Media

What's this? The rise of rich media format (video, AR) will enable more immersive shopping experiences across earned, owned and paid. Think calls to action that pop-up when you scroll or tap different items in an image or video.

Who cares? Marketing Leaders, E-commerce Specialists, UX Experts

Trend Level Catching Fire

social media trends adel de meyer

Close the gap between engagement and purchase. Lessen the friction between your content and your products. Turn your website and marketing channels into a great digital experience that captures the consumer right at the moment they were delighted by your content, moving away from the dull and dated eCommerce environment. This will make, or could potentially break brands in 2018.


7. Advocacy Marketing

What's this? It's the new "big thing" in influencer marketing where you turn employees, partners, and clients into a powerful source of brand advocacy

Who cares? Marketing leaders, C-suite, PR Leaders

Trend Level Catching Fire

social media trends stephen waddington

Any executive serious about leading a modern organisation will invest in their social media footprint in 2018. 10 years ago executive profiling meant targeting features in the broadsheet and trade media. Today’s modern executive is more likely to seek support in optimising their social networks and content. The catalyst for this shift has been the growth of LinkedIn, as both a professional network and content publishing platform. My tip would be to use the media that your stakeholders follow, and align your content with their interests.


social media trends joanne sweeney burke

Advocacy marketing is a tactic that will rocket brands into a new digital stratosphere if they can leverage the power of their online community. This form of organic marketing sees the customer stepping into a brand advocate role with product or service reviews and recommendations which drive leads and increase sales. The smartphone has revolutionised consumer behaviour. Mobile will continue to dominate search but conversions on mobile will also increase because of advocacy marketing.


8. The Rise of the Show

What's this? From podcasts, to weekly Facebook Lives brands, agencies, influencers and even your grandma is starting a regular show to engage audiences.

Who cares? Content Creators, Influencers, Brand Managers, PR Officers

Trend Level Catching Fire

social media trends andrew and pete

As people's expectations for high-quality content goes up, more creators will move towards creating 'shows.' We're defining shows here as a season or series of content with an ongoing narrative between episodes. There's a number of benefits to creating shows... increased retention, batched production, sponsorship opportunities, ability to provide more value over longer periods of time... but the main benefit is more effectively being able to create a loyal community.


9. The Next Step for Influencer Marketing

What's this? Influencer marketing is far from a new concept, but its graduation from marketing tactic to marketing essential is a new development for brands and influencer alike.

Who cares? Influencers, Community Managers, Content Creators, PR officers

Trend Level Burning Bright

social media trends lilach

Influencer marketing has grown a lot over the past few years, from a fad to one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. However, one of the things I've noticed a lot with influencer marketing campaigns is that there is a lack of trust in the influencers - or perhaps, too much trust that they know better than the influencer, what works and what doesn't. Take the time to listen to the influencers' suggestions on how to set up your campaign, as they know their fans better than you do - and perhaps can help you get better results if you follow their advice.

neal schaffer social media trends

Influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2018 as it becomes part of the social media marketing infrastructure for consumer-facing brands and is increasingly leveraged by B2B companies. While Paid Social will continue to grow and companies get better at targeting and therefore ROI, Influencer Marketing will be a complementary way to authentically reach out to new networks, while building relationships with those that can help their business.


social media trends harry hugo

2018 will be the first year an influencer agency or platform will be acquired by a larger agency or media company, turning heads across the industry. As people increasingly recognise the maturity and professionalism of influencer marketing agencies (and the market itself), we will see a spurt of growth as agencies seek to reclaim the market space currently being occupied.


Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing


10. Real-time Marketing

What's this? A combination of real-time analytics and marketing automation means brands can connect faster with buyers on social

Who cares? Marketing Leaders, Content Creators, Community Managers

Trend Level Burning Bright

social media trends joanne

A successful news-jacking campaign can produce enormous results in terms of increased website traffic and brand positioning. But social monitoring is required to ensure you have your index finger on the pulse of what’s making news and what’s captivating the interest of the Internet nation. Choose your news-jacking opportunities wisely and always ask yourself, ‘is it right for my brand to step into this conversation and right now?' You don’t want to damage your brand with a misjudged news-jacking that backfires!


11? Forget the Trends and Do More!

What's this? Not sure this needs an explanation...

Who cares? Everyone

Trend Level Surface of the Sun

social media trends Daniel Knowlton

Chatbots, AR, VR, AI, machine learning etc. Yes these are all emerging trends for 2018. As I’m sure you can see from the other cool stuff people are talking about in this post, there are lots of exciting things that have started to emerge in 2017 and will continue to do so in 2018.

However, looking at the bigger picture, I think you should stop spending so much time pondering over what will be the ‘next big thing’.Yes, the future is important, but way too many people are pondering over the future rather than actually ‘doing’.

So, in this small segment, I’ve got to reach you in this post. I hope I influence you to ‘do’ more.

If you’re going to take action after reading this, Tweet me (@dknowlton1).

On that note, I better stop writing about trends and start doing more :)

Let us know what you think of the trends we've selected and keep the discussion going in the comments below.

If you'd like to see how to incorporate these trends into your strategy for 2018, download our free eBook:

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