We are two months into 2018 and the social media landscape has begun to show its teeth. There are various trends that may seem pretty obvious but you’d be surprised how often people express their surprise when they read the list again. Ranging from data visualization, PR outreach, IoT marketing, voice, mobile messaging, marketing automation, content marketing, and mobile payments, the social media and marketing landscape is really picking up steam. Here’s the list in no particular order:
1. Data Visualization
Data has always been such a huge part of social media and marketing, but it seems like there’s an even bigger emphasis this year on the power and utility of data. Expect to see businesses trying to visualize their data to tailor their marketing efforts to their audience. We’re seeing a surge of new analytics companies that will bring about more tools for brands to use. Aside from using Google Analytics, you can test out software like Tableau, Zoho, and DOMO to visualize your data.
2. PR (Influencer Outreach)
PR and influencer outreach has been on the rise for a while now, and it’s not expected to slow down. 2018 will be about finding better influencers that fit your target audience more. Brands have been using influencers to promote their products and services nearly to the point of over-saturation. Tips for 2018? Don’t just aim for big numbers of followers. Look at engagement rates and make sure your influencer directly communicates with the target market you’re after.
3. IoT Marketing
IoT marketing isn’t a new concept but it’s slowly ramping up as smart cities and connectivity takes a swing at being a major trend. Brands should recognize that the more connected your customers are, the better customer interaction you’ll receive, among other benefits. IoT marketing will also heavily impact customer experiences and the gathering and reporting of data analytics.
The emergence of several different voice technologies is spurring on the way different brands approach their audience. From voice activation technology to more social-centric voice apps, people want to vocally interact with brands and other people. Technologies like HearMeOut, a mobile social media platform focused on voice, introduces social media at a moment’s notice when you’re driving and even has a deal with Ford catching the eyes of both brands and influencers looking to cash in on the in-car engagement social voice offers. Features like their “Drive Mode” allows you to listen to posts when you’re in your vehicle. This trend is quickly gaining traction as an effective way to reach your audience.
5. Mobile Messaging
Places like China are dominating the use of mobile messaging as a marketing tool, and it’s going incredibly well for them. Platforms like WeChat makes it possible for users to stay up to date with different brands they like AND to message their friends without switching apps. As Millenials and Gen Z become the dominant population, their heavy use of mobile will make this trend more pronounced.
6. Marketing Automation
A lot of brands already have some form of marketing automation in place, but you’d be surprised to discover just how many people are not taking full advantage of marketing automation, such as email marketing. The main goal is to create marketing automation that fulfills a brand’s personal touch without sounding too fake. This is a huge trend that will pick up speed as more marketers learn to automate certain processes that don’t require a personal touch.
7. Content Marketing
Content marketing is king and has always been king, but we’re at a point where content has become heavily saturated. Instead of churning out run-of-the-mill articles for your audience to “hopefully” see, you need to create thought-provoking or genuinely helpful pieces that can catch your audience’s eye. Quantity is no longer an effective approach. Creating quality pieces of content, whether they’re podcasts, videos, articles, or reports, will garner a much better response than any short-form piece that was spit up in an hour.
8. Mobile Payments
We discussed mobile messaging above, but mobile payments deserves its own spot as a huge trend. Mobile payments makes it easier and more convenient for customers to purchase items and services. Mobile usage has also never been higher, which feeds into this trend very well. Adopting mobile payments into your brand will be a useful tool in creating a better customer experience.
These are 8 trends that we think every brand should be aware of in 2018. Implementing some of these might not fit your brand, but they could be the push you need to improve your brand’s reputation this year.