6 rising social media trends that PR pros should watch

Everyone is strategizing on the best way forward for the new year and that means identifying how the media landscape has changed. Here are some big ones to monitor in 2018.

With a new year comes new changes, new goals and new trends; as the great Ernest Hemingway wrote, “It occurs first very slowly, then all at once.”

Social media trends are also on the move. Sparxoo, a social media management company, has put together a list of emerging patterns that will have a big impact on PR pros in 2018.

Take a look at six social media trends on the rise:

1. People will continue to use Instagram Stories more than Snapchat.

Instagram Stories was introduced in August 2016, and in just three months had over 100 million users. Fast forward another six months and that number rose to more than 200 million users. (That’s huge growth for being less than a year old.)

As Instagram continues to duplicate Snapchat users’ favorite features, more people will make the switch to Instagram Stories. It’s important to keep an eye on the increased use of ephemeral content, especially because it heightens authenticity and creates scarcity (when the content is gone, it’s gone).

2. The verdict is still out on Twitter.

Twitter remained stagnant in the new user department in 2017, and their stock also fell 75 percent from its all-time high. In response, leadership made some changes: They doubled the allowed character limit per tweet to 280 in November of 2017, and they introduced the Transparency Center which allows users to see all ads running on Twitter, how long they’ve been running, and who the ads are targeting.

Twitter is hopeful that these changes will bring in new users in 2018—otherwise, Twitter could follow in MySpace’s footsteps.

3. Businesses will use messaging apps to better connect with their customers.

This is where Twitter is crushing the game, as it allows businesses to respond to their customers’ queries with quick, short and sweet answers. According to Facebook, 56 percent of people “would rather message than call customer service.”

It’s a huge market for companies to tap into, with 2.5 billion people using messaging apps globally. Within these apps, businesses can place additional ads, target potential buyers, and provide a more personal interaction.

4. Expect more advertisements on social media sites.

Social media advertising is already growing at 20 percent per year—and it’s not going to stop any time soon. In the new year, those ads will be more mobile friendly and have more of a focus on Gen Z (individuals born between 1995-2012).

Unfortunately for advertisers, an increase of social media advertising will bring an increase in its pricing. Facebook alone increased its pricing by 74 percent year over year in 2017. The next 12 months will likely follow suit.

5. Video will dominate marketing.

According to WordStream, “Social video generates 1200 percent more shares than text and images combined.” Viewers also retain 95 percent of a message via video versus 10 percent via text.

If video content isn’t a part of your social media strategy, you need to add it in. If you don’t feel the urgency yet, just know that, by 2019, video will account for 80 percent of all consumer traffic.

6. Artificial intelligence is coming—including chatbots.

These are the little chat boxes that are beginning to populate websites across a spectrum of industries. While similar to the messaging apps in No. 3, humans aren’t behind the screen.

While it may be annoying to some, it’s actually a convenient and effective way to get in touch with a company. Plan to see them more often as technology improves, demand gets higher and costs get lower.

They’ll appear on Facebook Messenger, too, so all you’ll have to do is send a message to a company’s chatbot and get an immediate response. There’s even a good chance that these Chatbots will eliminate 1-800 numbers. Plus, as users crave immediacy and personalization, chatbots will become a handy resource.

While some of these trends are in-your-face right now, 2018 is poised to be another year of growth, so stay up to date and follow them as they occur. What are the social media trends you are following, PR Daily readers?

Hannah Farrow is a B2B Technical Writer at Sparxoo.

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