This morning I caught up with social media consultant Jen Evison from Jennifer Evison Consulting (and trainer for Scout Digital Training’s social media courses) to discuss social media trends for businesses in 2018.
You can watch the full video below, and trend highlights from our discussion are featured further below.
We chatted A LOT, went off on a number of tangents, and provided a range of examples, however here are the top highlights.
Social media trends for businesses in 2018 include:
Knowing who your audience is, and striving to be engaging to and with them
As per Mark Zuckerberg’s recent post, Facebook is making some more changes to their algorithm, to give a focus on updates from friends in the news feed, over business/brand Pages.
Their emphasis will be on engaging, valuable updates that encourage genuine conversation and engagement, not click/like baiting updates as have worked previously.
What does this mean for businesses and organisations?
You need to really know who your audience is, and what they want to see in their News Feed.
What can you do to create those ‘thumb-stopping moments’ that provide value, inspiration or entertainment.
It’s all about getting back to being social, and having great online conversations.
Understanding and making full use of Facebook and Instagram’s Ad Manager options
Part of the above mentioned Facebook update and less organic reach for Pages, means a greater emphasis on making use of Facebook’s advertising options to ensure your messages reach their audience.
Don’t just click “boost”, but get to know the various ad options available within Ads Manager (carousel, slideshow, canvas, video ads etc).
Jen also recommends not just running one campaign, but considering all of your business goals and what various advertising campaigns can be used to address them, e.g.
- Page Likes
- Event promotion
- Promoting organic posts
- Using lead generation for email subscriptions
etc, and running them simultaneously.
This does mean having a dedicated social media advertising budget, and understanding the options and ad optimisation to make best use of it.
Thinking mobile first!
Mobile internet use is growing exponentially! And HootSuite/We Are Social’s recent Digital in 2018 report confirms this, offering the following statistics:
- Two thirds of the world’s population now has a mobile phone, and most are smartphones
- Smartphones are the overall preferred device globally for going online (52% of global internet browsing is from a smart phone)
- Only 5% of Facebook users DON’T use a mobile to access Facebook (that means 95% of Facebook users are using smartphones to view Facebook, and many are using smartphones exclusively)
So with everything you create and publish on your social media channels, while not only knowing who your target audience are, imagine that they are viewing it on a mobile.
With that in mind, how should it look? Image, text, especially the first line of text that previews.
What is the call to action? Can it occur easily on a mobile device?
What is the size of the video (if relevant) and how long will it take to load/view on a mobile?
The Digital in 2018 report also states:
“Delays of just a few seconds while buffering video content (on mobile) can trigger the same increase in anxiety levels as watching a horror movie on your own, or trying to solve a complex maths problem.”
Video, video and more video
Speaking of video, consumption of video content continues to rise, and with the quality of our mobile devices, it is now even more accessible to capture, create and share engaging video content.
Social media video content doesn’t HAVE to be professional, or high budget. Providing the content itself is useful, interesting and relevant, and the quality of the video is good (lighting, focus, sound), jump in, record and share it.
Pre-recorded video uploaded natively to Facebook, or making use of Facebook Live is a great way to show behind-the-scenes updates for businesses and organisations.
Just because you take something that you do regularly for granted, doesn’t mean that your audience won’t find it interesting (we provide a number of examples in the full video).
Undertaking real social listening (and engagement) not just social monitoring
Jen recommends businesses and brands move beyond just monitoring social media for mentions of them (usually looking out for the bad ones) to REALLY listening and then engaging with the conversations that are going on around your topic, and not just jumping in trying to sell.
For example, if you are involved in an event, follow the event hashtag and set up relevant keyword searches to discover people who are planning to attend the event, and be social! Reply to them to help out with planning their time at the event, so that they have a great time (and remember you).
Testing out new features to see if and how they fit into your overall social media strategy
We have seen so many feature updates across the major platforms over the last year. From stories on Instagram, to messenger bots on Facebook Pages, as well as Facebook Live like we used for this broadcast.
Social media platforms want people to use their new features, and often your target audience is making use of them as well.
While they may not end up fitting as part of your overall social media strategy, take some time to test out new features yourself, have someone trusted explain them to you, or get advice or training from an expert.
Using something like Facebook Live for the first time can be daunting, but as Jen suggested, you can test Facebook Live on your own personal profile, and set the audience to “only you”. This way you can become familiar with the options, settings, style, speaking to camera etc, without anyone else even knowing!
Then when you are more comfortable, you can go live on your Page.
If something goes wrong (and first hand experiences Jen offered was a fire alarm going off and someone’s phone ringing), try to work with it. People know that it’s live, and love the realness and rawness of it.
And worst case, if you REALLY don’t like it or it goes wrong – you can delete it.
These are the main highlights from our discussion, but there was much more, so it is well worth watching.
If you have any social media trend tips or comments, please let us know in the comments!