social media trends

Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. Many people define social media as apps on their smartphone or tablet, but the truth is, this communication tool started with computers. This misconception stems from the fact that most social media users access their tools via apps.


1. Brands are leveraging user-generated content

User-generated content is basically like free advertising. It’s one of the best ways to grow your business by doing less work.
Get customers to talk about your company.
Encourage them to use hashtags and post about your brand on social platforms. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by posting user content to your company’s profile.
If people see you are willing to feature user photos, more people will post about you in an effort to be selected.
Look at how Thule employs this strategy on its Instagram page:
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As you can see from the comments section, the user who shared this photo even thanked Thule for posting their content.
Now more followers will be encouraged to do this as well. It will broaden the reach of their products to a wider audience.
When a customer posts about your company on their personal profile, it exposes your brand to all of their followers. Some of these people might not even know your brand exists.
Plus, people trust recommendations from their friends and family.
That’s why leveraging user-generated content is a top lead generation strategy. Social media platforms are the perfect distribution channel for this type of content.

2. Augmented reality

Augmented reality takes something that’s real and alters it using technology.
One of the best examples of augmented reality successfully applied to the consumer market was with the Pokemon Go gaming app.
The app accessed the user’s camera and added fictional elements to the screen.
But now, social media channels are implementing augmented reality on their platforms as well. I’m sure you’re familiar with Snapchat’s face filters.
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Facebook jumped on this bandwagon as well with their camera effects platform.
They are taking augmented reality to a whole new level with these features. They even built an augmented reality studio for developers to design unique animations.
These filters respond to motion and interactions in real-time, even during live streams.
Here’s an example of what this looks like during a Facebook Live broadcast:
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Since Facebook also runs Instagram, it’s safe to say these types of options will be available on that platform as well during 2018.
I’m expecting to see big changes in social media augmented reality in the near future that will be much more impressive than just a dogface filter.

3. Ephemeral content

If you haven’t heard of ephemeral content before, it doesn’t mean you’re not familiar with it.
The definition of ephemeral content is something that is short-lived, lasting for up to 24 hours before  disappearing forever.
Of course, I’m referring to things like Snapchat and Instagram stories. After Snapchat came up with this concept, Instagram quickly recognized its popularity and implemented it on its platform as well.
The reason why short-lived content is so popular is because people feel as though it is more authentic compared to a traditional sponsored advertisement.
Users love it and add such content to their personal profiles on a daily basis. But brands need to take advantage of this as well.
It’s a great alternative to live video streaming, but it has similar effects.
It’s an opportunity for you to post several times throughout a day without spamming your followers’ timelines.
For example, you may not want to post five pictures and videos per day on Instagram. Users who follow you may perceive this to be an annoyance.
In fact, posting too frequently on social media can cause people to unfollow your profile.
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But adding new content to your story isn’t as annoying because it doesn’t take up space on everyone’s timeline the same way a picture or video would.
Plus, these types of stories create the fear of missing out.
If your business starts to regularly share ephemeral content, users will make sure to check back frequently to make sure they aren’t missing out on anything.
I’d recommend using this strategy to run flash sales or other promotions to drive sales. We’re going to see more businesses as well as regular  people  add more short-lived content to their social media profiles.

4. Referral traffic and organic reach are declining

Social platforms are changing their algorithms. This is impacting what users see on their timelines.
As a result, homepages and timelines aren’t flooded with as many posts and ads from brands. Instead, posts from family and friends are being prioritized.
In previous years, these algorithm changes have caused organic reach on Facebook to drop more than 50%.
So you can’t rely on all your social media posts to drive traffic and clicks to your website.
That’s why brands need to come up with alternative social media marketing methods such as paid ads and micro influencers to increase referral traffic.

5. Small businesses are increasing their social presence

Nobody can afford to ignore social media anymore. It’s become a regular part of our everyday lives.
Ten years ago, small business owners may have thought it was unnecessary to build a presence on social media, but now they are all realizing how important it is for staying competitive.
In fact, 52% of small business owners post to social media on a daily basis.
While Facebook is still the most popular option, other social channels are seeing an increase in the number of small business users.
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With so many platforms to manage, business owners are being forced to change the way they operate.
They are hiring social media marketing managers and using time-saving tools to help manage and schedule their posts with automation.
Businesses without active social media profiles will struggle to survive in 2018.

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