Did you catch Hootsuite’s recent webinar, Social Media Trends to Put Into Practice in 2018? We gained some interesting insights that could have a big impact on social media marketing strategies for the upcoming year, compounded by evidence that user preferences and behaviors are evolving.
According to Hootsuite, the key challenges facing organizations next year are declining organic reach, keeping up with algorithmic shifts and proving the ROI of existing strategies. (Every digital marketer, upon hearing this.)
So what do brands need to know before we enter 2018?
1. Users are engaging differently
Engagement is down across both Facebook and Twitter in a new trend of passive consumption, where users scroll through their feeds but won’t like, reply or share. Instead, engagement is now taking place on specialized platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube.
Takeaway: Reevaluate how you measure success on these platforms. This is frustrating for marketers using Facebook, because it felt like engagement was the last metric to strive for since organic reach has tanked. But by prioritizing engagement on platforms where users are happier to interact, you can at least set more attainable performance goals.
2. Treat social as a source of customer insights
With all the commenting, liking and sharing taking place, “social listening” will only grow in importance next year. But instead of viewing social data within its own silo, marketers need to look at the bigger picture. This could mean extrapolating trends from the limited data they have, or combining social numbers with traditional market research tactics like surveys.
Takeaway: Take your customers’ thoughts, opinions and feedback to heart. Otherwise you could be missing crucial opportunities to connect with them, or worse yet, your marketing efforts could be totally off mark.
3. Peers are more credible than experts
Customers KNOW when you’re advertising to them – even with your super-subtle micro-influencers and ultra-personalized email marketing. They won’t trust the fake news, but they trust their friends. And they’re more likely to trust your brand if their friend says they do, too.
Takeaway: Highlight your social proof. Focus on sharing those glowing reviews, creating video testimonials and collecting user-generated content. Because those opinions mean more to your audience than anything you could say.
4. Grandma reads social reviews, too
Hootsuite shared that 20% of 55-64 year-olds use social media for product research, and that percentage only increases for younger age groups. This shouldn’t be totally shocking, since parents have been invading Facebook to the point that today’s middle schoolers don’t want to join such an uncool space. (Maybe we should let the Boomers have it?)
Takeaway: Social media is absolutely a place to share content aimed at users in a decision making phase. After years of overanalyzing which age demographics use Facebook the most, we can now say that anyone old enough to have purchasing power is probably accessible through Facebook. And better yet, they’re seeking content to help them decide what to buy.
If you’re interested in chatting with us about getting your social media marketing strategy in shape for 2018, give us a call at 804-577-8679 or fill out the form below to contact us!