The Biggest Social Media Marketing Trends for 2018

Social media marketing needs to be a big part of your strategy in 2018, but how exactly do you tap into the latest trends?
2018trends
Connect with your audience in the places where they are already consuming content. (Photo: My Life Graphic/Shutterstock)

Social media marketing is a key part of any small business’ sales strategy. Unlike most other forms of marketing, it is affordable and allows you to easily and effectively connect with your audience. When done right, it can really pay off.

Social media marketing is critical because it targets your audience where they are already hanging out, consuming content and looking for product recommendations.

According to the Pew Research Center, over two-thirds (68 percent) of U.S. adults are on Facebook. What’s more, 76 percent access “The Social Network” on a daily basis, with daily use for Instagram and Twitter at 51 percent and 42 percent, respectively. So if you want to stay current with your marketing strategy and dominate social media in 2018, consider the following advice from expert social marketers.

Get a chatbot

Gary Nealon

“[A chatbot] allows a small business to engage with customers on Facebook, without having a dedicated employee assigned to it at all times.” -Gary Nealon (Photo: Gary Nealon)

Chatbots, artificially intelligent messaging systems customers can chat with and order products through, will continue taking over the social landscape in 2018, said Gary Nealon, president of Nealon Solutions.

“[A chatbot] allows a small business to engage with customers on Facebook, without having a dedicated employee assigned to it at all times. If done properly, you can acquire a lead much more affordably, while also getting these potential customers on multiple platforms,” he said.

To get started with chatbots for your small business, you can use services like ChatterOn and Botsify.

Try out remarketing

One way to target customers after they have visited your website is to invest in remarketing campaigns on social media platforms. For example, when someone visits your website or views a product on your online store, a “cookie” is saved, enabling you to target your ads for that product as they continue surfing the web or at a later date.

David Waring, co-founder of Fit Small Business, said remarketing is key for social media strategies in 2018 because it “has been showing great returns for large businesses over the past couple of years, and smaller businesses are starting to catch on.”

Related: Why Social Media May Not Pay Unless You Do

Create mobile-ready videos

Elizabeth Giorgi

Elizabeth Giorgi, founder and CEO of Mighteor, suggests only posting video content that is optimized for mobile viewing to your social media sites. (Photo: Elizabeth Giorgi)

Video is also expected to continue as a major player in the social media marketing landscape this coming year.

Any videos your brand puts out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat should be optimized for mobile viewing, said Elizabeth Giorgi, founder and CEO of video storytelling firm Mighteor. She advised creating square or vertical videos so people don’t have to flip their phones to see the full picture, and to make sure your videos don’t take viewers out of their social media feeds.

“Not only does this make it easier for folks to watch it on the go, but it incentivizes the platforms to put your content on high priority,” she explained.

Related: 3 Ways to Use YouTube Videos to Bring in More Business

Launch products on social media

Another growing trend you’ll likely see in 2018 is leveraging social media for generating pre-launch buzz for upcoming products.

According to Paige Leidig, CMO of social analytics platform NetBase, introducing products on social media first is going to become the norm in 2018. He cited a recent news story, in which Arby’s leveraged social media to announce the coming arrival of its new venison sandwich. Subsequently, the sandwich sold out in Minnesota within 15 minutes, and within 90 minutes in Atlanta.

Leidig said launching on social media will deliver “immediate feedback from advocates and also enable exponential awareness among followers and other like-minded consumers.”

Related: 3 Affordable Ways to Market Test a New Product or Service

Target your local neighborhood

While it may be a challenge for small businesses to compete with huge brands on a national scale, they do have one advantage: focusing on hyper-local content.

“As a small business owner, it is very important to generate hyper-local content that will resonate with your audience.” -Yaneiza Echezarraga

For your social media ads in 2018, focus on target people living in the immediate vicinity of your business, suggested Yaneiza Echezarraga, PR manager at Quantica Communication.

“As a small business owner, it is very important to generate hyper-local content that will resonate with your audience,” she said. “There is a lot of generic content on social media, but one of the key things that social networks offer is closeness, proximity and connection to those — and to that which is happening — around you.”

Related: Boost Your Business through Local Search Optimization

Now that you have a few ideas, kick off the new year on the right foot by leveraging some of these social media marketing trends in your small business.

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