It was a very exciting time for Social Media Marketing in 2017. Social networks tried to outdo each other with never-ending new updates and features. On top of that some new players entered the ever more competitive market. What will 2018 bring in the social media department? We take a look at new trends that are emerging this year.

Chatbots still on the rise
Chatbots have been the topic of discussion for quite some time. This trend will definitely continue to grow on social media channels in 2018: almost a third of all customers prefer to reach out to customer support and seek clarification on a certain topic via social networks. These customers want to be able to reach the companies over social media at any time and they expect an immediate response. In order to ensure that the customer does not leave the company Facebook page without receiving any support, the number of businesses that implement chatbots keeps growing.
Until recently, companies with thousands of followers were not able to develop a personalised marketing strategy for each individual customer. Messenger chatbots have provided an unprecedented opportunity to reach the target group on a more personal level. The basic goal of a chatbot integrated into a messenger platform is to communicate with the user in a way that feels more personal in nature and matches the tonality of the brand. Furthermore, chatbots can deliver more relevant and personalised content directly to the user.
Another trend of the new year will be a quick and simple payment transaction over the chatbot messenger. End of last year Facebook already announced a new peer-to-peer payment process via PayPal for its US users. The advantage of this is that the payment process is integrated in the user behaviour within the app. It will also improve and eliminate any barriers in your overall user experience. Facebook users can use PayPal to send money by clicking on the blue ‘plus’ symbol in the messenger app. This feature will be available in both normal conversations and group chats. There will also be a new PayPal Customer Support bot for the messenger that will offer account support to PayPal customers without the need to leave the Facebook app. However, this feature will only be available exclusively in the US. On the other hand, it seems to be only a matter of time until such messenger payment systems are also available in Germany. They can decrease the number of last minute cancellations during mobile shopping when the user is about to check out and make mobile payments more user friendly.

Continuous decline of organic media penetration on Facebook
It’s no secret that since 2014 the number of posts on Facebook that facilitate organic media penetration and interaction has been decreasing, and allegedly Facebook is planning to gradually decrease it even further. The latest analysis on the level of visibility and engagements by BuzzSumo shows that these numbers have been significantly declining since January 2017. According to Facebook, a substantial reason for this development is the increased number of posts that overflow users’ news feeds. Instead of displaying the total pool of the content or a random selection of posts, an algorithm filters and presents the content according to the interests of the user. This means that businesses need to find an individual approach to their target group if they want to stand out from the ocean of available content.

FB Engagements and organic Reach BuzzSumo analysis of 880m Posts 2016-17

How to prevent the decline of organic media penetration:

  • Publish videos on Facebook Live. Facebook users spend thrice as much time watching live broadcasts as they do watching regular video posts. You will need to broadcast for at least several minutes if you want your live video to appear in user’s news feed. Keep in mind that only authentic, high quality content attracts user’s attention.
  • Recently launched features can help to prevent the decline of media penetration and the level of interaction. Follow the latest developments and test the new features such as the new Press and Hold Facebook posts. At the moment, this feature is exclusively available on mobile Apple devices, e.g. iPhone or iPad (with iOS 9.0 or later). This feature gives you an opportunity to create interactive posts which users will have to click and hold in order to see it in full length. As soon as you lift your finger the video jumps back to the beginning.
  • Be sure to post temporary contents as they yield more involvement! Content that disappears immediately or 24 hours at the latest after being viewed is very popular, especially with the Generation Z (aged between 17 and 27). This group will catch marketers’ attention in 2018 due to their age. Short-lived stories on Facebook and Instagram offer several advantages:
    • they are placed at the very top of the news feed and immediately draw your attention
    • the fear of missing out makes users react and interact faster
    • compared to the sponsored posts the stories appear more authentic and are more likely to be viewed by the user
    • by the way, Instagram stories can now be added to existing Facebook, Instagram and Audience network campaigns
  • Quality over quantity: ‘the more, the better’ is not the right approach here. Post less and in a more selective manner. You will exponentially increase your chances of success if your content generates as many interactions as possible. Optimise your content to tailor it to the exact needs of your target audience. Therefore, it is extremely important to evaluate the performance of your social media profile on a regular basis. Our report on the level of engagement rates will give you information on which posts generate most interactions, which have not been very well received by the community and which content generated the highest interest. We will gladly answer any questions you might have!
  • Advertise your most popular posts: targeting opportunities have greatly improved on Facebook in the recent years. With the help of demographic data, interests and online behaviour you can tailor your adverts to the exact needs of your ideal potential buyer. Also, make use of the following features to make your campaign as effective as possible:
    • custom audiences helps you create targeted adverts with your email lists
    • lookalike audiences helps you reach users with profiles similar to those of your customers
    • dynamic ads helps you advertise to website visitors who have already looked at certain services on your website
    • audience insights helps you learn more about your existing target group and tailor your adverts to its needs
    • conversation tracking helps you track the activity of the users after they have seen your adverts

Augmented reality as social media experience
Facebook’s Facebook Spaces and Snapchat’s so-called bitmojis – Snapchat’s comic avatars – are proof that augmented reality has come to the social media platforms. This trend could also become more relevant for Social Media Marketing in 2018. This technology gives companies an interesting opportunity to approach their target group in an interactive way. Also, customers are more likely to buy the product because augmented reality shows exactly how the product would look in real life.
We can’t wait to see which innovations the year 2018 will bring us in the field of social media marketing and how the competitors are going to try and outdo each other with new social media trends.

Link to the german version of the article.

Online Marketing und Social Media Managerin Anja KlosterArticle written by Anja Kloster, Marketing Manager at pressrelations GmbH
Anja Kloster works as a social media and marketing manager and developer of social media monitoring solutions for pressrelations GmbH in Berlin. She writes about social media, online marketing and SEO. Prior to joining pressrelations, she worked as a social media content manager and research & program planning manager for international media groups.

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