At Conklin Media, we see 2018 as an extremely exciting year for marketing and technology!

This year offers a lot of potentials for marketers and brands to shine because looking back at 2017, we saw so many amazing milestones and trends that will make marketing and online opportunities even better in the coming months of this year.

If you take a look at the annual report on the state of social media all over the world, produced by We are Social and Hootsuite, they just released these amazing online growth trends from 2017.

According to the report, last year was indeed a remarkable year for social because so many milestones were achieved. Such as:

  • Internet users have now reached the 4 billion mark (which is half the world’s population).
  • Almost a quarter of a billion (250,000,000) new users came online for the first time in 2017.
  • Almost 1 million people started using social media for the first time (in other words that’s more than 11 new users every second).
  • People are spending more time online, with an average user spending six hours a day.
  • Access to affordable phones has increased (More than half of the handsets today are considered “smart” phones).
  • More than 3 billion people around the world now use social media every month, with nearly everyone accessing social media through their mobile phones. (Social media use continues to grow rapidly. Despite the recent decline in organic reach, Facebook remains the #1 social media platform.)

With all these exciting changes and growth in the digital industry, we can’t help but talk about some of the key trends we’re already seeing and what’s really going to take off and explode this year. You really should be focusing on developing out the following tactics for your business.

Evolving Format

There’s a huge variety of social media platforms available, and creating a page on each platform and merely putting up content for your business just won’t cut it. You have to dig in a little deeper and by offering a more interactive and immersive experience for customers is the way to go to skyrocket your brand and business. Find out what your customers are interested in and ask them questions. Figuring out exactly who is buying your products and services is key to increasing your sales and revenue.

You can use social media to figure out these things and in 2018, these things will help you to stay on top of your social media game:

  • Live video – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Periscope enable you to create live videos
  • Videos
  • Stories – Instagram and Snapchat stories remain very popular (Facebook released a stories option but we haven’t seen it take off yet)
  • Podcasts

Image courtesy of Venture Beat

First, short-lived content like stories on Instagram and Snapchat are real-time and organic so there’s more of a chance for your customers to interact with you. In general, these formats seem less curated and less like ads. Also, by using video and audio methods, it seems more authentic and the best thing is they can be created using your phone. It’s much easier, even on the go.

And based on the stats that people are spending an average of 6 hours per day on their phones, it gives you a better chance to reach your target audience because you already know how they’re accessing content online.

A lot of businesses don’t realize that people like videos more than anything, and they tend to act and follow a Call to Action after watching a video. In fact, this study suggests that 80 percent of consumers prefer videos over reading a blog, (so thanks for reading ours right now). Also, 67 percent of consumers are more likely to get a concert or conference ticket after watching a video or live stream of that event.

Using video and audio is a really powerful tool and if you can crack the code, it could be the difference that will skyrocket your business and help you to reach your goals.

Mobile first

We know that there are now more people online every day, and most of them are accessing the internet through their mobile phone. In 2018, the number of smartphone users worldwide is projected to reach 2.53 billion.

Most of the things we do every day will now be done on mobile (if they aren’t already). From communicating with family members, friends, and co-workers, to shopping, getting transportation (thank you UBER), and even booking flights and hotels, a lot of our day to day tasks can be done at the tip of your finger.

Think about it… in 2017, even banks and credit card companies are transforming their businesses to offer more online features because that’s where people are… ONLINE.

Most importantly, because most people searching the web are on their phones, websites have to be mobile-friendly. Even Google has released new algorithm updates to favor sites optimized for mobile usage.

Content should also be mobile-ready and design should be mobile first.

In the realm of providing the best user experience, these things should now take precedence more than anything.

Content marketing

Content remains king. But because of the saturated and competitive nature of today’s digital landscape, pushing out content just isn’t enough.

Short attention spans and overcrowded newsfeeds make content creation and distribution a little trickier. But it’s key for any organization to treat content and their website as its hardest working employee.

Brands seem to understand this. According to studies such as this and this, content marketing is the top marketing activity that organizations and marketing executives consider will bring the most impact to their business. In 2018, there will be more focus on the customer journey and consumer behavior, and Google refers to this as micro-moments. Micro-moments are “intent-rich moments when a person turns to a device to act on a need – to know, go, do or buy.”

Essentially, brands that are present and cater to these micro-moments will have higher chances of achieving their marketing goals.

With all of this being said, content marketing is not going away anytime soon. If anything, organizations definitely need to up the ante and focus on their content marketing game. They need to integrate themselves into the user experience and customer journey so people relate to them more. They need to personalize their content and communicate as if they’re having a one-on-one with their customers.

Sci-fi-like technologies going mainstream

Remember watching those sci-fi shows in the 80s and getting so amazed at those high-tech tools and gadgets? Yep, they’re upon us now. And in 2018, more and more technologies will become available to us.

Of all the trends we’ve covered so far, this is one that is relatively newer. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has now been getting strong traction and AI tools help not just with analyzing consumer behavior but also automating interactions and customer service.

Perhaps a more commonly used tool is the chatbot, which allows real-time customer service. Many brands started to use this last year on their Facebook pages through messages. Through chatbots, users can easily pick any question, which can be readily answered with just a click. As two-way communication with consumers and shared micro-moments become the forefront of marketing, tools such as the chatbot couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. And in 2018, we’ll see more platforms adopting this concept.

Another technology is the Internet of Things (IoT). Content will no longer be solely provided by computers and mobile. In 2018, Alexa and Google Home will now be sharing more information with consumers too. For people who don’t want to be tied to their screen, it’s even easier because IoT can provide information easily. With systems like Alexa and Google Home you just ask for it (literally).

A great example of businesses adapting to the changes of our times is this life-saving program by the American Heart Association. Through Alexa, it can walk you through the step-by-step of doing CPR and show the warning signs of heart attack and stroke.

Influencers

They’re here to stay.

With declining organic reach and overcrowded newsfeeds, social has become a more challenging business. This is one of the reasons why most marketers have been engaging influencers. Suddenly, tapping into someone else’s online following and content doesn’t sound so bad after all.

What’s unique about 2018, however, will be the more frequent use of micro-influencers, or those with 1,000 to 100K followers. More and more brands have been reaching out to these micro influencers as they lend more credibility than celebrities. The latter would usually have more sponsored posts and may lead people to believe that the products they use – paid for or not – are promotions. With micro influencers, content tends to appear more authentic and easily relatable. After all, they tend to be your average joe who happens to be popular on socials and like the same products that most people use.


Are you as excited as we are for the rest of 2018? We’d love to go on this amazing Marketing journey with you. If you want to dive deeper on any of the trends covered in this article, we’d be happy to have a chat. Just drop us a line!