Another year has come and gone! We said goodbye to 2017– a year that brought us social media moments like the #MeToo movement, Salt Bae, the indication of a Vine revival (?!), and plenty of headline-making tweets.
As digital communications experts, we made our best predictions, but even we were surprised by how social media trends unfolded this past year. Who would have guessed that Twitter would roll out 280 characters, or that Instagram would abandon its chronological timeline?
What’s in store for 2018? There are plenty of guesses, so we’re weighing in once again. Here’s what we’re expecting to take the spotlight in the coming year:
If 2017 was the rise of influencer marketing, 2018 will be the full-on takeover. Expect to see even more of your favorite social media users – big and small – posting content sponsored by brands and businesses. Now more than ever, brands view influencers through a “quality over quantity” lens. From a PR perspective, a micro-influencer who has the following of a small-but-loyal niche demographic is often more valuable than big name social stars, who will shout a brand’s message into the void of their millions of followers. With this in mind, more and more social users will be viewed as influencers, further saturating the market. P.S.: Keep an eye out for even more explicit labeling on sponsored content. Just posting #ad at the end of a caption doesn’t cut it anymore, and heavier regulation is already on its way.
Instagram Stories > Snapchat Stories
Bursting onto the social media scene earlier this year, Instagram Stories has already captured the hearts – and loyalty – of Instagram users. When it first arrived, the skeptics (including me!) wondered, “Can Instagram really dethrone the reigning ephemeral content champion in Snapchat? Will users actually migrate to Instagram Stories, or will they completely stick to Snapchat?” As we head into 2018, it’s clear: people use it…they love it…and they want more of it. With Instagram’s latest addition — a function that allows users to archive story content on their profiles beyond 24 hours — the Facebook-owned giant is upping the game, offering a feature that further separates and differentiates itself from the competition. Snapchat will need to match this ingenuity (and then some) if it wants users to stick around. Expect Instagram to continue raising the bar — meaning exciting, unexpected features are likely coming in 2018.
Gen Z In; Millennials Out
Sorry millennials – we’ve officially been kicked out at the “cool kids table,” and Generation Z is already taking our place. Born after 1995, Gen Z-ers treat social media differently than their older millennial peers. While millennials grew up alongside technology, Gen Z were born into a world where it already existed. This makes them digital natives who are savvy, entrepreneurial, and aware of themselves as their own “brands.” For digital communication strategies, this means one thing: give the kids what they want! A shift in the type of content we see on social will naturally follow suit as brands begin to speak directly to this powerhouse generation. Where millennials want social to show them the human stories behind their favorite brands, Gen Z-ers want to know where they can go to “get the look” and shop what’s in the images. High quality images are a must now more than ever. And, perhaps most importantly, the Gen Z-ers can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away – so content trends will be real, raw and relatable.
This isn’t a trend, it’s just a fact – Vine 2 is coming back in 2018, and we are EXCITED. If Vine 2 brings content that is anything like this, then this year is sure to be a treat. That is all.
Want to revamp your social strategy in 2018? We can help with that. Shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are Devine + Partners, communications and content experts who specialize in public relations, issues management (crisis communications), content marketing and digital communications.