Social Media Trends to Put into Practice in 2018


Social media is constantly evolving, and as PR and marketing professionals, it’s exciting to find new and creative ways to promote our clients.

As Sage welcomes the new year, we can’t help but think about the ways in which different social platforms will change and what that means for users. Hootsuite recently hosted a webinar on the social media trends we will likely see in 2018 and how they reflect on global social behaviors.

We put together key takeaways from the webinar to highlight best practices.

The Rise of Peer Influence

It might not come as a surprise that with the popularization of the term “fake news,” consumer trust in government, media, business and Non-governmental organizations (NGO) has dropped dramatically since 2016. Because of this, people are turning to each other for their news.

Hootsuite found that peers are just as trustworthy as academic or technical experts when it comes to deciding what products to trust. Real customer communities are going to begin taking center stage.

For example, when Apple recently joined Instagram, they began to blur the line between product advertising and peer influence by only posting pictures from iPhone users.

How can organizations use this to their advantage? Promoting customer stories is one sure-fire way to help promote your brand. In addition to this, consider going unscripted on Facebook live. According to Edelman, 57% of consumers are more likely to believe a spontaneous speaker.

The Evolution of Social ROI

Proving return on investment (ROI) can be a challenge for organizations. In fact, 56 percent of respondents to the Hootsuite 2018 Social Trends Survey said not being able to prove ROI makes it difficult to be successful with social media.

What are successful organizations doing? They are expanding their definition of ROI to extend beyond a promotional role, like driving website traffic, and starting to understand how social media applies across the customer lifecycle—awareness, engagement, evaluation, loyalty, acquisition, advocacy. Understanding how social media affects the customer at every stage is key to communicating success to executives.

Mobile Fuels the Growth of Social TV

More and more often, consumers are watching videos on their mobile devices, which gives organizations the opportunity to create entertaining content.

Audiences are actually more likely to engage with a few minutes of a video than they are with an article; there was a 6 percent increase of this alone in Q1 2017.

As for what type of videos to leverage, live videos garner the attention of 25 percent more viewers than staged ones. This is really helpful if your social team wants to post something off the cuff.

AI Assistance

Did you know it is projected that 85 percent of all customer service will be powered by artificial intelligence by 2020? And a lot of that will take place over social media.

Brands like TGI Fridays are already using chatbots that assist people over Facebook Messenger and are built to engage with customers in a personal way. This trend is expected to grow in the coming year and it is up to organizations that deploy this technology to stay focused on being human, helpful and relevant.

Using Social Data

Social data is key in helping social media marketers gain new influence and recognition in the enterprise. This is admittedly difficult because of time constraints; however, once marketers are able to pull social data they may be able to take advantage of the over 96 percent unbranded online conversation out there.

So, how do you garner social data? Hootsuite says it’s okay to make data assumptions. We don’t mean to pull numbers out of nowhere, but learning how to navigate incomplete sets of data to pull out as many insights as possible is extremely beneficial.

Key Takeaway

2018 is the year of being genuine on social media. From the rise of peer influence to the growing popularity of live, impromptu video streaming on Facebook, audiences will be looking to brands to be genuine about the messages they are trying to get across.

X-SageJim McIntyre