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Top Social Media Trends for 2018

Don’t waste time on social media trends that won't stick around. Here are 5 shiny objects that must be on your social media radar in 2018

Adebisi Adewusi
February 13 2018

From squiggly eyebrows to President Trump making Twitter relevant again, 2017 was a hell of a year on social media. And for marketers? Facebook’s value optimization ad tool gave marketers more efficiency. Ephemeral content was more than a buzzword. But nothing lasts forever on social media; a new year ushers in new trends. Based on what we saw in 2017, we’ve put together four social media trends you should keep your eye on in 2018.

Whatsapp For Business

With over 1 billion daily active users, WhatsApp is dominating the mobile messaging space. According to app store intelligence company Apptopia, WhatsApp was the most installed app in 2017 with more than 600 million new installs than the nearest competitor. Now that the Facebook owned company has become a staple in our lives, monetization feels like the next logical step. Although WhatsApp promised not to show ads after its $19 billion acquisition by Facebook in 2014, recent activities by the company seem to indicate otherwise. With Click-to-WhatsApp ad unit that’s designed to make users chat businesses and the recent launch of Whatsapp Business, it seems Whatsapp will be the newest marketing and advertising channel to watch this year.

Here’s how we think things might play out on WhatsApp in 2018: The platform could be monetized through in-app advertising. Ads can also be integrated into WhatsApp Statuses and advertisers could get the chance to place ads in between your status. There may also be direct messaging that’ll allow geo-targeted InMail options for brands, and in-app purchases such as stickers. Don’t be late to the party. Start thinking of how to market your brand via WhatsApp. And make sure your marketing campaigns aren’t intrusive. No one has time for spam these days.

Popularity Of Ephemeral Content

Since Snapchat came into the social media scene in 2011, disappearing content has continued to gain traction with consumers. Last year, Instagram Stories recorded about 300 million active daily users overshadowing Snapchat’s 178 million daily user base. Popular for its sense of urgency and anonymity features, ephemeral content is considered more authentic than traditional content, and appears less spammy (according to AdWeek). That’s why this year, consumers (especially Gen Zers) are going to expect and interact with content that’s often refreshed. So if you plan on getting a share of Gen Z’s $44 million spending money, you must have an ephemeral content strategy that will drive engagement on a daily basis, like National Geographic’s Instagram Stories.

Additionally, expect Instagram to remain the social platform brands will use to display ephemeral content. This is most likely due to Instagram Stories’s 500 million daily active users, swipe through rate that’s between 15% and 25%  and Instagram’s analytic features. You’re also likely to see Snapchat focus on becoming profitable in 2018, and they’ll likely release advertising tools and new ad formats this year. Ephemeral content isn’t a fad. In 2018, more brands are going to rely on ephemeral content to engage their audience. So, if you’re looking to be more authentic and make more money in 2018, don’t sleep on this space.

Blockchain’s Social Media Debut

Many consumers don’t trust social media, and it’s totally unsurprising considering the spread of fake news and data scraping. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer report, trust for media, which includes social media fell between 10-20 points. As consumers become conscious of their online presence, demand control of their data and become more suspicious of media, blockchain may have the potential to make social media more private, secure and credible again. How? Through a blockchain social media platform. When infused with social media, blockchain technology provides a platform where users can have more control over their information, while receiving monetary compensation for the content they create. Think the mix of blockchain and social media is too futuristic? Then it may surprise you to know that Steemit, a blockchain powered social media platform already rewards users with digital currencies. How much have you earned from Facebook?

As social media platforms continue to face attacks for privacy violations, censorship and rake in billions in ad money, we could usher in the arrival of blockchain based social media platforms. Not leaving things to chance, Facebook is already researching blockchain. In his 2018 new year speech, Zuckerberg stated that he plans to study encryption and “see how best to [blockchain] in our services.” Blockchain social media will attract consumers because they’ll be able to earn money off their work.

Social Media Will Catch Digital Currency Fever

If there’s one thing that got tongues wagging online in 2017, it was digital currency. As digital currency continues to grow in public consciousness, it appears the stage is set for the integration of digital currency and social media.

Facebook’s recent ban on cryptocurrency adverts has fueled rumours that the social media giant may take a dive into the world of digital coins. This kind of makes sense if you think Zuckerberg was referring to digital currencies when he mentioned researching blockchain. Add that to the fact that David Marcus, the head of Messenger at Facebook, recently joined Coinbase’s board, and the rumors feel less and less like…rumors. And for Facebook, having the own digital currency isn’t a bad idea. A digital currency could help them eventually catch up with WeChat and Line, boost the network’s advertising opportunities and increase Facebook’s competitive edge for marketers and businesses.

While it’s too early to say how a Facebook token would work within the bigger social network, the integration of digital currency with Facebook Messenger bots looks like a logical first step.

Encrypted messaging startup Telegram has also announced plans to launch its own blockchain platform and native cryptocurrency, powering payments on its chat app and beyond. As Telegram is widely used in the global cryptocurrency community, it’s a natural fit for its own coin and Blockchain. This year, you’ll see more social media platforms embrace digital currencies as a new way to compete with digital titans like Facebook.

2018 is here…

Social media is never static. While there are numerous other trends that will impact social media, these four key trends will play a big part in the wider social landscape in 2018. As usual, it will take experimenting, and constant learning to get things right on social media, so don’t feel defeated. Like all new frontiers, there are equal measures of risk and reward for early adopters. So don’t get shiny object syndrome. If you find a trend you feel is a good fit for your brand, evaluate things carefully before you jump in. Cheers to the future!

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Adebisi Adewusi

Adebisi Adewusi is a freelance B2B writer and a Huffington Post Contributor. When she’s not creating compelling content for businesses, you’ll find her capturing moments with her Nikon d600.

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