Social media platforms will continue their rapid disruption as a communications vehicle in the digital world – and a number of new tech advancements will continue to leverage these tools for audiences around the world.
As the waves of social media surge, here are the top 10 future social media trends according to Entrepreneur.
1. Rise of augmented reality
At the first-ever event hosted in the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple announced the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. Both devices incorporate a new chip that allows the phones to provide users with extraordinary augmented reality experiences. While augmented reality will have its initial impact on mobile gaming, it is likely that social media platforms will find ways to incorporate the new technology as well.
For example, it’s conceivable that Snapchat or Instagram will soon support filters that allow users to take a selfie with a friend or celebrity projected via augmented reality. Similarly, brands could soon project their products into the homes of social media users through special filters.
2. Increasing popularity of Instagram Stories
More than 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, which is 50 million-plus more than those who use Snapchat – and Instagram stories is just one year old! At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018. This means that brands interested in connecting with Instagram users must take the time to master Instagram Stories.
3. Continued investment in influencer marketing
More than 90 percent of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe it is successful. Companies like North Face, Hubspot and Rolex use social media-based influencer marketing strategies to connect with new audiences and improve engagement with existing audiences.
This year we saw that brands that opted for traditional advertising strategies struggled to connect to social media users. Next year, it is likely that more brands will embrace influencer marketing as a way to connect with audiences who tend to ignore traditional strategies.
4. Focus on Generation Z
A recent study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that Generation Z was more valuable to most organizations than millennials. Today, the oldest Gen Zers are 22 years old. They are just beginning to enter the labor force, and will have increased buying power for some time.
Brands will begin to recognize this, and will shift their social media strategies accordingly. Expect great investment in platforms loved by Gen Zers like Snapchat and Instagram.
5. Increasing brand participation in messaging platforms
More than 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally, and yet brands are still primarily focused on connecting with consumers on pure social networks. In 2018, expect brands to invest more time and money in connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. Artificial intelligence, voice assistants and chatbots will enable brands to offer personalized shopping experiences on messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik.
6. Expansion of live streaming
What was once a novel gimmick has become a mainstream part of social media. Today, brands big and small have started using live streaming to capture the attention of followers.
GORUCK, a backpack manufacturer and the organizer of extreme endurance events, is one example of a medium-sized brand that has grown its reach by live streaming compelling content on Facebook. Thousands of followers tuned in to watch 48-hour coverage of a recent endurance race.
In 2018, more brands will begin to realize the power of live streaming, and will incorporate it into their monthly content plans.
7. Rethinking Twitter
Twitter has failed to grow followers significantly in 2017. In fact, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram all have more social media followers. This year, Twitter also lost access to streaming NFL games (Amazon won the rights). In 2018, it is likely that Twitter leadership will aim to rethink how the platform operates.
Possible changes to Twitter include selling the company to private investors, changing the platform to include some subscription element and/or revamping Twitter advertising options, which have fallen behind other platforms.
8. Digital hangouts go mainstream
Houseparty is a video hangout platform used by over one million people each day. It is primarily used by Gen Zers as a way to hang out with friends digitally. The platform is so successful that Facebook is reportedly investigating ways to create a similar functionality within their platform.
9. Facebook Spaces goes mainstream
Facebook isn’t just interested in live video streaming; it has been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in VR. Given that Facebook owns Oculus, a virtual reality hardware and software company, it is no surprise that the social media giant is developing a platform to make use of this new technology.
Facebook is poised to scale Spaces in 2018. When they do, it is likely that it will be the first successful VR social media product at scale.
10. Social platforms embrace stronger governance policies
After a series of controversial decisions during the 2016 presidential election, social media platforms have embraced a more hands-on approach to governing conduct on their platforms. Facebook recently turned over thousands of ads that seem to be connected to Russian meddling, and has invested in new AI and human forms of monitoring.
Heartbroken Mic: Las Vegas shooting shocks nation
When I was a police reporter for The Washington Times back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I frequently jarred the then murder capital of the U.S. awake with the scary, senseless carnage that struck the city.
But nothing like this. Nothing like Las Vegas in the darkness of Oct. 1. Nothing can prepare even a seasoned crime beat writer for the, heartless, harrowing carnage that erupted at the joyous Route 91 Harvest Festival during a Jason Aldean concert. It quickly turned from a happy fall country music celebration to a hellish war zone, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
It left at least 59 people dead, more than 500 others injured, and a nation heart broken yet again at the evil that men do. Why would this retired, steady gambling, cowardly wacko open fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort onto an innocent crowd of 22,000?
You can’t get your head around it, and your heart will never understand! When will the headlines stop? When will the carnage in Las Vegas and other innocent places like Virginia Tech and Orlando cease?
We may never know, and it probably will never happen. What we do know is that heroes emerge from the ashes and give flight to hope amid the destruction, despair, blood and tears. Love, courage and peace prevail.
Heroes like Sonny Melton, 29, who took his wife to the concert as a celebration of the purchase of their dream home in bucolic Paris, Tenn. When the bullets rained down from the devil on his perch, Sonny pulled his wife, Heather up and pushed her along with the surging crowd. When the rapid-fire sound pierced the sky and ricocheted around them, he shielded her from the onslaught. The bullets pierced his back and took his life, but Heather survived.
“I lost my true love and knight in shining armor,” she posted on Facebook. “I want everyone to know what a kindhearted, loving man he was.”
We do, Heather, and a nation prays for you and thinks of you and the countless others cut down by a senseless maniac! But heroes like your husband, the first responders, the ordinary who carted victims to hospitals saved lives in the death and destruction. The extraordinary spirit of these heroes – and a nation bound in unity – will live on forever!
Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!
Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him @spinsurgeon.