With so many social media platforms out there — and new ones emerging at a seemingly relentless pace — is it any wonder that so many businesses struggle to keep up with new social media marketing trends? It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the huge variety of platforms, content formats, and tools. That’s especially true for smaller companies that don’t have the luxury of a marketing department dedicated to social media marketing.

In order to create an effective social media marketing strategy for your business in 2018, you need to know what trends in social marketing are projected to be the biggest this year. Once you know what other companies are doing, you can create a strategy that will work for your business.

1) Increased Emphasis on Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is word-of-mouth advertising for the new millennium. While advertising might sway some consumers, most are more convinced by recommendations they receive from friends, acquaintances, and loved ones.

And, these days, it’s incredibly common for social media users to form connections — even meaningful and lasting ones — with other users they’ve never met, and never will meet, in person. Online friendships flourish on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and users with large followings on these or other social media platforms have the power to influence their online friends and followers to make purchasing decisions. A 2017 study shows that more than 14,000 people write “Can anyone recommend” on social media each month, while more than 30,000 write “Where can I buy.” Almost 40 percent of Twitter users report having made a purchasing decision based on an influencer tweet.

2) A Focus on the Millennial Market

Most social media users are millennials, members of the generation born between 1980 to 2000. Many of these young people are digital natives; they don’t remember a time before the internet, and they rely heavily on social media to form and maintain relationships, get news and more information about the world, and research brands and products. In 2018, the youngest members of this generation become adults. They’re leaving home, going to college or graduating from college, getting jobs, and enjoying their first paychecks and their first blush of independence, and that’s why this year’s social marketing strategies will focus increasingly on appealing to this demographic.

3) More Video Content, Please!

Most consumers using social media platforms would rather watch a short, engaging video clip than face a wall of text, especially since the vast majority of social media users are engaging with these platforms via mobile devices. Videos hold consumers’ attention longer than still images and text, because they feel more personal, relevant, and interactive. They’re easy for users to share, too.

But, there’s a caveat. Video isn’t the best format for all social media platforms. It’s usually great for less formal platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook, but doesn’t do as well on more formal platforms like LinkedIn. Think about which social media platform will best serve your business’s needs before deciding whether or not to make video content a big part of your strategy for 2018.

4) Mobile-Ready Content Will Be King

In 2018, 2.53 billion people around the world are using smartphones. Eighty percent of social media users access their preferred platforms via mobile devices. More people than ever are using smartphones and tablets to shop online, make travel plans, and interact with friends and followers on social media, and because the majority of online traffic now comes from mobile devices, social media marketing content has to be mobile ready.

5) Email and Social Media Marketing Integration

By combining email and social media marketing strategies in 2018, many brands hope to reach a wider audience. The integration of email and social media marketing will see email marketing efforts aimed at bringing more followers to social media channels, and social media marketing efforts driving email subscriptions. To implement effective integration, coordinate the content and timing of social media posts and marketing emails, to optimize your chances of reaching more customers at more stages of their purchasing journeys.

An effective social media marketing strategy for 2018 will make good use of this year’s anticipated trends. By choosing the right platforms, the right format for your content, you can make social media work for your business this year like it never has before.

Hi, I’m a blogger, social media savvy and graphic designer from Haripur, Pakistan. My favorite food: infographic.

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