The start of a new year is always a good time for reflection. Social media marketing has been evolving at a blistering pace over the past couple of years and has become a central component in most marketing strategies. Change has been almost constant and the past 12 months have revealed some especially interesting trends.
The rise of Pinterest
Pinterest is the one social media platform that is frequently bypassed in social strategy. This is often because Pinterest doesn’t fare so well when it comes to the numbers – it has 250 million active users globally, compared to Instagram’s 1+ billion and Facebook’s 2+ billion. However, Pinterest added 50 million users in 2017 – 2018 and that makes it one of the fastest growing social networks. It is also continually improving and has huge opportunities for advertisers, as 97% of searches on Pinterest are currently unbranded.
Augmented Reality (AR) and social media
As brands look for new ways to connect with users, AR has emerged as a serious contender. Over the past year, we have seen it increasingly incorporated, turning smartphone cameras into search and information tools.
Influencers have gained the most traction in the B2C market where some individuals and brands have made a fortune. However, we have also begun to see a new trend emerging: the rise of the B2B influencer. B2B influencers represent a focus on combining the business and personal and are already gaining ground, especially thanks to new features that have been introduced by LinkedIn.
Changing the rules of the influencer game
Currently, more than 90% of endorsements are not disclosed by brands and influencers. However, the past 12 months saw a wave of sentiment against this lack of transparency, both from consumers and regulators too. New rules are being introduced to govern the way that paid partnerships are handled and platforms like Instagram have created new tools so that #ads are more obvious.
The rise and rise of social video
While video content, in general, continues to be a huge trend, social video has emerged as a leader in the past year. Facebook Watch is inspired by online streaming services such as Netflix and will bring streaming of everything, from sporting events to films, to social. For brands, this means buying into the 6, 15 and 30-second mid-roll ads that the new feature will offer.
A changing view of customers
The most crucial metric to emerge over the past 12 months has been the lifetime value of customers. Brands are shifting perspectives away from short-term analysis to looking at loyal customers who will spend more. The focus is now on understanding this high-value audience, as opposed to looking at the entire customer base and integrating this knowledge into a social media marketing strategy.
Facebook Messenger for customer service
2017 – 2018 saw Facebook Messenger break out of the boundaries of its social network. Now, it’s a function many brands are integrating into websites to improve customer service and to better understand an audience for social marketing purposes.
These are just some of the social media marketing trends that we have seen over the past year. In this fast-changing world, the next 12 months could be crucial.
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