By Daniel Ljungqvist
Even though we spend hours every day scrolling through our social media it can be hard to keep up with the constant changing of the platforms. For example, roughly a year ago we witnessed how platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp followed Snapchat with a story like content form. Today, only months later, stories are one of the most popular ways to consume social media. 300 million users share stories on Instagram and Whatsapp on a daily basis and only 6 months after Facebook launched their “Messenger Day,” 70 million people use the function every day.
This is just one example of the many trends we saw develop during 2017, and the question we ask now is what will come next?
Beatly has listed the four latest trends that we’ve seen take off and that we predict will be a big hit in 2018!
1. Live Video Will Continue to Grow
Live streaming has grown rapidly over the past few years and we don’t see it stopping anytime soon. Roughly 80% of all consumers would rather watch a live video from a company than read a blog post, and 82% would rather see a live video than see a text-based post on a social network. There is definitely something special about the live format and it encourages more engagement than any other form of content.
One of the best aspects of live videos is the ability to communicate with other viewers in real time. People also love that they can comment, discuss, and affect the direction of a video while it’s unfolding in front of them. Humans just love to be involved and have the opportunity to influence our surroundings!
A good example of an industry that has used this platform to their advantage is the gaming industry. Nowadays, we can follow famous players with expensive contracts on tour and watch them play poker tournaments from their hotel rooms on the live stream platform Twitch. Sometimes these guys play in front of 20,000+ people that all interact based on the gameplay. We’ve also witnessed how RedBull has used the growing industry to create huge events with massive amounts of traffic from live videos.
So far live videos offer good possibilities for growth due to the lack of competition, but we shouldn’t expect it to stay like this for long.
What creative companies will use this opportunity to beat their competition in 2018?
2. Companies Are Broadening Their View of ROI From Influencer Marketing
When influencer marketing was new, there was no way to measure and compare results. Many companies felt like they had no control over what they received from their social media marketing. But then it all turned, and now everything is calculated and examined.
Lately, this has developed to the point where companies study likes, comments, orders, traffic, views, and new customers in order to determine the results and produce ROIs. Naturally, we agree with this development and we personally like the ability to measure and compare results, especially within digital marketing. However, it’s important to not get too caught up in the details and miss the bigger picture. You can’t forget to consider the softer values and the factors that are hard to measure, for example:
Social Proof - This is a basic human behavior surrounding role models and the urge to find inspiration in the work of others. Today, influencers are the role models that we live after. We want to eat what they eat, travel where they travel, buy the same clothes as them, and design our homes based on their homes. We rarely try something new without having seen someone else do it first.
If you think about it, you’ve probably bought something only because a friend or an influencer talked about it on their social media. Additionally, when we’re thinking about more expensive purchases we often Google the product to see what others think of it. Best case scenario, an influencer you like has shared their thoughts on the product.
We are constantly searching for validation from others, and we want to feel like we are making the right decisions about everything in life whether it’s purchases, lifestyle choices, or anything else. Using influencer marketing to strengthen one's Social Proof is a genius strategy that can have a huge impact on your results.
Branding - Your brand and the associations it gives others is what sets you apart from the rest. Unfortunately, only having a product that’s better than competitors is not enough if your competitor is on everyone’s mind. The brand you build tells your consumers what they can expect from your products. Most people don’t buy a product just because they want it or need it. Instead, they buy the feeling and lifestyle that brand offers. Because of this, you have to be on everyone’s mind, you need to provoke a feeling, and you need to represent a lifestyle that people want to emulate.
World Class Content - It’s not hard to produce content, but it can be extremely hard to produce content that suits your target group and actually gets the job done. Many businesses are struggling to create content that keeps up with the evolving social media market.
Another issue is finding funding to actually research and produce the needed content. It can cost a small fortune to hire a writer, camera guy, sound technician, editor, actor, model, etc. That’s where influencers come into the picture. By hiring an influencer, you actually get a whole team for one price. Often times, an influencer can take care of pictures, sound, light, writing, and the modeling all at once. Influencers also tend to be experts in their own target group and know what their clients are looking for.
3. Companies Will Either Create Better Content or Lose Out
In a time where all companies are fighting to remain relevant on social media, one needs to be smart to be unique. But how do you do that? We have a few good tips.
Provide Value - Instead of only publishing offers and ads, we suggest you try to offer something of value. If you sell shoes, you can offer tips on how to treat and wash shoes. If you sell plants, you can offer courses on how to best take care of them. Are you a restaurant owner? Then why don’t you send out your favorite recipes to your followers so they can try and make it themselves?
By creating value that’s not selling something specific, you will encourage people to stick around. It will also give your customers more respect for you. It’s a good way of building a relationship with clients without bombarding them with offers.
Engage - A fun way of engaging followers is to arrange competitions where you have your followers create content for you in exchange for the winner receiving a free product. For example, you can ask your followers to share a picture of how they put your products to use and how it makes their lives easier. This is a solid way of spreading your brand and building a bigger audience while at the same time gaining free content. It’s a win-win-win.
If you can’t figure out how to create value you will be struggling through 2018. We keep seeing how “regular” ads are doing worse and only the companies thinking outside the box are making it. You need to be creative and unique and if you have a crazy idea you think might work we encourage you to try it!
4. Generation Z Are Trendsetters
Generation Z, the kids born in the late 1990’s and around the year 2000, are driving the markets right now. A good example of this is Snapchat. When the social media platform was first launched the older generations shrugged and said it was “only for kids.” Today, just a few years later we’re all posting videos posing as cats with our in-laws. Same goes for YouTube which is completely dominated by a user group in their early to mid-teens.
In fact, Generation Z barely knows how to use a remote control since they are raised with YouTube in their smartphones. Because of this, we suggest you study them to see what they’re focusing on and what’s hot for them at the moment. We have to stop ignoring the fact that teens are affecting how companies market themselves. We have to listen to them and follow their trends, otherwise we’ll be left in the dust. Constant access to the internet has also made Generation Z curious which means trends last for shorter periods of time than ever before.
All in all, we have an exciting year in front of us and there is no doubt that we are relying more on digital platforms and marketing than ever before. Therefore, we predict that the biggest winners in the coming year will be the companies that dare to think outside the box and aim to be progressive and spontaneous, and more importantly that can think of the bigger picture. 2018, we’re ready - bring it on!