According to James Mulvey, senior social media strategist, Hootsuite, there are three main challenges for businesses utilizing social media in 2018. They are: the continuing decline of unpaid, organic reach; keeping pace with social network innovation; and validating the worth of existing strategies.
Here are five trends to implement in 2018, according to Amber Naslund, senior director, industry leadership, Hootsuite.
Persistent questions regarding social ROI
While companies expand their vision of Return on Investment, when it comes to social media, companies remain uncertain about what metrics to track and how to tie data to business outcomes. Social media can help companies understand customer preferences and lead to better business decisions beyond marketing. Think of social media as a window into the customer journey, which includes loyalty and advocacy.
Brands as broadcasters
Mobile has fed the growth of social TV, shifting social media platforms toward video content. Social video viewing keeps rising. In Q1 2017, video made up 21 percent of brand posts. Social networks will continue promoting video and TV-style content, which attracts advertising dollars. Launching products with live social media broadcasts, which has a higher engagement rate than other video, is an opportunity for companies. Don’t be afraid to go unscripted with live video, which inspires credibility.
Declining institutional trust, rising peer influence
Individuals continue to turn to each other to make decisions, while CEOs and mega influencers, like institutions, have less influence. Micro influencers are growing in importance, and 2018 will reward businesses that inspire loyalty and passion among employees and customers, blurring the line between advertising and advocacy. Businesses should set goals for advocacy and build real, lasting relations with customers and employees. Facebook Groups are one social media space that supports virtual communities. Sharing customer and employee stories is another opportunity for the intimate spaces of social media.
AI to find new adoption and more practical uses
Artificial intelligence is embedded in websites and social networks, and will become more so. Computers are adapting to people rather than the reverse, elevating customer care and allowing humans more time to deal with higher level problems such as building relationships. Messaging apps are becoming an important content delivery channel. Chatbots personalize offers, look for information that connects businesses to customers and answer common questions that customers ask.
Realizing the potential of social data
Social media collects enormous amounts of data, but it’s difficult to understand how to use and integrate the data into existing company systems. Marketers are still the evangelists when it comes to the role of social media. However, other personnel, like sales teams, will become increasingly, and necessarily, involved as social media’s role in customer service becomes more apparent. Setting business goals and having real conversations with customers on social media platforms will make for a more effective strategy in 2018.