We called it “new media.” MySpace became the new place for people to attain fame and notoriety. Facemash emerged to connect college students before it came out to the world as Facebook. Mobile presumably was not even glimmer in Steve Jobs’ eye.
It’s been nearly 16 years since technology ushered in the new world of social media, and the channels and technology and marketing ecosystem that support them continue to morph and grow more exciting with capabilities hardly imagined.
Expect that to continue as we move closer to 2018 and various trends continue to solidify. From analytics that are increasingly robust to better use of social listening to grow businesses, social media can be expected to grow ever more dynamic as we move forward.
Here are four of the more significant trends underway:
- Social analytics: Smarter and better tools for smarter and better marketers.
Everyone talks about content personalization, and that development is as relevant to social media as it is to content marketing in general.
What makes it more easily realized are more robust analytics tools that provide a deeper dive into social users’ habits, conversations and preferences as they use social platforms, notes G. Scott Paterson, who serves as Chairman of Engagement Labs, a firm that is leading the way in developing more accurate and more comprehensive views of social marketing performance for businesses. By enabling more detailed – and thus, more valuable – data, marketers will gain the insights they need to create content that resonates on a more deeply personal level with customers. The end result will be a channel that is far more integral to customer communication and experiences.
- Social listening: More data, used better means better messaging…and more.
As we head into 2018, a growing number of companies are monitoring social media for more than crisis management and customer service. Social listening is growing more strategic. One way is to include competitors in the listening – not for what they are saying or doing, but for who’s talking about them and what’s being said. Findings can become an important metric for your performance and revealing insights into what audiences like or not.
Another area of focus is the impact of earned media, versus owned, which forms the lion’s share of attention. There’s a lot of value to understanding how your company fits into conversations about industry terms and topics as a means of engaging and expanding the conversation.
- Facebook gets into mobility (and retail) – big time.
One of the last platforms to fully embrace the mobile future, Facebook, has big plans to change that. Expect to see substantial progress in 2018.
Already, TechCrunch reports, 84 percent of Facebook’s ad revenues are generated through mobile. And the company is moving hard to keep the momentum going. Recently, for example, the community said it aims to become the mobile storefront of the future, and it unveiled new ad tools for brands and retailers to equip it to take a leading role in social commerce. But Facebook also continues to add versatility to its mobile presence, as with its new availability of its “trending” news feature, with its own link.
- Chatbots enable personal interactions, faster, more easily.
Next year might well be the one when more businesses start testing chatbots as the ideal way to establish a direct conversation with their customers. Chatbots are simple artificial intelligence systems, good for performing simple tasks that you interact with via text. They are a great alternative to unnecessary apps, which many people are just tired of downloading. They allow for faster, more personalized conversations in a voice that is customized to the brand. Look to Facebook, again, for how it’s led the way: Messenger notably has 100,000 monthly active bots that are helping to enable 2 million conversations between brands and their fans every 30 days.