By Mohammad Ali

Did you know how many people live on our earth? More than 7.52 billion people inhabit our earth. Did you know how many of them are active on social media? According to latest statistics, there are more 3.028 billion active social media users worldwide. This means that almost half of the world’s population is using social media actively.

This makes social media a lucrative proposition for businesses.

From a digital marketing standpoint, it is one of the best ways to reach a wider audience, distribute content and develop a community of loyal fans and followers, which translates into customers. To stay on top of social media, you need to be one-step ahead of the game. For this, you need to be fully aware of the latest trends that will drive social media forward. In this article, we take a sneak peek into the future of social media and tell you about seven trends that will transform social media in 2018.

1. Personalized Content Will Be the King: No one can deny that fact that content is still the king but come 2018 this formula is about to change, albeit a little bit, especially for social media. Add “Personalized” ahead of content and you get the new formula.”Personalized Content is king”.

Admit it; no one likes to see their social media feeds filled with irrelevant content. Thankfully, this is about to change.

We will see emergence of new and improved social media analytical tools and business specific features. This will provide social media marketers with valuable information and insights that will help them to dish out more personalized content to their social media audiences. This will lead to personal engagement through social media content, which is the ultimate goal for digital marketers in 2018.

2. Chatbots Will Take Control: Will social media audiences looking for quick and satisfactory solutions for their problem, you have to be quick in responding to their queries that too without conducting any blunders, which is not humanly possible. That is where modern chatbots comes into play.

Gone are the days when these chatbots spoke in a robotic voice. Today, you can use chatbots to send personalized messages and content in the voice of your brand. Facebook has already spent millions on its chatbot program and now has 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook messenger. Many businesses are already using these bots to automate their customer service and resolve customer queries.

3. Live Video Will Dominate: We have seen an exponential rise in popularity of live videos on social media lately but that is only the beginning. Live video will be everywhere on social media by the end of 2018. Not only live videos, videos will become an integral part of content strategy and more businesses will use video content to keep the followers engaged.

With ever changing social algorithms, visual content, particularly the video content will slowly rise to prominence. Do not be surprised to see your social media feed filled with videos instead of text. That is going to happen very soon.

4. Feature Overlapping Will Make Marketers Choosy: Gone are the days when social media marketer is active on every social media channel. With feature of one social media channel overlapping that of other, social media, marketers will divert all their energies towards a handful of social media channels.

Another trend that is already making an impact is of mergers and acquisitions. Social media giants will continue to acquire emerging new entrants to establish their dominance. Microsoft’s acquisition of Linkedin and Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp are two of the best examples in this regard.

5. Social Listening Will Gain Acceptance: According to a research conducted by Brand24 revealed that 30,000 searches begin with the words, “Where Can I Buy” and 14,000 searches that started from the phrase, “Can anyone recommend?” The research further states that 60% of these questions were never answered.

Businesses can take advantage of this opportunity by listening to their social media. Social listening provides insightful information about not only your followers but also your competitions, which can help you gain a competitive advantage over competitors.

6. Demand for Social Influencers Will Grow: If you ask any digital marketer who have invested in influencer marketing before, they will tell you that they have achieved success through it. Companies like Rolex and Hubspot are already using social media influencer to attract new fans to their social media pages.

It acts as a double-edged sword as you can not only engage existing user base but also lure new users towards your social media pages. This trend will surely grow in 2018 and more companies will take advantage of social media influencers to increase the effectiveness of their social media marketing efforts.

7. Use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Thanks to the advancement in technology and availability of cheaper VR headset in the market, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is all set for a brilliant debut on social media. We will interactive VR ready content and social media features that support augmented reality enter the foray in 2018.

Businesses can take advantage of this opportunity and make their users feel their product and experience their services without leaving the comfort of their rooms. It will open doors for endless possibilities and businesses who capitalize on these opportunities will be the ones who will be successful.

Conclusion: From personalized content to chatbots, we will see a transformation take place on social media in 2018. Domination of live video and visual content will continue and so does the reliance on social influencer.

We might also see brands paying more attention to social listening.

Latest technologies such as AR and VR will make social media much more interactive and engaging than ever before. Things are about take an interesting turn as far as social media is concerned. Are you ready to ride on these social media trends? Which social media trend will dominate in 2018? Feel free to share your feedback in comments section below.

Author Bio: Mohammad Ali is an experienced digital marketer and a search engine marketing specialist who is currently associated with Branex, as senior digital marketer and brand strategy agency.

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