I’m so excited we are finally in 2018. I was speaking with a friend the other day, he’s a social media marketer, and he was like, “Jijong, in 2017 social media marketing was hot”.
And he was right.
In 2017, features such as live videos and social messaging were the most used social media tools by social media marketers in Africa and around the world in general.
If you did not use these tools, I’m sorry to say you left a lot of money on the table.
But I guess what is on your mind right now is not what was hot in 2017, but what will be hot in 2018.
We but know that if you can figure out what will be hot on social media, it can help you define the way your brand will communicate on social media in 2018 which will give you a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Why I’m I saying all these?
Social media marketing is tricky. It’s not all about posting on Facebook groups and hoping that people see or find your product or service.
Instead, it’s all about passing the right message via the right platform, to the right audience. And to be able to achieve this in 2018, you have to know the latest trends happening on social media.
Today, I will share 5 social media trends I believe will be hot in 2018. If you can integrate any of these trends in your social media marketing strategies, it will be a +1 for your brand.
Watch out for chatbots
Jijong what are you talking about?
If you were that type of social media marketer who paid attention to what was happening on social media in 2017, you would have noticed a trend that was not that huge (Yes not huge).
Big brands such as BBC, CNN and even MTN Cameroon were communicating to their customers much faster and responding to live messages instantly on social media especially on Facebook messenger.
This was either to answer a customer’s question, book reservation, recommend a product or even go as far as sending a customer from Facebook messenger to specific web pages on their site.
It was not magic but simply innovation in social media marketing called chatbots.
Let me explain!
Chatbots are softwares with an artificial intelligence that are specially programmed to chat with someone and answer that person’s questions as if it was a real human being answering.
But what I noticed in 2017 was that most African social media marketers that were using social media to market their products or services, were not using chatbots effectively to build a relationship with their customers.
I understand the technology was new in Africa but in 2018, chatbot will be a “buzz” on social media. And I will do everything possible to ensure that I use this technology that is still brand new in the African market.
So please, please, please if you are a social media marketer who wants to dominate social media in 2018, start thinking of integrating chatbots into your social media marketing strategies.
Not because it will help you save time and money, but because it can help you improve your customer services and rapidly build a relationship with your customers while you are busy doing something else.
And above all, if you can give your bot some character, personality and a bit of style, these chatbots will build your reputation on social media while you are building your brand maybe offline or on other channels online.
I will be looking closely into chatbots in 2018 and I hope you too.
Influencer marketing will become more powerful
Influencer marketing in 2017 was already making Buzz among social media marketers around the world. And I believe in 2018, influential marketing will completely change and become more powerful.
The reason for this change will be as a result of the fact that, social media marketers now understand the value of influential marketing, and the influencers themselves, now have a better idea of how much they are worth.
So, in 2018 these influencers will put in more effort to grow their social media followers and build more engagement with their followers especially on channels like Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube.
But as a social media marketer, you have to be careful.
Some influencers, will go as far as creating fake accounts and buy fake followers just to be paid by social media marketers like you an I, to endorse our products or services. So watch out for fake influencers on social media.
Also know that very few African social media marketers were paying close attention to influential marketing in 2017 compared to other social media marketers in countries like the U.S.A, U.K Canada etc.
And from all indication, some are not still willing to change their mindset concerning influencers marketing.
If you are that type of social media marketer, let me enlighten your thoughts.
I guess you did not have an idea of what was influential marketing?
So, let me define it according to Wikipedia!
Wikipedia defines influential marketing as that form of marketing in which all the focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole.
Let me break it down!
Let say you are a social media marketer for a company in Cameroon that sell markup products to a Cameroon market. And you are thinking of launching a social media campaign to promote your company’s product to your target market (Cameroon).
One strategy you can use to sell more markups is?
Go to Instagram, Youtube or Snapchat and look for influencers (people will huge following on social media) with at least 1k-10k followers who are in the beauty industry, and pay them or offer them free samples of your markups, for them to talk about your company’s product to their followers.
Try it and I guarantee you will see results in terms of sales.
When I was doing some research, I came across this article, which says 90% of marketers who integrated influential marketing into their marketing strategies in 2017, saw a huge return on investment.
This is why influential marketing will completely change in 2018 since more social media marketers will start doing it.
And please, please, as a social media marketers, pay close attention to it and try to integrate it into your social media marketing strategy for 2018.
Increasing popularity of Instagram stories
Believe it or not, Instagram stories will be a big deal in 2018.
And here is why!
In 2017 Instagram stories were already very popular among Instagram users especially Generation Z users.
According to this article on Statista, over 200 million people used Instagram stories in 2017 that is 50 million more than on Snapchat.
And from the way I see things, Instagram stories are not going anywhere soon.
As an African social media marketer, you have to figure out how to integrate Instagram stories into your social media marketing strategy.
Here is why…
If you want to dominate social media marketing in 2018, you will have to figure out how to craft appealing messages and promote them where your customers are hanging out and having fun and that’s on Instagram stories.
So please, please, please if you want to dominate as a social media marketer, figure out how you can integrate Instagram stories into your social media marketing strategies.
Pay close attention to augmented reality
I understand, the concept of augmented reality in Africa is still strange and is something most African social media marketers do not pay close attention to.
But if you can pay close attention to augmented reality, especially the way it will affect social media in 2018, you will have a competitive advantage over your competitors in an African market.
But wait! What is augmented reality?
According to reality technologies, augmented reality is an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real world.
Big companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook, are already working hard to make augmented reality a part of our daily lives.
Salesforces the American multinational company is planning to make it possible that, a customer can either scan his or her face and a salesperson will have the best available information about that customer, based on information about the customer on Facebook, LinkedIn or social media in general.
And that is not all…
It is speculated that Snapchat or Instagram will soon support filters that allow users to take selfies with their friends or celebrities projected via augmented reality.
For this reason, I believe that African social media marketers, who can pay close attention to augmented reality and try to integrate it into their social media marketing strategy, will see an increase in terms of business growth on social media and ROI.
Watch out for Generation Z
Jijong what again are you talking about?
Let me enlighten you on what generation Z is before you get confused and stop reading this blog post.
Generation Z are young people who were born around 1995-2000 which means in 2018, they will be between 18-22 years old.
But the question is why are they important to your business?
This generation, including myself, was born between 1995-2000 which means they grew up with the internet, smartphones and social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)
For this reason…
They understand how the internet works and above all, they love hanging around social media.
So, they have a better understanding of how social media platforms work and have a higher affinity buying online (through social media) than the millennials (25-35 years old).
If you are a social media marketer who promotes a lot of B2C products, to crush your sales in 2018, start developing social media strategies to reach this generation especially on Instagram and Snapchat where their parents have not yet figured out how to use them.
Bonus: Live streaming will double
Videos will always remain the best way to engage with your customers, whether is on social media or on other channels.
But what will make the difference between a company, that will produce videos for their social media platforms, and a company that will do live streaming on Facebook is that, the company that will go live, will see a high engagement rate and above all will have better conversion rate on their social media marketing campaigns.
If you want to capture the attention of your audience on social media, be the first to do live streaming in 2018 and do it on a consistent basis.
Is true in 2017, big and small brands were already integrating live streaming in their social media strategies but in Africa, very few companies were doing that.
So watch out for live streaming in 2018, if you want to grow your brand awareness on social media.
Those are the 5 social media trend I believe will affect social media marketing in 2018, and if you can integrate any of this trend into your social media marketing strategy for 2018, I strongly believe you will see results in term of growth and profit.
If you have any question, ask me by leaving a comment below and if you believe they are other social media marketer in Africa you think need to read this, please share.