Top 11 Social Media Trends for 2018

Social is moving fast and for small business owners it’s difficult to keep up. So to save you hours of searching what the “opinion” leaders are saying we have summarised the top eleven Social Media trends for 2018 below.

  1. Rise of augmented reality
    Source: Entrepreneur, Forbes, Impact and Sprout Social

Snapchat allows advertisers to use custom built face filters for all of its users, Instagram could be next in line to offer brands the chance to get users to interact with their custom built face filters and last heard Facebook Messenger is also in on the act. The latest iPhone X uses facial recognition and augmented reality technology. Instagram released more than 20 features in 2017.

The message – brands can expect to see augmented reality features continue to rise in 2018.


  1. Live streaming will continue in popularity
    Source: Forbes, Impact and Entrepreneur

Live streaming started of as a bit of a gimmick and has now become a mainstream contributor to social media. As phone hardware gets better, the convenience of live streaming at a high quality production level is enhanced.

The message – 2018 will see live streaming being adopted by more brands with consumers expecting to be able to see things live.


  1. Continued investment in influencer marketing
    Source: Entrepreneur

Influencer marketing is less about paid ads, and more about building honest relationships between your brands, your ideal customer and the people (and websites) they are already following and visiting online. Influencers can quickly boost your sales, leads and brand credibility.

The message – it is likely that more brands will embrace influencer marketing as a way to connect with their consumers, consumers who are ignoring mainstream and traditional advertising strategies more and more.


  1. Focus on Generation Z

Source: Entrepreneur and Impact
The first generation to grow up 100% online, Generation Z are millennials little brothers and sisters, born in the early 00s. The oldest people in Gen Z are coming up to 22 years and just about to enter the workforce. The way they work, socialise, research and consume could dramatically change the world we know.

The message – businesses targeting this generation should consider shifting their social media investment into platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, rather than Facebook.


  1. Increasing brand participation in messaging platforms
    Source: Entrepreneur


Over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally. Brands should consider investing more resources into connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. Messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik are providing more personalised shopping experiences through their chatbots and voice assistants.

The message – people are communicating and purchasing on real time messaging platforms in a personalised format more and more. A brand must consider entering this space to capture these sales trends.


  1. Increase code of conduct and privacy regulations

Source: Entrepreneur and Forbes

For a person to use social media, they immediately give up some of their privacy, while Facebook and Twitter have tried to crack down on their privacy, it is likely that these platforms (among others) will embrace codes of conduct and governance policies that protect the brands from criticism.

The message – protect privacy at all costs in a world that is becoming more and more public.


  1. Digital hangouts go mainstream
    Source: Entrepreneur

If you are over 30 years you probably haven’t heard of a digital hangout. Digital hangouts let you video call multiple people at the same time. It’s primarily used by Gen Z as a way to hang out with friends digitally. Digital hangouts will become more popular as new users adopt the technology.


  1. Ad growth will accelerate
    Source: Forbes

Most larger brands who are active on social media have already started to shift their focus towards building more social advertising. This shift will continue into 2018.

The message – if you don’t already have an allocation in your marketing budget for social advertising its time to invest.


  1. What will happen to Twitter?
    Source: Entrepreneur and Impact

Twitter showed the slowest social media platform growth in 2017 with many users leaving Twitter due to unfair code of conduct enforcement with regards to the US President.

The recent increase to 280 characters is an attempt to arrest declining market share. Twitter needs to re-think the way their platform works to survive.


  1. Facebook spaces go mainstream
    Source: Entrepreneur

Watch this space, Facebook isn’t just interested in live streaming, it is developing a platform to make use of virtual reality (VR) technology. The project is called Spaces and is designed to allow friends to connect in VR.

The message – don’t discount the original king of social media. Watch this space.


  1. Increasing popularity of Instagram stories
    Entrepreneur and Plann

Only one year old, Instagram stories are used by over 200 million people each month, surpassing Snapchats activity. Instagram stories are particularly relevant for marketers because, compared to other video platforms, Instagram metrics are highly trackable.



So you can see, social media continues to evolve at a very fast pace. No doubt video streaming and virtual reality will go mainstream in 2018. Businesses and brands need to continue to focus their marketing activity on newer social platforms that are relevant to their target market. Keeping up is getting that much harder.

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Lynda Schenk

An energetic and strategic marketing professional with over twenty years’ experience in industries ranging from wine, not for profit, transport, logistics and manufacturing. Lynda founded Purple Giraffe Marketing Consultancy in 2014 offering an end to end marketing service that draws on her proven ability to formulate brand strategies and marketing communications plans that build brand equity, growth and profitability.

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