2017 was a year of discovery for the world of social media marketing. Not only did social media platforms revolutionize their audience targeting, as in the case of YouTube’s new marketing tool ‘Director Mix’, but they effectively merged advertising and high tech. For instance, we witnessed the world’s first 3D robotic billboard, created by Coca Cola. Snapchat took their marketing game to another level as they released their augmented reality project.  

But what was cutting edge technology last year is going to be the standard this year. Here are three ways in which social media marketing will have to adapt to remain relevant in 2018:

  1. Virtual Reality

Initially used to enhance the gaming experience, augmented reality has started to become much more mainstream. Not only has Snapchat embraced the concept, but back in April of 2017 Facebook began to work on an application called ‘Camera Effects’ which utilizes virtual reality to transform the picture-taking experience.

Although many of these updates are still being developed, platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat are setting the tone. We’re expecting to see many other social media outlets follow their lead this year.

  1. Influencer Marketing

According to Entrepreneur: “Companies like North Face, Hubspot and Rolex use social media-based influencer marketing strategies to connect with new audiences and improve engagement with existing audiences…we saw that brands that opted for traditional advertising strategies struggled to connect to social media users. Next year, it is likely that more brands will embrace influencer marketing as a way to connect with audiences who tend to ignore traditional strategies.”

A classic example of this was the the hilarious cheeseburger debate between McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King in October of this year. After a customer brought to light the differences in the Apple and Google cheeseburger emoji, all three platforms jumped on it and had an amusing face-off. The event sparked major brand conversation, resulting in an increase of sales for all three companies.

  1. An Increase in Brand Participation in Messaging Platforms

Many brands have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts that people are welcome to follow. Although a good start, the platforms are often used to showcase products rather than connect with their consumers.

However, 2017 single-handedly proved that one on one interaction with consumers is the key to boosting brand awareness and participation.

Upon reviewing out stats, we found that:

  • 60% of millennials prefer two-way text engagement with companies because it’s convenient, fast and easy to use.
  • 80% of millennials prefer to text a company’s 1-800 number versus waiting on hold.
  • 42% of millennials would like to receive fraud alerts from their financial providers, while only 19% currently do.

With the youth making up a huge percentage of brand consumers and also gravitating towards brands with the most recent technology, it looks like turning to less traditional and more interpersonal outlets might be a good move. In 2018, we will likely see outlets such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Kik become the most successful forms of media marketing.

With these suggestions in mind, are you prepared to implement new strategies for 2018? Or will you stick with more traditional tactics?