Social Media 2018

Elle Williams | February 1st 2018

2018 has already begun rolling out updates, specifically Facebook, but what can we expect to see happen this year?

Facebook

Facebook is constantly updating its service and offerings, which for social lovers like me is like letting a kid loose in a toy shop!

The biggest update this year from Facebook is the News Feed change that will mean users will see more meaningful content from friends and family, and less organic content from brands.

Facebook is already beginning to shut the gates on poor quality content i.e. fake news, and has been penalising businesses that aren’t mobile friendly in the last 12 months, and this latest update means there is more to come this year, making it more difficult for brands to get in front of their target audiences. This will lead nicely onto the rise of paid content in 2018 (ads and sponsored posts), increasing competition online.

Brands and advertisers will need to be more tactical and creative with the content they share.

What else can we expect to see happen in 2018?

Facebook’s Branded Content Tags aren’t 2018’s breaking news update, but the social giant will be updating these tags to eliminate misuse.

To recap, the Branded Content Tags are to support influencer marketing and partnerships. This is to offer more transparency over endorsements used for paid promotions. Some brands will take advantage of this feature and use it for link-bait, rather than for high quality branded content.

Facebook’s new rule states influencers/pages using Branded Content Tags should not ‘accept anything of value to post content that you did not create or were not involved in the creation of, or that not feature you’.

The new update will also affect Branded Content Tags on Instagram.

We’ve witnessed the popularity of video content across the social media spectrum, and with the inclusion of video content in ads, there will no doubt be a big spike in the number of videos being shared on Facebook. So 2018 looks like being the year of less wordy posts, with images and more videos going viral.

Clearly Zuckerberg and his team are really closing in on businesses misusing Facebook, following on from the clampdown on low quality content that is being shared, and non-mobile friendly businesses.

If you already planned out your Facebook 2018 social media strategy, I would rethink it and take into consideration the latest updates, especially from an organic point of view.

WhatsApp

You probably wouldn’t associate WhatsApp with social media. It’s an instant chat app that is, coincidently, owned by Facebook.

Using Instagram Stories, Facebook is testing the waters on the ability to cross-post this feature to WhatsApp statuses. Instagram users will have an option to share their story on WhatsApp, but they will have to press ‘send’ in WhatsApp to post it.

This new feature has only just begun rolling out according to TechCrunch, so it’s definitely one to keep an eye out for!

In other WhatsApp news, the instant messaging service will begin launching a ‘Click-to-WhatsApp’ advert. The theory behind this is to encourage users to chat to businesses directly via these ads through Facebook with an option of sending a message through WhatsApp. If this works, business will benefit from this new ad feature, as in theory, it will speed up the conversion process for the target user and become a powerful generator for the Acquisition Funnel.

Instagram

As Facebook evolves, Instagram will and whatever Snapchat does, Instagram will aim to do it better – a bit like the ongoing iPhone v Samsung battle.

Shopping Tags are most likely to make a solid appearance this year, allowing advertisers to include a discrete price tag and information on the item within the image.

This is something Pinterest took under its wing, so naturally, Instagram (or Zuckerberg) wants to come out top in this area and not be beaten by the pin board rivals!

Instagram stories will continue to evolve, especially with the recent option for users to share their stories on WhatsApp, until Snapchat becomes a distant memory.

Have you tried uploading a panorama photo onto Instagram? Yeah, it cuts off half the photo, so sharing a filtered version of it to make it look more professional is pointless. Surely, 2018 is the year to introduce the option of uploading full panorama photos, or adopting Facebook’s 360 degree imagery. Imagine the stories and moments that can be created!

#InstaTag. Aside from uploading and sharing photos, Instagram is all about hashtags! Users will literally hashtag anything and people love it! Of course, in my personal opinion, we should limit the number of hashtags we use on posts and use relevant ones that are trending or have collated a high volume of posts, or create specific campaign ones. An Instagram page has been created that is dedicated to #hashtags. #hashtagit!

Instagram Story

Will we see Instagram develop their Stories into something spectacular that Snapchat cannot simply compete with in 2018, or will we just see more of cute animals as filters?

Twitter

They’re trying, so cut them some slack because you have a potential untapped audience that you could be ignoring.

Sure, Twitter is spammed with celebs and high profile influencers, and as much as we would love a retweet from Ryan Reynolds, being acknowledged by a brand you love has more value and is more meaningful. I hate to break it to you, but not all celebs manage their own Twitter accounts either…

The biggest updated and one we have been waiting a long time for is the increase in characters that can be used in a tweet. Working in social, you get used to sharing your post in just a few words which can be a challenge at times, so this new update is a bit of a dream come true.

The one thing Twitter does that Facebook is missing out on is the ability to target users interested in specific calendar events for paid campaigns, jumping on the conversational hashtags.

Here is an overview of Twitter’s upcoming calendar of events:

Paid Twitter Ads

Each event will pull up some key stats such as audience size, giving you an idea of who you will be targeting and the relevance it will have on your business.

As exciting as creating a campaign around Daylight Saving Time is, here is an example of what you can expect if you were to create a Crufts ad campaign:

The data also pulls out some top Crufts tweets!

The one thing Facebook does do well that Twitter doesn’t is the ability to really tailor and refine your target audience for ads. I’m confident that Twitter’s targeting options will be more tailored to the campaign, thereby boosting the relevance score, so maybe 2018 will be the year it happens.

With the news of Facebook’s new algorithm update (News Feed), Twitter could follow in its footsteps, providing users with more content that they are interested in, reducing the amount of fake news, low quality link-baiting and irrelevant content. Twitter’s ‘Trends for You’/‘Explore’ tab on your account is the perfect the starting point for this.

The biggest prediction and news to keep an eye out on is Donald Trump’s tweets!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the professional social networking site that’s loved by recruiters worldwide!

The one thing we don’t see a lot of is video content. All the data is telling us that video content is overtaking traditional imagery, and is becoming more of a powerful asset for brands. With this in mind, surely 2018 is the year LinkedIn begins rolling out more video sharing content? Imagine the networking opportunities!

One of the biggest downfalls and frustrations I have with LinkedIn is outdated posts that are still being shown, mainly on the app, reducing users like me, seeing more up to date news. Could this be the biggest LinkedIn algorithm change for 2018?

LinkedIn introduced more metrics on post and ad performance over the last 12 months, so this can only improve throughout the year.

LinkedIn is a dark horse though, and there will definitely be an exciting new update to how this networking site operates, making it more valuable for users, encouraging them to stay on longer.

As unpredictable as social media can be, 2018 will be a big year for all the platforms, especially for the Facebook giants!