The end of the year is the time when many social media experts start to gaze into their crystal balls and predict the coming trends for 2018. In the age of Big Data, these pundits have a good number of studies and surveys to draw from in making their conclusions, so you can trust that these predictions are solidly based on figures, and not crystal balls. Here are some social media marketing trends to watch out for in the coming year.
RECRUITING AND JOB HUNTING ON LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is always my first starting point for looking at new trends. LinkedIn is a business-networking site that acts to connect people and help with job searches. Increasingly, LinkedIn is becoming the go-to site for both recruiters and job seekers – this past year, almost 90% of recruiters used the site both to search for and vet candidates for positions they are trying to fill. The advice of any career coach or job search company nowadays is to make sure you have a professional, complete, well-written LinkedIn profile. No longer enough to have a solid resume and well-written cover letter.
LinkedIn has positioned itself to take advantage of this growing trend by offering paid services, such as Premium Career. LinkedIn says that candidates with Premium Career are hired twice as quickly as candidates without it. A subscription allows users to message recruiters directly, see who’s viewed their profile, get a breakdown on how they compare to other applicants, have their application moved to the top of a recruiter’s list and take free online video courses on business, tech and creative skills from LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn also charges recruiters and companies to post job listings on their site. Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, stated that he wants LinkedIn to be the one site that all people head to first for recruiting and job searches in the future.
LinkedIn also complies an annual jobs report from all the data they collect, looking at which jobs are growing in popularity or emerging and which are disappearing.
Deep Patel, a writer for Entrepreneur, believes that Instagram Stories will become so popular that half of the site’s users will be taking advantage of the feature by the end of next year. Stories (similar to SnapChat) allows a user to share multiple photos and videos in a slideshow format. Stories will last for 24 hours on line before disappearing. According to Instagram, the feature has exceeded 200 million daily uses and continues to grow in popularity. Instagram claims their main site now has 800 million active monthly users and Instagram Stories users just surpassed the total number of SnapChat users. (Snapchat’s quarter-over-quarter user growth has slowed in the face of competition from Instagram and now stands at around 161 million. Snapchat, also facing stiff competition from Facebook features, may be heading down in popularity.)
Patel also believes that influencer marketing will continue to grow in popularity. Influencer marketing is, quite literally, when you hire an influencer or celebrity to help sell your products or services. Roughly 90% of businesses that use this type of marketing are confident that it helps their bottom line and plan to continue using influencers. Many brands think that getting a celebrity to promote their brand is the goal of influencer marketing, and often overlook using ‘niche influencers;’ people that may be hugely influential in their chosen niche, and have what is known as a ‘hyper-targeted’ following. For example, Donna Hull, a 66-year-old blogging about adventure travel for Baby Boomers on My Itchy Travel Feet, has tremendous influence in the rapidly growing travel market for older people. In addition to promoting travel products, she is often quoted or featured in articles about older travellers. Andrew Medal, another contributor at Entrepreneur, doesn’t think that businesses know how to take advantage of niche influencers and will have a steep learning curve as they learn how to best use this style of niche marketing.
FOCUS ON GENERATION Z
Generation Z, or ‘Gen-Z’, those born after 1998, are now starting to enter college and the workforce, and become consumers. Gen-Z are kids that have grown up in the digital age – they are ‘digital natives’- using digital sites is second-nature to them and where they turn first for advice, information and news and they are used to shopping online. (Over half of them want to work for themselves or set up their own companies.) They are likely to follow influencers in areas that interest them. According to a Goldman-Sachs survey, Gen-Zs number almost 70 million, more than the Millennial generations and have a ‘less idealistic, more pragmatic perspective on the world.’ Gen-Z’ers control 44 billion of their own spending power and influence household spending in at least 93% of their families.
Live Streaming started out as a novelty to cover live events and has turned into a mainstream social media-marketing tool for businesses. Anything can be live streamed and any event will have an audience. (Just think of the current obsession in Bali with watching live streaming of Mt Agung as it sits on the boil waiting to erupt.) Keep in mind, writes Matt Sweetwood on Entrepreneur, that ‘your biggest audience will come from replays of a video.’ People watching online want to feel a more authentic connection with what they see, and if they feel they are watching a live event (even later) this resonates as being a more authentic experience.
SOCIAL MEDIA BYTES
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