trendsContrary to popular belief, social media is not going anywhere. In fact, based on projections for 2018, social media is going to be playing a more integral role in online marketing for businesses.

Before diving into individual social media platforms, let’s take a look at some emerging trends in social media itself.

Video – Our attention spans continue to diminish. We’ve gotten to the point where we don’t even want to read social media posts anymore. 82% of consumers scrolling through social media content would prefer to watch a live video than read a status update. This year, more brands will begin to realize the power of live streaming and incorporate that into their monthly content strategies.

Consider adding live video to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels. Don’t overlook using produced videos for your channels and even YouTube or Vimeo as well.

Generation-Z Gen-Z are the true digital natives who will account for some 40% of consumer transactions by 2020. These are the individuals born between 1995 and 2012. The challenge for marketers will be to grab on to an audience who can’t sit still.

These people are mobile, very few even know what a desktop or laptop computer is (similar to Millennials not knowing what a rotary-dial phone was). They use the same social media platforms, but use them in different ways. More Millennials use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram while the Gen-Z’s use Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. The challenge for marketers is going to be having a presence in more places with different conversations taking place on different platforms.

Websites will play a role in this as well. Businesses who rely on their websites for online marketing will absolutely need to make sure their sites are mobile friendly – not only for Google algorithms but simply put so the Gen-Z’s can find them on their mobile devices.

When it comes to the individual social media platforms, here are some predictions for 2018.

Instagram – Instagram has been the dark horse in the social media race – until last year. The number of business Instagram accounts nearly doubled from 8mm to 15mm accounts and generated some $4 billion in global advertising. Instagram continues to have the highest rate of organic engaged users than any other social channel. If your business isn’t an “image-based” business, you can (and should) still have a presence on Instagram.

LinkedIn – When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn about 2 years ago, the word on the street was that they were looking to move LinkedIn back to acting as a recruiting tool and less about B2B social media marketing and advertising. They were wrong.

LinkedIn has been making interface changes on an ongoing basis since the acquisition and is committed to revamping their advertising opportunities to better compete with Facebook.

Twitter – Twitter continues to circle the drain. 2017 was the first year any social networking channel posted a net zero new accounts. Their stock has plummeted and is ripe for an acquisition. That doesn’t mean abandon efforts on Twitter but at a minim, pay close attention to what is going on with that platform and how it impacts your online and social media marketing efforts.

Facebook – Video and live video will continue to be important on Facebook. Facebook videos see 135% more organic reach than videos. Facebook reviews will become important going forward as well.

CEOs are finally embracing the fact that social media is viable and showcasing the “behind the scenes” personalities of their people and their business and how that translates into increased business.

Facebook will continue to clean up their act as well. Dormant Facebook business accounts will disappear. Inactive or fake profiles will disappear. The pages these profiles have “liked” will likely see a reduced number of people who “like” their page but what does it matter? They haven’t engaged with the brand anyhow (fake people can’t like things). #FakeNews, overly promoting, or engagement-baiting content will see a reduction in reach but pages that continue to promote quality content designed to inspire engagement from an audience that is connected to their brand will see little to no impact from the changes Facebook announced.

What are your plans for your 2018 social media marketing efforts? How do these changes impact how you see or how you will use social media to showcase your company, products, or services?