From geofilters, to live video content, the world of social media is forever evolving. So much so, that it can be tricky for brands to ensure their content engages with the right people.

So what can we expect to see make waves on social this year? And how can companies make sure they aren’t just shouting into the void?

Here are the top social media trends for 2018.

image of smart phone showing different icons.

Instagram stories are on the rise – sorry Snapchat!

Instagram stories turn 1 this year, and what a successful first year it’s been! The app currently has 250 million daily users, compared to Snapchat’s 166 million, and that figure’s growing rapidly every day. The ‘story’ feature has been great for brands who want to increase their visibility on social media, as it has provided them with an authentic method of reaching lots of people, fast. More on this type of ephemeral content below.

Ephemeral content – don’t miss out.

Ephemeral content (content that’s only available for a short time) is another trend for 2018. First was Snapchat, then came Instagram, and now Facebook has joined the party with it’s ‘story’ feature. This year we can expect to see brands taking full advantage of these platforms to engage their target audience with real, of-the-moment content. Whether it’s a competition, challenge, hashtag or serious information – social media users won’t want to miss it, for fear of getting ‘virtual fomo’.

Gamification – on your marks, get set, go!

We’re set to see even more gamification this year as brands create games to increase their engagement on social media. A great example of this is the recent #CatchDrogon campaign from HBO for Game of Thrones where GoT fans were sent into a frenzy, trying to virtually ‘catch’ a dragon from the series. Gamification doesn’t always have to be this complex though, it could be as simple as an online puzzle or interactive quiz.

Influencer marketing – reality stars, turned brand advocates.

There’s no doubt in the fact that we’ve already seen a huge influx of influencers dominating social media channels over the past few years (think Kardashians),  and this year it’s set to increase even further. In fact, over 90% of marketers who choose to use an influencer to promote their product or service believe it’s a successful method of raising brand awareness. This year we can expect to see more and more brands opting to use influencers to promote their campaigns, instead of more traditional marketing methods.

Augmented Reality – bringing brands to life.

Augmented Reality might still seem like a gimmick, but this year it’s set to become a popular feature amongst social media users. Snapchat have already incorporated it into the latest update of the app, allowing users to project their Bitmoji and other animations into the ‘real world’ – and there’s more to come.

Brands are likely to take full advantage of this new technology by allowing consumers to try out products in their own home. Due to the quick and interactive nature of AR, it’s likely to be a real hit for marketers.

By Lizzie de Jong