Guest post by Christina Olivarez

Social media spending in the U.S alone is expected to increase to $17.34 billion in 2018. Digital marketing and various social media platforms have been adopted on a large enough scale, and now more and more companies are putting strategies into place. With that in mind, here are four social media trends you shouldn’t ignore in 2018.

1. Instagram Stories

Daily viewers of Instagram Stories surpassed daily Snapchat viewers just one year after launch, and the growth isn’t stopping. Many Instagram users use stories to market their products, give their audience behind the scenes look at their business and also add links to their website or shop. Recently, Instagram added new metrics to stories platform. With all these as well as video drastically outperforms all other forms of content on every test, it’s safe to say if you aren’t using stories, you should!

Pro tip: Utilize location tags, hashtags, mentions, GIFs and polls to help with the algorithm!

2. Video Content

Video is the future, not just of social media but of the Internet in general. By 2018, Cisco forecasts that 82% of all consumer Internet traffic will be video.Live and recorded video and video ads increasingly dominate our feeds across Facebook and Snapchat and are surging on Instagram, Twitter and even LinkedIn. Nearly half of businesses are already implementing social videos, with another 26% planning to implement in 2018.

Pro tip: Create a series of videos that provide value to your customers. i.e: Information about your business, an FAQ series, or “How to” tutorial videos. Think of videos that can quickly solve some of your customers problems.

3. Live streaming

About 80 percent of consumers would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82 percent would prefer live video to written social media updates. Live streaming statistics exploded in 2017, thanks in part to all the social platforms and other companies supporting the format. This is no longer a neat new way to interact with audiences—it’s an expectation for your brand.

Pro tip: You can go live during an event, create a live workshop strategy or do a live giveaway.

4. Engaging with your customers

Consumers not only love sharing personal accomplishments on social media, but they also enjoy getting responses for the milestone by brands. In fact, the data showed 41% of millennials would include a brand on a life milestone just to say thanks.

Brands are suddenly realizing the impact of social media engagement and creating lasting relationships instead of just treating social as a platform to advertise their products. It’s essential to keep your followers happy by providing a network where they can reach you. According to Instagram, at least 80% of its users already follow a brand on the network. Don’t leave your golden chances for communication behind. In 2018, it’s going to continue to be about making relationships and providing feedback when users need it the most from you.

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Christina Jovanna Olivarez is a social media strategist helping women entrepreneurs & bosses how to be intentional with their digital strategy. She empowers them by using savvy actionable practices that lead them to a more profitable business.  She’s lives in San Antonio, TX with her husband and tuxedo cat. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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