2018 State of Social

Every year — or rather EVERY DAY — the social media game is changing. This past year we’ve seen a increase in features on our favorite platforms, including the rise of Instagram Stories, Twitter’s new 280 character rule, and so much more.

As we jump into 2018, here’s what you can might see —

1. Instagram Story

With > 300 million people using Instagram Stories every day, this feature is powerful.

Why? They appear at the top of feeds. In fact, your story will probably be seen before your post you posted that same day.

Lumberjack Tip — Make Instagram Story a part of your Instagram planning.

  1. Be strategic, storyboard your story and utilize links for important call to actions. While Instagram story is not as “picture perfect” as your main feed, it still needs to be engaging. Otherwise, your audience will swipe away and not finish your story.

2. Once you have the content down — check in with your numbers. Instagram insights show you how many people viewed your stories, how many replies you got, where people exited and swiped away. Use this information to help you plan future content. What stories had people messaging you back? At what point in the story did your viewership drop off? Look at what numbers show you and plan smarter and wiser.

2. Augmented Reality

With the release of the new iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, Apple has stepped up the augmented reality experience and is bringing it closer to consumers. There’s no doubt that social media platforms will start adopting these as well. Think the Bitmoji filter integration of Snapchat, but with real people!

3. It’s all about Generation Z

We’re shifting away from millennials and veering towards Generation Z. What does this mean for day to day strategy? If your focus was on Facebook only, you’ll want to take on apps that Gen Z like most — Snapchat and Instagram.

Watch out for brand fatigue — Generation Z is likely to get bored with brand-related promotional content. They like their content personalized and authentic.

Translation — Make your content personalized and if you can, localized too.

  1. Integrate them into what you’re doing. User generated content is king. Look at what your audience is posting and reach out and get them involved!
  2. Be as authentic as possible and provide a behind the scenes look at what your doing. But, remember — choose people whom Gen Zers can relate to!
  3. Show, don’t tell. Get creative and plan it out. Don’t state the obvious (what you’re doing) — show what you are doing and in the most visual and interactive way possible.

4. Expansion of Live Streaming

Facebook Live and other live streaming show no signs of slowing down. Expect to see more livestreams, 360 incorporated into live video and multi-source streams to give different viewpoints to the users.

In 2018, it would be smart to incorporate live streaming into your monthly plans. Think interviews, Q&As, behind-the-scenes video content and live events.

Lumberjack Tip: Don’t just put anyone in front of the camera. Choose someone who has a great social presence. When they speak, people are drawn to them and want to listen to their every word.

5. Bye Bye Twitter

Well, maybe not quite. Twitter usage has been decreasing over the years so a platform overhaul maybe in store.

Lumberjack Tip: If you’re using Twitter, continue to use it and connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Use social listening to respond back to chatter and monitor engagement. Share news your audience needs to know and be timely. For real time notices and alerts — there’s no denying the impact of Twitter.

6. Video, Video, Video

Videos have proven time and time again that they earn higher engagement and reach on social.

Facebook prioritizes live video content over video content, and video content over other types of content.

The Stats

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they see it in a video and only 10% retain when they see it in the text.

  • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter
  • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week.
  • 87% of online marketers use video content.

It’s estimated that by 2019, a video will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic.

So it’s time to take video content seriously.

Lumberjack Tip: Make videos part of your overall communication plan.

It doesn’t need to be a polished video. Our top for 2018 so far was a video of snow falling at night (not polished at all). But it garnered 861 shares and more importantly, got people talking (a must in the new Facebook age) with 361 comments.

The point is to start thinking of how videos could be a part of your overall strategy. Is your area involved in the opening of a new classroom or program? Use your phone and record the ribbon cutting and share the excitement with your followers.

7. Declining Organic Social Reach

You’ve looked at your numbers and you’re probably asking why? You put out great content — some of your best work. Why didn’t it get the attention it deserved?

For starters, know that the reach is NOT in your favor.

Between January and July 2016, publishers saw a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook. — Social Flow

Not only is reach declining but engagement too.

Why? Facebook is placing a premium on friends and family interactions. The updated newsfeed will prioritize posts by friends, family and groups. Unpaid content shared by businesses and publishers will be on the losing end.

Literally. Now more than ever you need to be selective about what you post. Put your highest quality content out and look to get as much interaction as you can.

Facebook’s algorithm favors conversations. Use language and post images and videos that will get people talking. From reminiscing about their experiences to sharing tips and advice — go to your audience and make them part of your conversation.

To be seen, you’re going to need some money. Now’s the perfect time to allocate funding for social media if you haven’t already.

Considering social ads?

Focus Facebook advertising on these areas in particular:

  • Promote your best posts — Have a post that did pretty well(engagement rate greater than 10%)? Boost it and get it in front of more eyes.
  • Remarketing: If people have visited your page once or twice, they’ll likely be back. Show your ads to people who’ve made a connection with you.
  • Custom Audiences: Upload your own list. Think email marketing on Facebook.

Look Outward, Look Inward

Yes, there are changes ahead. And yes, the road looks long. But together, we will face them, conquer them and Lumberjack on.

It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.