6 Social Media Trends for 2018 (and Top Social Moments of 2017)

Kayla Blevins / January 19, 2018

With 2017 behind us, (FINALLY, amirite?) it’s time to set our gaze on what’s in store in the upcoming year. In the ever-changing world of social media, 2018 is bound to have some exciting social media trends and changes. But first, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane of top social media moments of 2017. It was a full year & a wild ride. Here are just a few notable moments worth remembering:

Hilarious Moment: #BowWowChallenege

Social Media Trends 2018: Shad Moss' fake private jetSocial Media Trends 2018: Shad Moss' on a commercial flight

It all started when Lil Bow Wow (now goes by Shad Moss) tweeted a photo of a private jet, leading his followers to believe he would be aboard it on his way to NYC. Unfortunately for Shad, he was caught red-handed (or thumbed, rather) when someone sitting behind him on a commercial flight recognized him and exposed his lie.

This ignited a storm as people of the internet began posting their own #BowWowChallenge photos. A few of my personal favorites below.

Social Media Trends 2018: fake beach pictureSocial Media Trends 2018: fake bottle pictureSocial Media Trends 2018: fake stadium picture

Cringe-worthy Moment: Pepsi Ad with Kendall Jenner

We all know what this was and what it, ultimately, wasn’t. So, I’m not even going to link to it. Instead I’ll leave you the SNL spoof that couldn’t have been more amazing.

Call Crisis Communications Moment: United Flight Passenger Removal

We all watched in horror when Dr. David Dao was dragged from a Kentucky-bound United flight for refusing to depart the plane. Social media has quickly become a tool not only for connecting with friends and brands, but also for holding brands accountable for their choices and actions. This incident was escalated via social media and was viral within hours, totaling 6.8 million views in less than one day. The CEO was criticized for his first statement, in which he appeared to justify the removal of an unwilling passenger. Crisis communication plans are vital, people. If you don’t have one, get one. See our recent blog on critical elements of a crisis plan.

Social Media Trends 2018: united airlines passenger

Badass Moment: Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Stage Jump

The whole performance was legendary. The gif was in the top 25 most used gifs of the year, with 47 million views.

via GIPHY

Inspirational Moment (or movement, rather): #MeToo

On the opposite end of the spectrum, 2017 was ushered out by the inspirational and life-changing #MeToo movement. Beginning with the New York Times and New Yorker allegations that Harvey Weinstein had been sexually harassing women he worked with for decades, and progressing to many more allegations against influential men, came the #MeToo hashtag. #MeToo was used far and wide, banding together women who’ve faced sexual harassment and/or assault, and bringing the magnitude of the problem to light for many. We’re still seeing the effects and power of this movement into 2018. Read more about it here.

Social Media Trends 2018: #metoo

Alright, now that we’ve recapped some of the top social media moments of last year – in random order, here are the top 6 #social #media #trends #to #watch #for #in #2018.

1. Instagram Stories Will Continue to Boom

Stories was launched in August 2016 and as of November 2017 has more than 300 MILLION daily active users. 300 million. That’s nearly 2x that of Snapchat. Bottom line: Brands should get on board and figure out how and if Instagram stories can reach their audience in a meaningful way.

2. Reaching Facebook Audiences Will Get More Challenging

Brands and social media managers across the nation sighed with defeat last week at Facebook’s announcement of overhauling the feed to push branded content and viral videos further into the background, bringing posts by friends and family to the forefront. For brands this means Facebook is much more of a pay-to-play platform, and will likely have a huge impact on small businesses and nonprofits. Bottom line: Brands will be forced to create more compelling content, re-evaluate paid social media ad budgets and explore other platforms for getting their message across.

3. Augmented Reality Will Integrate into Social

AI is on the rise, and while it started mostly in gaming, look for it to integrate more fully in the social media world this year. From content creation to customer service to influencers (more on that later), AI has huge potential for brands. Bottom line: Keep an eye on the tools useful for this tactic; i.e. Twizoo, InsightPool, Unmetric to name a few.

4. Influencer Marketing Will Remain Relevant

Ah yes, influencer marketing is not disappearing in 2018. Know why? Because it works. Well, sort of. A survey by Collective Bias uncovered a few stats related to influencer marketing:

  • 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.
  • 30% consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Consumers can relate more to these influencers and value their opinionsmore than that of celebrity influencers. Alternatively stated, non-celebrity bloggers are 10x more likely to influence in-store purchases than celebrities.
  • While shopping at a store, 60% consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review.

Bottom line: If you haven’t already, find relevant non-celebrity influencers to integrate into your social strategy. Read more about what we’ve done at Fearey in the way of influencer marketing here.

5. Millennial Focus Will Give Way to Gen Z

Raise your hand if you’re going to miss seeing a new article about how great or how awful the millennial generation is? Didn’t think so. Welcome to center stage Gen Z, and good luck. Gen Z-ers are just entering the work force, meaning their buying power is about to become a force brands won’t want to ignore. Bottom line: Get smart by getting in the heads and hands of Gen Z.

6. Rules & Policies Will Get Stricter

Facebook messed up big time by letting 3,000+ ads spreading Russian propaganda get through during this significant thing that happens every four years called the presidential election. Look for stricter policies implemented by all major platforms moving into 2018. A few have already begun implementing changes, like The New York Times tightening policies for what reporters say on Twitter. Bottom line: Be ethical, know what’s going out on any owned channel and be accountable.

We have the highest hopes here at Fearey for the coming year, and look forward to continuing execution of creative and effective social campaigns, leveraging new and emerging trends. If you’d like a free social media audit of your brand channels, fill out this form and we’ll give it to you straight.

Despite the constant evolving of social media, #covfefe.