As we come closer to a new year, what will be the big social media trends to make an impact in 2018? Well read my predictions on what social media trends I think will help you market your fitness or sports business.
Social media advertising – make it personal
With organic reach dropping, paid content is definitely worth investing in. Whether you seek conversions or engagement, sponsored ads on social media can help you achieve this.
Now here is the problem, people’s resistance to general ads on social media is increasing. The newsfeeds of social users are filling up with piles of content so a lot of posts, tweets or pins are going unseen. There’s no doubt social media algorithms make it harder for businesses to promote organic content.
The majority of these algorithms have one simple purpose–to make its users happy with the content they see in their feeds. But this is making it difficult for brands to be seen if they only publish organic social content.
With these updated algorithms, users will only see the personal posts or ads that are more relevant to them. What this means is your content must be personalised. It should touch a nerve of the audience. The need for quality and engaging content has never been higher. To ensure you get your money’s worth whether it’s paid or organic, content has to have a purpose, personal and be engaging.
Videos are going to play a more important role than ever. And I am going to be bold and say video MUST be a part of your 2018 social media strategies. If you are looking to capture someone’s attention in three seconds or less, you need to be using videos.
With more use of video, I anticipate the quality of videos will greatly improve so it is going to be worthwhile investing some extra money into developing high quality eye catching videos to capture the viewer’s attention.
Live video is even better!
Going forward, fitness businesses will need to incorporate more visuals and videos. It’s about human interaction, emotions, relating to people which gives Facebook live (which offers live streaming) an advantage over traditional videos.
Think of Facebook Live as the rebirth of live television. Back in the day, TV was always live. Now, TV is new again and incorporates interpersonal connection.
So look to really capitalise on live video. Consider doing a regular show (just like on TV). Focus on your storytelling skills – make that connection with your audience through live videos.
Messaging Apps are becoming more and more popular
Brands will lean on messaging apps more than ever. 2018 will see a significant rise in businesses and brands using Facebook Messenger as a proactive marketing tool rather than simply a responsive private messaging app.
With over 1.2 billion people on Messenger every month (according to Facebook), marketers using Messenger, especially those who are first on the trend, can expect explosive reach and engagement rates. And on this topic…
Facebook Messenger Ads
If you want to reach more customers and prospects using Facebook Messenger, you can now try Messenger ads.
There are two different “types” of Facebook Messenger ads:
- Facebook Messenger as a destination – these ads appear in the newsfeed, and when clicked on, open inside of a Facebook message (instead of sending traffic to a URL)
- Facebook Messenger as a placement or sponsored messages and appear inside the Messenger Inbox (just like you were receiving a message from a friend)
It is worthwhile taking advantage of this channel as this is a fairly new feature Facebook are offering and is a good way to reach your audience where there is less traffic and competition.
The rise of story telling
First seen on Snapchat a few years ago, Instagram introduced Instagram Stories which lets users post videos and photos which will disappear after 24 hours.
Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat – and Instagram Stories is just over one year old! At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018.
Facebook has also launched its own version – Facebook stories – short user-generated photo and video collections that can be viewed up to two times then disappear after 24 hours.
This means that fitness brands interested in connecting with a younger audience, must take the time to master Instagram and Facebook stories. Disappearing content might sound scary to you, but with its extreme popularity, it cannot be ignored. Content that is short-lived is considered by customers to be more authentic versus sponsored ads or brand-focused posts that last longer and push customers to purchase. Plus the content is gone within hours, so it increases the fear of missing out with potential customers and this may spur your audience into action!
Remember the craze of Pokemon Go? What made it so wildly popular was the use of Augmented Realty – a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
Snapchat may have started this but Facebook is now hot on the heels. Facebook has lost it’s cool edge over the years (mainly because everyone’s parents have joined up) so expect to see Facebook use more of this going forward. This could be a great way to position your fitness business in a completely new way.
Bots will be big!
First what is a bot? Well I am not talking about those “bad” bots that take over your computer and compromise your security. I am talking about “good” bots – these are automation systems that instantly interact with your customers and prospects.
So if your customers message you with questions, comments (or complaints) on social media or if you want to want to automate the most common customer interactions, then you definitely want to consider a Chatbot.
Customers expect lightning-fast (almost instant) responses from businesses – Chatbots can help you deliver the right answer the moment a customer asks and can actually do some of the selling for you.
Many bots integrate with Facebook Messenger and Twitter, bringing you a social automation that was previously not possible.
Influencer marketing involves partnering with people who have influence over others. In the old days (yes my day again), newspaper writers and television broadcasters had tremendous influence. Now, in certain online or social media communities, people on YouTube or Instagram are famous and influential in a way that’s similar to big-name media celebrities.
Again this is not new but I see the use of influencers growing in 2018. Influencer marketing can help you cut through the noise in a different way than paid social. Plus, influencer marketing is ideally more authentic and usually leads to more engagement.
Don’t think you have to spend thousands of dollars either partnering with an influencer. Instead of using celebrities, consider micro influencers, perfect for those on a budget. These micro influencers usually have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, are experts in their industry and are known for their ability to influence people’s opinion or purchase decisions.
Highly targeted micro-influencers can help your small business gain visibility, engage an audience, and promote your services. You can find them using hashtags, social media channels and Google – just make sure their audience matches your target market, they are authentic, engaging with their audience and is relevant to your business.
So expect a lot of exciting new development in the world of social media in 2018. By keeping up to date with what is happening this can help give your business that edge over the rest.