Kate HamiltonWritten by

2018 Social Media Trends That Matter

Trends and statistics can tell us a lot about what’s successful. When it comes to social media, these facts inform our strategic direction and help us reach our goals. Over the course of a three-part series, I’ll share social media trends, statistics by social media channel, recruitment marketing trends that matter in 2018 and offer insights on how to tailor these concepts to your own strategies.

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Just last year, the total number of active social media users worldwide surpassed 3 billion. Put another way, 40% of the globe uses at least one social channel. And 97% of users between 16 and 65 logged into at least one channel in the past month. With such an engaged globe, it’s no wonder so much focus has been put on how to leverage social as a marketing and communication channel to engage consumers, voters and job candidates alike.

So what social media trends matter most? Let’s take a look at six trends and supporting stats that you should factor into your 2018 strategy.

Everyone’s Online!

Well, maybe not everyone. But with seven out of 10 Americans using social media, it sure does feel like an online party these days. Interestingly, 73% of online female users are getting social, compared to 65% of online male users. With stats like those, it makes sense some channels skew toward women’s interests. The future very well may be female, if the trend continues.

Take Pinterest, for instance, which continues to evolve its bulletin board-style platform to be visually interesting, filled with inspiration for your perfect wedding, tips on the latest interior decor and ideas on what’s for dinner. That said, there’s still opportunity to share career tips and thought leadership content to audiences that seek inspiration. Pinterest’s integration of Rich Pins, which provide even more detail and facilitate clicks, can provide additional information that incites action.

Audience Activity Varies

Active social users are spending more than two hours daily on social on average. The key in engaging these active users is acknowledging how they spend that time and on which channels. Facebook still captures the attention spans of most audiences, with Instagram and Snapchat specifically reaching younger generations.

It’s also important to note how often users log in and when. If you ask five experts when the best time to post is, you’ll get five different answers. That’s because what works for your audience is unique to the content you’re sharing and their interest in it. Your best bet is to analyze when your audience is engaged the most and tailor your content distribution accordingly.

Remember when you’re looking at this data, you’re really looking at average audience behavior, so likely some of your audience are odd men out. To reach them, vary your approach. And for your best content, promote early, promote often and promote until it is no longer relevant.

Mobile Continues to Dominate

Mobile browsing accounts for 80% of the time users spend on social media sites. Most of that social browsing (89% of the time, in fact) is navigated through a mobile app, with the remaining 11% spent on websites. So it’s critical to tailor your message to users’ mobile, and mobile app, behavior to create experiences that adapt to a smaller screen. Leverage mobile-only experiences such as Facebook’s Canvas, tailored specifically for the mobile device. And don’t forget to consider where you’re sending your audience. If your career site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll potentially lose their interest.

With 5 billion monthly users worldwide communicating via messaging apps, it’s no wonder so many are trying to tap into this new communication frontier. In fact, Facebook allows you to reach its 1.3 billion messaging audience through Messenger ads, which will contribute to the investment in mobile advertising that is expected to represent 72% of all U.S. digital advertising this year.

However, concern lies in the scalability of using messaging apps as a communications tactic for enterprise companies. Enter the chatbot. Its appeal is obvious: preprogram a variety of responses to interact on a one-to-one basis to provide the information a user seeks, doing it on a massive scale. Consumer chat usage is growing, with 38% of people indicating they used chat in the prior year, giving more credence to investing in the software.

In recruitment, chatbots could help assist candidates uncover basic information and get preliminary questions answered without requiring the recruiting team to be at Facebook’s beck and call. It also meets candidates where they are: navigating in and out of social channels and websites seeking decision-critical answers to make informed decisions.

Podcasts Are Gaining Listeners

Audio listening has slowly been on the rise, with more and more people turning to the easy-listening alternative to reading news and information. In fact, 26% of Americans listen to podcasts every month, which is up from 24% in 2017, and is expected to continue to rise.

Although podcasts aren’t often thought of as a top content asset, they’re relatively easy to produce and publish once you get set up. With a mic, audio software and a laptop, you can be off to the races in no time. iTunes even makes it easy for you to submit to Apple Podcasts.

“The podcast opportunity [for brands] is such that it’s a cleaner, less cluttered environment, so there’s an opportunity for advertisers to capitalize on that,” Hal Trencher, VP of Sponsorships at New York Public Radio, said at the 2017 Advertising Week in New York City.

That said, if you have a message platform, the content to support it, a couple of spokespeople to take the helm and an audience with the appetite, podcasts are a great alternative to traditional content creation.

Customer Service Is Social

It’s important to remember that your candidate pool is also your consumer audience, and thus it’s critical to treat them as such even though they’re interested in “buying” different things. That’s because a bad consumer experience can lead to a top candidate eliminating you as a potential employer, and vice versa. But a good experience can spread like wildfire: 71% of people say they are likely to recommend a brand based on a good experience.

Customer service is an art, and takes commitment on behalf of the company. Enter social media, and even more resources need to be at the ready. However, that investment can pay off. In fact, 59% of Americans think social has made it easier to resolve issues. Yet, only 11% of messages sent to brands are answered leaving a vast majority of inquiries unanswered.

In recruitment, treating candidates with a customer service touch can go a long way in converting those who fit, and turning those who don’t into ambassadors based on a pleasant experience.

Visual Content Works

If a picture is worth a thousand words, arguably video is worth a thousand pictures. And content marketing data proves this: Visual content is shared 40 times more than other content types. Millennials gravitate toward the picture- and video-heavy platforms of Instagram and Snapchat, and this generation prefers GIFs and emojis to communicate.

Developing visually appealing content and packaging messaging that is visual in nature not only reaches the growing candidate market, but also diversifies your content and maximizes your messaging.

With your smartphones, capturing engaging photography and video is a snap and, with the right plan, little color correcting and editing is needed. Activating your employee base to create and capture content provides even more avenues to shore up your asset library.

Learn More

Want to see trends and statistics for each individual channel? Check future posts here to learn more.

Kate Hamilton

About Kate Hamilton

Kate Hamilton, Director, Content Solutions, leads TMP’s team of content marketers and strategists. Kate, a trained "storyteller" and journalist, focuses on creating compelling content and astute marketing strategies that leverage technologies, social networks and online platforms to engage target audiences.

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