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What are your social plans for next year?  How are you planning to reach your target audience, and who is going to be socializing with one another, next year?  We tend to underestimate, by default, how our lives are going to change in the future.  

Most of us have a tendency to think that next year will end about the same way that this year did. Also, we have a tendency to under-appreciate technological progress, on a smaller scale at least.

Social media continues to evolve continuously. And in 2018, there will be a handful of very important trends that will dictate the way this evolution continues to unfold.

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1. In 2018 augmented reality will take off finally.  

Approximately five years ago, a pair of glasses called Google Glass was introduced by Google with the promise that augmented reality (AR) would be brought to the mainstream. Which would change the way we interact and live with one another. However, it flopped.  

Currently, there are multiple companies – which include Snap, Google, and Facebook – that are in competition to enter or re-enter the Augmented Reality space.  

Now that we have seen more sophisticated technology (including better visual rendering and faster internet speeds), increased VR headset sales and several highly successful AR apps, 2018 might be the year finally that AR really takes off.

If it does, and it is able to stay mainstream, you know that social media is going to be among the most popular applications for this technology. By bringing together people over long distances and allowing social interactions to be done via a completely new UI.

2. Live streaming is set to continue its meteoric rise in popularity.

An argument could be made that 2017 was dominated by live streaming.

Around 80 percent of consumers prefer watching a live video instead of reading a blog from a brand, and 82 percent prefer live video over social media updates.  

In 2017 the statistics for live streaming exploded, and this was partly due to all of the other companies and social platforms that supported it.

3. Open source and privacy will take precedence.

Using social media does require you to forfeit some forms of privacy.  

Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms have tried cracking down on the system being abused by some users. And are attempting to keep their customers informed regarding their privacy rights.  However, some users still want to have an app that will not sell their private information to any advertisers.  

4. Gamification will be extended to social media apps.

People who use apps love interacting with one another, but they love game-like experiences as well.

So many companies earn substantial revenues from immersive gaming experiences and micro-transaction. So it is just a matter of time before there is an app that attempts to blend gaming and social media in a more organic way.  

Time will tell to see what type of app could come out of the hybridization. But in 2018, it is likely that it will have a significant impact.

5. Ad growth will continue to increase.

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Early on in their development stages, the highest priority for social platforms was building their user base.  Now that they are established and long-term viability has been proven, their major concern is with revenue now.

A majority of social media brands already have started to shift their focus towards generating more advertising.  The shift in this direction will be even larger.

6. Brand fatigue will mean that the current formula for social media will need to change.

 In 2017, over 50 million small businesses used social media page for interacting with customers.  There is a reason why social media is so popular.  However, the increased number of businesses using it also means there is, even more, brand written content as well.  

There are signs that this is leading to some brand fatigue, which makes it less likely that consumers will engage with branded or sponsored content compared to content coming from independent sources.  Brands will be under more pressure to make use of more independent and better verifiable sources.  

7. Personal and local experiences will increase greatly in popularity.

Partly due to brand fatigue, 2018 is going to be a year of more personal and local experiences.

Now that Google has placed a greater on search results for local businesses, and online consumers are wanting more interpersonal, local interactions, it is expected that there will be in an increase in local business owners looking to reach out to people, and engaging more within their local communities. That will benefit both consumers and entrepreneurs, in addition to the communities where they do business.   

Will these trends completely change the way that social media is used by consumers and brands?  Probably not. However, the year should be very interesting.  

If you want to stay competitive within the social media marketing world and make sure that your competitors don’t pass you by, then keep up with the most recent changes. Don’t be hesitant to update the strategy for your brand to take advantage of new opportunities, expectations, and trends.

You can also get assistance from an experienced social media marketing company to ensure you have a modern campaign, to give yourself a greater chance to connect with your audience and stand out from the crowd.

About The Author

This article was written by Kathy Parker. Establishing her career in the digital age, she was able to learn and practice the art and power of digital marketing. She loves moulding young minds and motivating them to go out of their comfort zone. Kathy also likes to share her ideas about ranking websites through writing.