Effective online marketing mixed with creative storytelling have always ruled the roost and have continuously been a source of competitive advantage for today’s top social influencers across the world. However, the industry continues to evolve at a very rapid pace. So, it is essential that today’s best social influencers and content creators pay attention to emerging trends in the industry, plan-ahead, and adapt before competitors do so in order to derive maximum benefit out of the latest marketing strategies.

It is not only crucial to be able to do new and better things but also important to listen to existing followers and provide them with more seamless and integrated means of information. This can only be achieved by adopting a more holistic view of online marketing and bringing in innovative promotional ideas while also keep followers engaged. Therefore, we thought we would share a list of the most important and innovative marketing trends that you should be looking out for in 2018.

Before we dive into the tips, we should mention that obviously there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, so it’s a question of testing what works best for you and your audience.

GROWING USE OF AR

Augmented reality (AR) is, and will be, one of the most popular and effective marketing strategies in 2018. A market that was ushered in by the famous Pokémon Go is now expected to grow to USD 117.4 billion by 2022 according to a recent report by MarketResearch.com. With the increasing importance of our mobile phones and the ability of apps to better integrate with AR, brands will be churning out more and more AR games and ads in order to engage customers. IKEA’s new app, The Place, is definitely a step ahead in AR and the best way to buy furniture now.

RISE OF MICRO-INFLUENCERS

2018 will see the rise of micro-influencers and the decline of macro-influencers. Micro-influencers usually have an audience size between 1000 to 100,000 followers whereas the size may go up by more than 1000 times for macro-influencers. Macros are mostly instrumental in driving up awareness but do little to push up sales. Companies are going to focus more on micro-influencers and their tactics in order to eventually seal the deal.

POWER OF VOICE SEARCH AND PODCAST CONTENT

Voice search has already seen a surge in 2017 and will continue to grow in 2018. Platforms like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Assistant will continue to rise in popularity and will make a place in people’s homes sooner than you can imagine. People will find it increasingly easier to converse with these chatbots and depend on them for their daily needs.

You’re probably wondering, great so why is voice search so important to you as a social content influencer? The answer is; audiences are increasingly turning to voice in order to consume their content. That’s where Podcasts come in…

Whether it’s for a laugh or to learn something new, nearly 68 million Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis -- that’s nearly one in four people across the country.

For the most part, listeners tend to be millennials. In fact, of the 68 million listeners, 44 percent are between 18 and 34 years old. Not only that but they also tend to be people who hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree (57 percent).

INCREASING DOMINANCE OF VIDEO MARKETING

Videos, both live and recorded, are churning out to be the most influential of all content on the web. They are an effective medium to gain traction on social media. Because attention spans are decreasing, and customers are looking for more video content from marketers, influencers must try harder to get their video priorities right to achieve higher ROI’s for their clients.

THE AGE OF EPHEMERAL CONTENT AND STORYTELLING

Ephemeral ‘Story’ content is content that lasts only for a short time such as 24 hours before disappearing. Ephemeral is gaining in popularity on platforms like Instagram and Facebook where users can add to their stories anytime during the day. This differs from traditional marketing tactics and provide users more with a more authentic, real-time content and generates a fear of missing out which nobody wants to do. National Geographic’s storytelling campaign is a glaring example of how high-quality social content can engage millions of global followers. And nothing better than storytelling at the right time.

RISING BARS FOR CONTENT PERSONALIZATION

Content personalization will proliferate across all stages of the sales funnel. Again, as attention spans decrease, influencers will focus on personalizing every interaction with their followers. HubSpot recently concluded, from one of their experiments, that marketing campaigns directed at users performed 42% better than generic campaigns. This will motivate social influencers to create and curate smart and dynamic content instead of static stuff.

THE WRAP UP

An exciting year in online marketing lies ahead for all of us. 2018 may come with its own set of surprises or may give us very predictive results. But it is imperative for influencers to gear up in the field of digital marketing and accept the more challenging aspects of AR, chatbots, and native advertising in order to stay ahead in the game.

A brief look at the current trends clearly shows that effective online marketing will incorporate innovative marketing ideas, creative and captivating content, and an ever-growing dependence on technology. A healthy mix of these three very important components will be the key to successful influencing in 2018.