Social Media Trends set for 2018

Social Media Trends

2017 was a year of great change in social media, and this year will be no different in terms of social media trends. The digital world is constantly improving and evolving, and every day an improvement is made to a social site to propel it above its competition and into the future.

With great change, comes great responsibility, so users and businesses must prepare themselves for another year of transformation among the social media giants. Brands are battling it out for their posts to be seen and engaged with by their audience and one of the best ways to do this is by jumping on the ‘trend train’ and identifying what will be big this year.

Augmented Reality

Last year we saw virtual reality introduced into social media more, with social sites like Facebook working on Spaces and Snapchat creating filters which showed dancing hotdogs and cartoon versions of users doing laundry or eating a burrito on a bench. Also, an app plunged into the realm of virtual reality, as it combined Twitter with an iPhone’s front camera, so a user could send tweets and communicate with friends, while having their surroundings visible to their followers. However, this year we should expect to see a lot more of VR in social media.

As Instagram takes it first steps into augmented reality with its introduction to filters, that are similar to Snapchat’s selfie lenses, and users are likely to see an increase in this direction too. We’ve already seen some brands have their own filters on Snapchat and this is a social media trend likely to be more common in 2018. This year will be the era that business truly becomes linked with technology.

Advertising and User-Generated Content

Social advertisers are most likely to boost their services and products on different social media sites this year, such as Instagram and Snapchat, which have both been improving and adding to their advertising tools.

There is also going to be a much bigger push towards user-generated content. In terms of marketing, brands are likely to turn their attention to pictures of their products or services posted via a consumer’s social media. For example, a salon is much more likely to gain engagement by reposting a customer’s new hair, than simply posting products that they sell. Reposting makes the account seem more realistic and personal. It’s also a great way to get others to send and tag the business in photos too. For example, if a jewellery shop asks, “Who got one of our necklaces for Christmas? Send us your photos,” the business is likely to pick up way more engagement as customers may send photos to get them liked or retweeted by the company.

Live Streaming

One of the biggest social media trends set to change the year is live content. In the transition to the New Year, over 10 million people around the world live streamed their celebrations to their Facebook friends – a massive increase from last year’s count.

Live content is engaging and in real-time, meaning an audience can see how a product is used or what a company is doing. It’s an easier way to get people to see your video and can be saved as a recording to be posted afterwards. It is also a more personal way to connect with customers and appropriate for the current generation who are used to ephemeral content – it bridges the gap between short-term, twenty-four hour posts and videos that can be reviewed at a later date.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #382

Digital ad revenue hits all-time high in 2017
2017 is set to become another record-breaking year for digital advertising, as the latest figures from the IAB predict ad spend will hit $85 billion globally for the full 2017 calendar year. If correct, the figures would represent a 17 per cent growth on 2016. Mobile was the star player, capturing 54 percent of all revenue, and digital video was the only desktop ad format to show growth.

It was a record-breaking New Year for Facebook Inc.
Facebook Live has proven just how mainstream live streaming via social networks has become, as more than 10 million users took to the platform to ring in the New Year with friends over live stream – up 47 per cent from the previous New Year’s Eve. Facebooked-owned WhatsApp also shared in the New Year’s joy, as users sent over 75 billion messages of cheer – including more than 13 billion images and 5 billion videos – making New Year’s Eve 2017 the platform’s biggest messaging day ever.

To cap off Facebook’s successful end to 2017, the platform announced that there are now over 2 billion conversations held between its users and businesses every month, with more than 200,000 Messenger bots now active on the platform. Over 100 million users have also interacted with Facebook’s ‘Suggestions from M’ feature in November alone.

Instagram launches new Recommended content feature
Instagram has launched its new ‘Recommended for You’ function, which will contain three to five suggested posts, based on those that have been liked by other accounts users follow. The posts will appear as a separate, clearly labelled section to differentiate it from users’ own home feeds.

Instagram tests sharing Stories to WhatsApp
As part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts to better integrate Stories across its network of platforms, Instagram is testing a few feature which will allow users to share Stories directly to WhatsApp, as a WhatsApp Status. The feature is currently being tested with a small number of users but, once live, will offer users the option to tap to share to WhatsApp from the Instagram sharing screen.

Facebook tackles engagement bait in latest wave of updates
Having already taken on clickbait, Facebook’s most recent update to its News Feed algorithm will penalise posts from users and businesses which attempt to increase engagement by asking users to like, share or comment. Teams at Facebook have already reviewed and categorised hundreds of thousands of posts in order to enable the algorithm to detect and downgrade posts.

Diageo pulls advertising from Snapchat
Following an ASA ruling that it had not taken “sufficient” care to prevent its ads from reaching kids and teenagers, Diageo has pulled all of its advertising from Snapchat until it can be sure its ads stay away from users under the legal drinking age. Following its ruling, the ASA has also banned Diageo from ever running a sponsored lens for its Captain Morgan rum brand.

Snapchat looks to take video beyond its own platform
Snapchat is reportedly developing a new video product, ‘Stories Everywhere’, which will let users share Stories outside the Snapchat app. The new feature is designed to boost Snapchat’s presence beyond the core mobile app and will focus on increasing user growth and making Snapchat a more engaging destination for news, sports, and other premium video and editorial content. The new product launch comes as part of a wider restructure of Snapchat’s content team, following the recent redesign of the platform.

Snapchat considers introducing non-skippable ads
The social network is said to be seriously considering plans to introduce a new rule which would see users forced to watch three seconds of an ad, before being able to skip. This follows recent criticism of Snapchat’s business model and if approved, the new suggestion would see the platform introduce a skip button similar to YouTube’s.

Samsung became first UK brand to run a sponsored animated filter
We Are Social client Samsung helped users celebrate the joys of gifting during the festive season with the launch of the UK’s first sponsored animated filter on Snapchat, as part of the brand’s 2017 Holiday campaign, “Giving is the gift to be shared”. The launched came as the platform’s sponsor animated filters became available to all brands, with Dunkin’ Donuts being the first brand globally to utilise the new ad format.

Twitter updates its Direct Message feature for businesses
Twitter is seeking to better enable brands and businesses to provide better customer service via the platform with its latest wave of updates. The most notable is that users will now be able to tell if their messages are being read and responded to by a customer service agent, or a bot. The numerous updates also include editable and namable welcome messages for brands, and Twitter’s new Account Activity API (application-programming interface) in beta for developers.

Audi asks children to describe their vision for the future of cars
Audi has attempted to tackle scepticism around AI and future technology in cars with the launch of its new “Believe in the future of driving” campaign, aimed at capturing the imagination and excitement of children towards the future of automotive technology. We worked with Audi to create the video, which sees six children interact with a talking car about what they think the cars of the future will look, sounds and act like.

Weight Watchers signs DJ Khaled as social ambassador
Popular weight-loss brand Weight Watchers has signed music producer DJ Khaled as its newest social media ambassador after he lost over 20 pounds following their programme. The appointment kickstarts the brand’s new #WWFreestyle campaign and features existing brand ambassadors including Oprah Winfrey. The news sent shares in the brand up as much as 7.3 per cent.

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PrettyGreen Challenges Manchester City and Saracens to ‘Overcome The Odds’

When our pals over at Betsafe asked us if we fancied helping them produce a content series involving some of the biggest sports stars in the country, it’s fair to say we said ‘yes’ pretty sharpish.


Launching today, the ‘Overcome The Odds’ series sees Premier League runaway leaders Manchester City face their biggest test of the season so far…in a range of challenges against current European Rugby champions, Saracens.


With Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and Danilo leading the line for City, and Jamie George, Schalk Burger, Ben Spencer and Richard Barrington representing the Sarries, the players were joined by ex-Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given and former Saracens player Jim Hamilton to act as captains for their respective teams.


The first episode, ‘The Drop’, features the Manchester City players are tasked with controlling balls of different shapes and sizes that have been dropped from nearly 20ft and trapping them into a tiny marked out space to complete the challenge.


Running throughout January, with a different episode launching every Monday and Thursday through Betsafe’s social channels, upcoming challenges include aiming kicks into a 20m high crane, taking shots at goal in the face of a wind machine, and catching balls through a wall of smoke.


Change to: Ditch Your Mass Marketing for Mass Customization Marketing

The Emergence of Mass Customization Marketing

Mass producing just won’t cut it anymore. Consumers want individualized, distinctive products—they want what is known as mass customization.

Mass customization can range anywhere from custom printed packaging to custom shipping. It can entail personalized designs on candy bars or a unique granola blend with user-selected ingredients.

If you choose to embrace this change, a challenge may lie ahead for you. This increase in mass customization shouldn’t reflect an increase in costs for the consumers. With this retail industry trend, consumers shouldn’t scoff at the dollar sign of these products but rather be delighted with the equal pricing and feel an urge to grab the product off the shelf and throw it into their cart.


Who’s Leading this Trend?

Millennials, of course—who else would be spearheading this? Nearly 25% of the U.S. population is between the ages of 21 to 39, so what they have to say has a whole lot of weight.

And one thing a large percentage of millennials have said and agreed on is that brands “say something about who I am, my values and where I fit in.” They have a personal connection to their brands. To that name, they want intimate products that say something about them. Manufacturers have to flip the switch and take their packaging designs and packaging products and make them unique and creative.


How It’ll Affect Your Bottom Line

Whether you’re in or out, mass customization is becoming more of an expectation rather than an extravagant trend. It’s evolving into a standard because consumers want some type of say in what they buy.

But at the end of the day, you’ll be able to boost sales, expand your offerings, promote your brand, gain an edge on competitors and most importantly engage directly with consumers. Just look at Coca-Cola’s stellar success with their “your name on a bottle” promotion—and those bottles are still being sold today.

The facts are the facts—no alternative facts here—and brands who offer customization enjoy a 50% higher loyalty rate. So, give the people what they want, and they’ll keep coming back for more—and more.

Is it really possible to deliver a unique insight for football fans online in 2018?

The world of football is of media for fans to consume.


If there isn’t a live game to watch, you could easily spend your day with Sky Sports News HQ on in the background, listening to one of the multiple football podcasts, reading the latest features and match reports on your laptop, while flicking through the views of your favourite football journalists on social media. And if you fancy spending your time even more wisely, you can also Tweet about your team’s misfortunes before having to quickly delete these posts when they go ahead.


That isn’t just an insight into how we spend a large part of our Christmas break but also an insight into just how many options there are for football fans right now. So we’d perhaps be forgiven over at PrettyGreen Towers for thinking the chances of someone developing a new platform that offers something different for football fans to consume were slim.


However, when we heard that there was a new website launching that would essentially be a platform for elite coaches and managers to discuss the beautiful game, it would have two of our favourite sports journalists in charge and even has the backing of an ex-Chelsea and Manchester United Chief Executive, we changed our minds faster than Philippe Coutinho ran to Liverpool airport once Barcelona’s offer had been accepted.


The Coaches’ Voice launches today, with Tony Hodson as Head of Content and Sarah Shephard as Deputy Head of Content, so we had a quick chat with Sarah to find out what it’s all about.




So what exactly is The Coaches’ Voice?


The Coaches’ Voice is a new football website that provides a platform for elite coaches and managers in the game to discuss their unique journeys, philosophies and ideas. Everything you read and watch on The Coaches’ Voice comes direct from the managers, so there’s no spin or contrived sensationalism, just the genuine thoughts and insight of the individuals who devote their lives to the game. In keeping with the theme of providing tactical insight, the site will also provide detailed match reports on a minimum of two big games a week, compiled by a team of top Spanish coaches.


How did you and Tony come together to work on this?


After the closure of Sport magazine early last year, I spent three months working at The Times, while Tony enjoyed a period of ‘gardening leave,’ that allowed him to explore what he wanted to do next. During this period, he was put in touch with Peter Kenyon (the former Chief Executive of Manchester United and Chelsea) who, together with his business partner, had been working on the idea of a new football website dedicated to managers and coaches. They decided Tony was the right person to take the website forward in terms of content and shortly afterwards I got a call from him asking if I would be interested in joining him. It was a no-brainer for me. I’ve always been fascinated by what separates the very best coaches from the good ones, and the good ones from the not-so-good ones. And I was excited by the idea of producing feature-led content that seeks to get to the heart of all the challenges and complexities of coaching.


You’ve both come from fairly traditional ‘print’ journalism backgrounds, is the switch to an online publication a conscious decision?


Yes and no! It was a combination of an ever-shrinking print journalism scene, meaning there are precious few opportunities around and the knowledge that there are far more possibilities for progress and expansion in the digital realm.


Do you think that the growing trend of ‘click bait’ stories has added more pressure to journalists to turn articles round quickly and perhaps removed some quality control?


I think the ‘click bait’ trend is more responsible for taking the focus away from what should be the real purpose of journalism: to uncover stories and report the facts. Instead, many are under pressure to produce pieces that are purely designed to hook readers in, often regardless of whether they are factually correct.


The clamour to ‘be first’ on social media is probably more responsible for the pressure on journalists to turn articles around quickly. In doing so, some prioritise getting the piece online over getting things right.


What do recent impactful interviews, like Daniel Taylor’s for The Guardian, have on the industry as a whole?


I think it raises the bar for everyone, really. And it proves that being a trustworthy, honest voice in the industry ultimately pays off because people are far more likely to come to you when they have something important to say.




Who is your dream Manager to interview for Coaches’ Voice?


Well, considering I spent my 10 (and a bit) years at Sport magazine trying to secure time with Arsene Wenger it has to be the Arsenal manager. He’s a fascinating character and someone who is comfortable sharing his thoughts on a wide range of topics, from football to politics and economics.


What unique qualities do successful managers have to get to the top?


I’m still finding out! But from those I have had the honour of sitting down with so far, I’d say that the ability to communicate well is a major key. Being able to transmit your ideas to a group of players – and staff – from varying backgrounds, many of whom will absorb information in different ways, is a real skill.


Why do you think there are still so few black managers and how can this change?


I don’t think there is one simple answer to either of these questions. One of the major issues is that there is obviously a belief among black players that there will be no opportunities for them to have a career in coaching or management. And it’s not hard to see why they would believe that, given the scarcity of black managers in the professional game. While I would love to believe that when a black candidate applies for a job their race is never part of the equation in any way, I can’t. There will obviously be instances where they are not considered right for the job for valid reasons, but when the numbers are so low it’s hard to rule out racism or unconscious bias entirely.


There has to be more done to encourage black players coming to the end of their careers to consider a career in coaching. The clubs, FA, Premier League, PFA – they should all have a role to play in this.


Is there an issue with the recruitment process at clubs? Probably. One manager (who works abroad) recently told me that after years of being turned down for jobs he has given up going to interviews in England, believing that clubs already know who they want and are simply ‘going through the process.’


So, it’s not simple, but it is one of the most important issues facing the game. In 2018, it’s shocking that you can count on one hand the number of black managers in the Football League.


And finally, what is your ultimate goal for 2018 with The Coaches’ Voice?


To firmly establish the brand as being the voice of elite coaches and managers from around the world and deliver content of the highest quality that provides a genuine insight into the game.

How To Write Page Titles For Google & Other Search Engines in 2018

Ranking in the UK Google in 2018 is about SO MUCH more than just optimising one element of a page, but the Page Title Tag (or more accurately the HTML Title Element) is still – arguably – the most important on page seo element to address on any web page. Here’s some notes I have been keeping…

Read the full article here How To Write Page Titles For Google & Other Search Engines in 2018

A Hobo Site Review can quickly identify any issues on your site that is holding your site back. See Hobo SEO Review Prices

© Copyright 2006-2017 Shaun Anderson

SEO Services We Provide in 2018

Our website SEO services in 2018 are designed to earn your website more traffic and sales from Google organic traffic in a legitimate way and for the long term. You earn increased traffic from Google first by submitting ‘high-quality‘ sites to Google that meet their technical and quality rater standards. Google can penalise sites that do […]

Read the full article here SEO Services We Provide in 2018

A Hobo Site Review can quickly identify any issues on your site that is holding your site back. See Hobo SEO Review Prices

© Copyright 2006-2017 Shaun Anderson

Is there a wrong way to offer free samples?

Free samples can be an incredible way to improve loyalty in your customers and attract new markets to your business. In fact, with free samples, you can even entice your existing customers to buy more from you.

However, before you allow your customers to sample everything you have to offer, it’s worth knowing that providing too much can be a bad decision.

When people are presented with only a small selection of choices, deciding what they do can feel like a manageable experience. However, when you start adding more choices into the mix, our ability to choose one option starts to decline. Eventually, we reach a point where we can’t decide at all because we’re so overwhelmed.

Offering freebies, the right way

Everyone loves a free sample, but if you want your sampling campaign to have a positive impact, then you need a plan for the products you’re going to offer. Before you simply start to give things away, you’ll need to think about the following questions:

  • How are you going to measure the outcomes of your sample campaign? This could help you to avoid a spray and pray approach to sampling.
  • Who do you want to engage with your product? Are you introducing your samples to a new customer base, an existing one, or are you simply trying to generate loyalty for your brand? This will help you to get your samples to the right shoppers.
  • Why are you offering free samples? What are your goals and when do you hope to achieve them? Answering this question will help you to determine what to offer, where you should offer it, and how long your campaign might last.

Incorporating sampling into your business strategy

Science tells us that samples can be a powerful solution for modern companies because they help to create a sense of loyalty among customers and incentivize new clients to make a purchase. This is great for your business, but you might wonder how you can incorporate sampling into your strategy when your company is primarily online.

Remember, with the right plan, product samples don’t have to be reserved exclusively for physical retailers.

You can always consider offering a sampling pack to any customer that makes a purchase on your website or give people a digital download that they can take advantage of from your virtual store.

Offering samples correctly is about being creative, strategic, and customising the process to the needs of your brand. Don’t just give freebies out randomly, choose a sampling solution that works for you.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442, or email us on

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Social Media News Roundup: January ’18 Week 1

January '18 Week 1
In social media news this week, Germany begins the war on hate speech online, Instagram adds a new feature that recommends posts on a user’s news feed, Facebook expands its Live users on New Year’s Eve and WhatsApp gets an Instagram Stories makeover.
Germany V Hate Speech

Germany has enforced a law that means a social media site can be fined £60 million if a post is flagged as inappropriate and not removed from the site within a twenty-four hour period.

The new law will affect sites that have more than two million users, so Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are all subject to the potential fine. The sites are under oath to monitor any posts that could be considered offensive to others or reported as ‘fake news’. Facebook itself has been working on combating spam posts, fake news and abuse. It looks like 2018 is the year for a clean-up of social media sites.

Instagram Recommends…

Instagram has added a new feature that shows a user an image from an account that they aren’t following, but might be interested in. The ‘Recommended for You’ feature identifies pictures that it thinks you’ll like, from all your previous searches and interests. The algorithm carefully chooses posts that will push a user to follow the profile the photo has been posted on. Instagram began testing the feature last year and is finally rolling it out to all users. It seems the social media site is adopting a style that promotes engagement and reach, in a move that benefits business accounts.

Facebook Goes Live…10 Million Times

More than 10 million people went live on Facebook in the lead up to midnight on New Year’s Eve! It seems Facebook’s determination to push its new feature throughout the year worked as the number of users of the Live tool increased by forty-seven percent from last December. Las Vegas was the top city for live-streaming the transition into the New Year.

Insta Cross-Posting

Facebook is trying to expand its consistency and unity between its networks and social media sites. Instagram confirmed that it was working on a feature that allows users to cross post stories as a WhatsApp status. The tool will make uploading content to all three platforms easier.

WhatsApp statuses have similar aspects to Facebook and Instagram stories as they disappear after twenty-four hours too. Facebook has been adding more and more features that mean users are less likely to leave the social media site and network from the one platform.

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