It’s impossible to chat about 2018’s social media headlines while ignoring the calamitous clusterfunk of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The ethical indiscretion damaged the network’s reputation and sent the political consultancy into liquidation — but social media can still be useful for extending the reach of your business and enhancing its online presence.
Keeping an eagle eye on developments can help you decide which platforms to prioritise as part of your local business marketing mix — so skimming over 2018’s four hottest trends should help you plan for the year ahead.
Mass data mining aside, it seems Facebook’s not cool with the kids anymore.
A study by eMarketer revealed that two million users under 25 will abandon it this year and less than half of US 12-17-year olds will use it once a month.
Overall growth is still steady thanks to an influx of over-55-year olds — but younger users don’t want to hang around a digital neighbourhood where their parents and grandparents are constantly crashing their party.
So if your offering is aimed at a more mature audience, Facebook is still the place to amplify it — but if it’s focused on the under 25 market, think twice.
It’s not all been bad news for Mark Zuckerberg in 2018 — Facebook-owned Instagram is flourishing.
The photo sharing app has performed particularly well in Asian and Latin American markets and will probably have one billion users by the end of the year.
The international appeal of the app lies in its simplicity — because it’s reliant on sharable images rather than words, no functionality is lost in translation.
Instagram still attracts younger users and chipped in 18 per cent of its parent firm’s revenue at the last count — so its 2012 acquisition was a wise move.
And Instagram video is an emerging SME business platform — clocking up a 67 per cent increase in business profiles between July and November 2017.
In the wake of Facebook’s stormy start to 2018, Snapchat seemed like the natural refuge for its disenchanted young exiles.
But in February, Kylie Jenner wiped $1.3 billion from its value with one disgruntled Tweet and a redesign also proved deeply unpopular.
This resulted in it posting its slowest ever growth rate in the first quarter of 2018 and shearing its share price by almost 20 per cent.
Snapchat still has 191 million daily active users, so it’s a useful way for companies to connect with younger users — but its shaky performance proves that it’s never wise to put all your digital eggs in one social media basket.
WhatsApp is another Facebook purchase that’s going from strength to strength.
WhatsApp Status has 450 million daily users and the app’s free video and audio calls make it hugely popular internationally.
It’ll probably extend its reach after introducing split-screen group video calls and stickers to help people communicate visually in the imminent future.
Three million companies have now signed to the free WhatsApp for Business app — so if you’re a firm of any size doing business across borders, it would be unwise to ignore its potential.
If you enjoyed our journey into social media and want to find out more about how it integrates with SEO or website design and development to benefit your business, contact us for a chat today.
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