The way in which we consume content is constantly evolving. Many social media networks continuously update their platforms, which is why it’s critical for marketers to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the social media space. Here are the top five social media trends you need to know about this year:

1) Video content

It has been suggested that 1 minute of video is more effective than 1000 words. Video is the most engaging form of content. Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, social video engagement stats are set to increase even more this year.

Did you know that a billion hours of YouTube video are watched every day? Along with over 8 billion videos being consumed by Facebook users daily. Videos can be created in many different formats, from 360-degree videos to live streams, giving marketing teams a great opportunity to come up with an effective video.

2) Social media influencers

Social media influencers were used frequently in 2017, yet 2018 predicts even more social media influencers will be used to market products and services.

The advantages of social influencer marketing have been well-established. To avoid the pressure of competing with rival brands, marketers will be looking to develop more long-term relationships with key social media influencers this year.

3) Chatbots taking over

Chatbots have been around for years, but recently there have been significant AI improvements. More and more brands are working on using chatbots for customer support and perfecting their chatbot marketing strategy.

It’s predicted that 85% of customer interaction will be managed by chatbots in 2020 and soon after, AI assistants will become the new normal.

4) Change in data collection

In May this year, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming into effect. It is important that companies are prepared for this.

The GDPR gives EU citizens more control over their personal data. Every time a company wants to collect information from a consumer, they’ll now need explicit consent from the individual. The company will need to tell the person what data they plan to collect and how they’ll use it.

5) Storytelling via social media

It’s clear that social media stories are growing in popularity. The stories format, pioneered by Snapchat, has now become a large part of the social media world. Instagram created Instagram Stories and even YouTube now has a stories format.

Each story offers unique features and presentation, but they all follow the same concept - stories capture the best moments from a day. Even WhatsApp and Facebook are joining in the stories hype, so it may be time to think about stories as a key part of your social marketing strategy.

All of these trends will shape the landscape of digital marketing in 2018. You’ll need to update your content and strategy to reflect these changes, to ensure your brand stays ahead of the game.