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Another year flies by and the social media landscape continues to shift and evolve as rapidly as ever for enterprises large and small. But what about 2018?

Here are 18 things that businesses will, or should, be considering in the social media space next year (without a blockchain, AI or flying car in site).

1. ‘Social marketing’ becomes more ‘digital marketing’, becomes more ‘marketing’

I’m sure I write this every year, but eventually the social media manager role will simply become a digital marketing manager, who will become, once again a marketing manager.This article sums it up quite nicely.

2. Facebook kills off organic reach for brands

This is already getting close, as Facebook trials a brands-only news feed. But I still think it would put lots of people out of their misery and stop brands spending heaps of budget on creative without any on media.

3. GDPR becomes real

We all know it’s coming, and hopefully most of us have a decent steer on what it means. But, and especially with social media, there are many grey areas to consider. Some clear principles are a must.

4. An influencer is hauled over the coals

The likes of Instagram have been working hard to put in place greater transparency for when brands use influencers to promote them. But I’m sure we all still see people of influence (on all platforms) talking about products they’re being asked to promote, without an #ad or #spon in site. Someone will get properly picked-on as an example in the coming months.

5. Twitter makes ads easy(ier) to use

I help brands run paid ads across a number of platforms and Twitter’s Ads Manager is just a bit tricksy if you want to run a campaign of average sophistication. There’s just a lot of bits and pieces to figure out. Contrast Snapchat’s ads interface which is a little slow but really very straightforward.

6. Visual listening hits the mainstream

There’s been a lot happening behind the scenes with tools like Sysomos, Brandwatch and Pulsar. In 2018 visual search will hit people’s mainstream understanding of what social listening is… which I guess we should subsequently rebrand to “social watching”?

7. Google acquires Twitter

Maybe this one has gone away a little, but it must still be on the cards. This one probably has less potential impact on brands… apart from the fact a strong Twitter presence might gain more importance in search marketing.

8. More creative and insight roles go client-side

As the need to react to events and adapt communications increases, the ability to do that without going outside of the building becomes ever-more attractive for brands. This isn’t to say agencies don’t have a place… just that it will shift even further in 2018.

9. Big brands figure out how to use Instagram hashtags

I’ll keep this rant short. If every successful influencer on Instagram raves about using hashtags to the max, why do so many brands choose not to? #just #going #to #add #the #bare #minimum.

10. Automated customer service gets worse, then better

Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Messages are only just getting started with their ‘bot-powered’ customer service. That’s not to say there aren’t gazillions of Facebook Messenger apps out there already, but it’s still early days in how brands are using them. Saying that, perhaps the budget is going straight to voice search… which is probably a sensible plan.

11. Photo shoots get even longer

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 09.17.09

12. Marketers actually ‘get’ Snapchat

There are still many marketers who shrug off Snapchat with a “you know, I have to admit, I don’t really get Snapchat”. Neglecting to take the time to download the app and learn how, you know, just 11 million of the UK population are consuming content seems like madness.

13. Media and creative houses combine

Another one that’s already on the increase, but the point at which these disciplines can continue to successfully operate in isolation has ended.

14. Amazon acquires Pinterest

This is my complete curve ball, but having written a blog post about Pinterest a few weeks back it struck me that Pinterest could be a great front end user-interface for Amazon.

15. Facebook open up responsive support for agencies

The likes of Snapchat and Twitter have really pushed ahead with how they support agencies through features such as live chat. Small and medium-sized businesses (and brands) still often struggle to get a timely response from the daddy of social networks, particularly around ad management.

16. Enterprise social platforms get stickier

This is another one that falls into the ‘I’m sure I’ve said this before’ category… but at some point soon there must be a tipping point away from email for internal communication. The likes of Slack are great, but seem to struggle a little when scaled up to larger teams. So, will Facebook’s Workplace be the one to break through in this space?


17. Cutting through the data mountain

The volume of available social data has reached a point of saturation. So much so, brands and agencies are taking stock to really think about what they need to measure compared to what they can measure; a trend which must continue. Video data is probably the best/worst offender.

18. Everything changes, everything stays the same

So there we have it. Some meaty subjects. Some a little more superfluous. But important considerations for enterprises large and small. Looking back through the list, what suddenly strikes me is the breadth of topics in there… which is a great indicator of why social media governance in an organisation is so tough – there are a lot of new (and changing) plates to keep spinning!


If you have any more ideas, please add in the comments below. I’ll have to swap them in of course, otherwise it will break the format

But back to the present… a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you all.

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