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Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have quickly altered the landscape in which we live and work. In the past decade, businesses both large and small have had to continuously adjust their business strategies to reach more consumers or else face extinction.

Social media is a major tool of the interconnected world that businesses must use to survive. But the trends that shape it are always changing, too.

Here are six must-know social media trends small businesses should utilize in the in 2018 and beyond:

 

1. Personalize Content with Improved Analytics

Small businesses need to stay relevant to their customers’ needs and that means offering original, unique content that peaks the interest and provides assistance to your audience needs. Studies show that 75% of people get frustrated when content is too generic and non-relevant to our interests. In 2018, improved personalization is a major component of content marketing and social media. Social platforms will improve and their analytics tools will be more adequately geared towards business-specific goals and features. Small businesses should implement these tools to make their brands more detailed, personalized, and valuable to your customers.

 

2. Incorporate Video into your Content

Video content is essential for brands of any size. As social data and algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, video will become more valued and repurposed for engagement and generating followers. Facebook remains an essential social media platform and the data and reporting feature allow small businesses to see how their video content performs compared to different posts. Brands need to create aesthetically-pleasing video content for their brands in 2018 so that it can instantly grasp viewer’s attention and create a larger amount of followers.

 

3. Go Mobile with your Facebook Page

Experts predict that 59% of U.S. users will access Facebook via mobile by 2020. Facebook already gets 80% of their ad revenue through mobile. The domination of the mobile trend has been visible for a while, but now that Facebook will be largely mobile-operated by consumers, small businesses need to get on the bandwagon and integrate mobile optimization into their business and marketing strategy. Since 90% of small businesses that a social media presence use Facebook, it’s imperative their content is easily accessible through mobile.

 

4. Conduct Web Monitoring

It’s important for small businesses to track what type of content their competitors are sharing. But they also need to start monitoring mentions and comments. This analysis is another metric that can help compare and contrast performance. For example, if businesses can find out how people search for products online and on their competitor's sites. This can help small enterprises evaluate their competitor's performance and help reshape your own customer service responses. Monitoring social mentions allows people to share audience like and dislikes which can help small business brands improve and become more customizable.

 

5. Find the Right Platform for your Business

Instagram and Snapchat are visual media platforms that feature timed videos. Instagram stories host a significant wider reach and more engagement. Instagram influencers regularly see up to 10% of their audiences open their Instagram stories daily. Even though that’s higher than Snapchat, the latter still draws in more younger demographics like Millennials. Social media platforms will continue to feature overlapping tools and small businesses and brands will have to become increasingly aware of which platforms best fit their needs and audiences. Start off by using analytics on both platforms to identify which investment is best. Maybe it’s both!

 

6. Implement Chatbots

Today, consumers with access to interconnected devices generally demand instant connection and responses. If there is a complaint or question about a small brand’s product online, they may either respond too quickly and provide incorrect claims or services or they may not know how to respond and take too long to answer a customer.

Chatbots are a valuable helper in these situations. These wireless devices, especially used on Facebook Messenger, can allow small businesses to interact with consumers quickly in ways that feel personalized. They can send personalized content to users and directly help them. This helps create a brand voice and customer service performance. Now, over 100,000 monthly active bots are on Facebook Messenger. From 2018 and beyond this number will only increase.

 

Social media can widen the horizons for small businesses so marketers and owners can connect with audiences more fluidly. Small business entrepreneurs just need to keep up with shifting trends to stay ahead of their competition and continuously cater to loyal followers.