2017 was an interesting year for social media in many ways. Social media became even more relevant for marketers as consumers base purchasing decisions more than ever before on social networks. Social media companies also made headlines for unwittingly becoming political tools in U.S. and European elections. Despite the many trials and tribulations of social networking in 2017, one this is clear: social media marketing will not be going away anytime soon. Here are some of the trends that will shape the social media marketing landscape in 2018 that marketers should be aware of:

Social Media Companies Cracking Down on Spam and Misinformation

Thanks to the much contested U.S. election in 2017, which saw incredible amounts of fake news stories being circulated on social networks, social media companies are determined more than ever before to actively eliminate misinformation and spam from users’ newsfeeds. Early in the year, Facebook started discouraging clickbait headlines that direct users mostly to dubious websites. Just last December, Facebook announced a major crackdown on posts that do engagement baiting. That is a tactic used to drives shares, likes, and comments on Facebook. If you have ever seen a post that asks you to “share if you like cute puppies,” then you have been exposed to engagement baiting. All major social networks are now in policing mode to eliminate these sort of underhanded tactics from the platform to protect genuine interactions. Brands that do content promotion in 2018 should be aware of this fact.

Influencers are Overtaking Traditional Marketing Tactics

Who is compelled by an ad anymore? Certainly not the vast majority of digital buyers. The latest social media marketing trend is influencers. Influencers have large and devoted followings on social networks. The fan legions are highly susceptible subtle brand promotion tactics pushed by influencers. Therefore, the best way to market on social media in the coming years would be to get an influencer to plug your product, share your brand’s post, or mention your brand’s name in a video or a post.

Focusing Back on Local Consumers

Social media marketing is also showing a growing shift towards trying to drive local customer engagement. For example, many brands with stores are advertising real-life events on social networks to get local customers engaged. Locally focused social media advertising can be incredibly beneficial for brands with niche target audiences. Local advertising is also being driven by local social media Melbourne and similar marketing agencies.

Immersive Content Powered by AR

Brands will always reverently remember the Pokemon Go craze, which drove not only digital purchases but real-life engagement as well. The popular game app was created using augmented reality technology, where users interact with digital objects in real-world setting. In the coming years, expect more AR powered content on social networks.

Another major trend that is shifting social media advertising is the rise of Gen Z buyers. Like the millennials before them, the younger Gen Z consumers, who are still in their early or late teens, are unique on their own. In the coming years, this will be the generation that sets the tone for marketing on social networks.