#KeepingCRESocial by Sarah Malcolm: How Social Media Changed in 2018



Sometimes working social media is like launching from a rocket. Changes move at light speed. As we reflect back on the year, here’s the biggest moves that disrupted our social strategies in some way.

#1. Facebook made big changes

As the world’s most used social media platform, naturally, Facebook is always changing to meet user demands. By one count, Facebook made a dozen updates in 2018. There’s two we care about most.

  • The Dynamic Creative feature enables us to find the best combination of social ad elements using Facebook’s algorithms. The result is we can serve people more specific content based on the information shared with the social network. According to Facebook, “It will ensure your audience is served the most high-performing creative combinations.”  

  • The News Feed reduced public posts for businesses and media. For a general Facebook user, this meant more content from family and friends appeared in the news feed. However, many businesses relying on organic presentation suffered. Brands must increase their Facebook advertising budgets to have the same impact on the network, especially if they lack an established audience.

#2. Twitter tackles the trolls and bots

Regardless of how you feel about the 2016 election and Russian interference, the endgame is still the same. But it’s not just potential election hacking, but an ongoing conversation about how Twitter is used to harass and bully others. Twitter started an aggressive campaign to clean up its act. In one two-month period, Twitter deleted over 70 million spam or otherwise suspicious accounts. Some users may have seen a drop in followers, but on the upside, those left are more likely to be genuine people who care about your brand.

#3. Instagram follows Facebook’s steps

Instagram’s added some new features in 2018. Some people have a new music sticker, a feature yet to roll out worldwide. Still, we’re excited and think this is an awesome idea for Stories. There’s InstagramTV app that links to your profile and enables creators to post longer videos. The content is full screen and vertical, and it can be up to an hour long.

One big change followed Facebook’s lead: more content from user friends and family. Instagram’s owned by Facebook, so the change makes sense. One source claims 90 percent of the posts people see are from friends and family. The problem is the new algorithm reduced the organic impact of branded content.

#4. More concern about privacy

You’d have to be completely off the grid to miss how privacy and social media came to the forefront this year. First is the rollout of GDPR, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). That took effect in May but impacted pretty much everyone on the Internet who wanted to avoid fines. The GDPR aims to increase transparency about how businesses capture and share consumer data while improving data security.

The second would be the ongoing fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook, which consumed the news with congressional hearing and inquiries. It forced Facebook to deliver some serious public relations measures and to re-evaluate how it operates.

However, the privacy push is more than these two big-ticket news items. The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brands and Social Media surveyed consumers across nine countries. By far, the public wanted social media platforms to improve:

  • How they safeguard personal data (71 percent)

  • Curb fake news (70 percent)

Food for thought, social marketers.

#5. Podcasts make a comeback

Remember the early days of the iPod? How cool podcasts were! It seemed everyone had a podcast up and going. Then, blip! Podcasts fell off the radar. We’ve been tracking the rise of podcasts, and in 2018 they really came into their own. As of June, there were 550,000 podcast shows and millions more individual episodes. Nearly half of podcast listening is done at home while 22 percent is in the car. Podcast ad revenue is predicted to more than double from 2017 to 2020 to $659 million.

Why are podcasts making a comeback? Probably because they allow people to dive deeper into content. They’re convenient: listen on the commute, while cleaning around the house, and pause when necessary. Marc Johnson, senior director, digital strategy at APCO Digital thinks people like episodic content, as evidenced with TV streaming binges.

Moving Ahead

We could go on and on about all the changes we’ve seen in social this year, but these five are out standout items. Now it’s time to gear up for 2019 and the exciting changes the new year will bring. Polish your social media strategy with the experts and launch the New Year right.

Need help with your social media strategy?

Contact Amanda@thecontentfunnel.com to learn more. We manage some of the BIGGEST brand’s social media in CRE and more importantly WE GET RESULTS.

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Twitter: @mrssarahmalcolm


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