Social Media Marketing Trends in 2018

By Maxtreme

One constant you can count on is this: The digital world is ever changing. In 2017 alone, Twitter went from 140 to 280 characters, Instagram and Snapchat continued to expand with stories and filters, and live-stream videos—such as those on Facebook—have skyrocketed in popularity.

What social media trends will be hot in 2018? And how can you harness them in your higher ed digital marketing campaigns? From virtual reality to visual platforms, here are key social media trends to take note of in 2018.

Virtual Reality

While virtual reality headsets may seem a bit clunky, virtual reality, or VR, is there to stay. It’s a way for people to get a true feel of something from the comfort of their own screen. VR allows people to experience a product, service, or campus and gather information before taking the next step of going to a location or speaking to someone in person. This saves both buyers and sellers money, time and resources, and it also helps ensure great matches.

Offering students virtual tours of campuses and classrooms can help potential students get a feel for the college or university without stepping foot in either. And in 2018, virtual reality is also poised to go beyond tours, to lectures, conferences and more.

Influencer Marketing

With influencer marketing, companies or colleges partner with “influencers,” people who will showcase your brand or product (in higher ed cases, your school) to a wide audience. Influencers often have a wide social media following, but influencer marketing also works well with smaller niche groups. Think high schools or community colleges.

How does this work in a higher education setting?

Seek out testimonials from students passionate about your university. Ask them if they would share their “why” with others—why they chose your school, why they love it and why they think it’s a great investment. As students or alumni, they can easily establish a send of trust and reliability. By using curated hashtags, branded images, slogans and more, you’ll have a solid influencer marketing campaign.

Digital Hangouts

Digital hangouts have been around for ages in various forms. In 2017 and now in 2018, they’ve reached a new level with video digital hangouts, like House party and Facebook’s Bonfire (still in limited release). These online group video chats help connect people face-to-face, in a virtual space. It’s helpful when you want to see the campus or classroom up close, but you don’t want to bother with travel schedules and time off.

This is also a way to expand influencer marketing. Not only can people see and hear a happy student’s testimonial, they can ask the student questions in real time.


Chatbots are already here, popping up to engage users, answer questions, and leadusers closer to a conversion—be that setting up a school tour, scheduling an in-person meeting with an advisor, or applying to a college or university.

Yes, chatbots are here—but in 2018 they look to explode onto the scene. Facebook, one of the social media kings, is now using bots to help businesses. For example, if a user goes to a university’s page, a chatbot will pop up to engage the user. The chatbots “script” is developed by the page owner, so the bots can answer questions, provide contact information, and even set up appointments. It’s a great way to engage users in a comfortable, no-pressure environment.

Advertisements on Playlists—Spotify, Pandora…

Most people have a favorite playlist (or even two or three) on a streaming service. In fact, you’ve likely heard advertisements on your favorite streaming radio channel, like Spotify or Pandora. These advertisements are proving to be incredibly lucrative. Listeners can be targeted by a variety of factors, including age, gender, location, device and music taste. It’s a tried-and-true way to tailor advertisements to the demographic you want to reach.

…And Advertisements on Visual Platforms, Like Snapchat

Snapchat was the pioneer of filters, fast-pictures and fun. Instagram got on the bandwagon with Instagram Stories, short videos shared with viewers. Given the popularity of this visual social media platforms, it’s no wonder advertisers got in on the mix. Now Instagram Stories and Snap Ads offer organizations the ability to place visual ads. These full-screen vertical videos run between users’ curated stories or feeds. It’s a subtle, yet effective way to seamlessly showcase your brand.

In the digital marketing world, these look to be the trends to follow in 2018. How will you use these social media trends in your 2018 strategy?

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