Social media is a constantly changing platform that — whether we like it or not — also changes our day-to-day lives. Here are some of the biggest trends taking place in 2018.

Limited Time Only Posts

With Snapchat and Instagram Stories, the shelf life of posts is 24 hours. This is known as ephemeral content, which only lasts for a short while. The growing popularity of these apps reflects the influence of generation Z — today’s main target audience. Considered “true digital natives” of society, the demographic is better able to multitask while consuming content, but is also known to have shorter attention spans when compared to older generations. Privacy is another aspect generation Z users value greatly, which makes apps like Snapchat all the more alluring. By catering to this audience, companies can more easily adapt to their ever-changing customer bases.

Customer Service That Cares

As artificial intelligence (AI) evolves, so, too do the ways in which companies connect with customers. Businesses are now using chatbots — computer programs that specialize in auditory and textual conversation — to communicate through messaging platforms. Marketing teams have also been engaging in social listening to gather feedback and respond to questions. An increase in brand participation and engagement rates helps build loyalty among customers, as going the extra mile online makes users feel attached to their favorite brands.

Digital Eye Candy

Online videos have been popular for years, so it’s no surprise that the bulk of what’s on social media is content we watch rather than read. Companies are using livestream platforms like YouTube and Facebook Live to host press conferences and product reveals, while others are experimenting with the tech behind augmented reality. It’s no longer just about what we watch — it’s how we watch it. The vast majority of consumers use social media on mobile devices, which is why companies are developing user-friendly apps and smartphone compatible websites, the latter of which is especially important.

YouTube Creator Clout

Influencer marketing has become a major part of molding company identity. Research shows that most people now trust micro-influencers, or famous figures with modest followings, over traditional celebrities. Most of these micro-influencers are in charge of YouTube channels, meaning they have close-knit communities with dedicated subscribers. Hiring sponsors who have an established social media presence is an easy way for companies to promote their brand and connect with consumers.