Social Media Trends for 2018: Real-Time Selling Is the Most Intriguing


I’m currently tracking and evaluating several trends for the coming year but livestreaming as it exists in Asia is absolutely fascinating. It is worth watching because it is creating a new online culture and disrupting how consumers and brands use social media as a marketing tool. The U.S. is lagging far behind.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs have predicted that China’s livestream video market will grow from $2 billion in 2015 to $15 billion in 2020.

  • Livestreaming is creating a new online culture and producing new modes of real-time selling, as well as spawning new on-air personalities.
  • Livestreaming video is monetized by real-time consumer purchasing, virtual gifting, and ads vs. on-demand video which is monetized primarily by ads.
  • Top livestreamers attract over 100,000 viewers per session.
  • They generate money through purchases of virtual stickers and filters as well as through micro-transactions e.g. small gifts and donations by fans in real time during the livestream.
  • Livestreaming creates new opportunities for fame as Asian millennials broadcast their everyday lives equipped only with smartphones and selfie sticks
  • Marketers are taking advantage of this phenomena too.
  • 70% of over 100 beauty brands with operations in China use livestreaming as a marketing and advertising tool for product launches, fashion shows, and real-time buying links.
  • Maybelline sold 10,000 lipsticks within two hours by livestreaming its products using a Chinese influencer (Angelababy, pic above)
  • Alibaba’s Taobao and, two of China’s biggest online shopping sites, have both launched their own livestreaming platforms
  • The stage is set for livestreaming in the US as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels enable livestreaming across their platforms.

Source: ZDNet

Read on below for three additional social media trends.

#1 Trend: Platform Overlap

 I’m still in a quandary about when to use Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat

  • Instagram has much wider reach and with hashtags the audience can be huge but I find Snapchat more engaging. And I am seeing more snapchatters returning to the platform.
  • And there is a major watchout when using multiple platforms: Redundancy!
  • It is so boring when social media influencers post the same content on each platform – here’s looking at you, Tai Lopez. Very annoying.
  • That said, I have not figured out what the ideal content for each platform should be. At the moment, I’m posting newsy stuff on Snap and using Instagram for my creative passions e.g. street art.

#2 Trend: The Role of Video

 Try as I might, I have not been able to make video work for me.

Two reasons:

  • First: I’m stiff as a board on video vs. people like Yes Julz, Sam Sheffer, Mark Suster or Gary Vee – all naturals
  • If I’m not capable of being engaging on video, I’ll never develop a following (no matter how great my video capture of events or streetlife might be).
  • Second, my instagram photos have gotten way more compelling vs. my videos.
  • As a result, the engagement level between my videos and photos has evened out. I’m also using more relevant hashtags and that has had a big impact.

Trend #3:  Chatbots

I like them – most of the time!

  • What I was not aware of is how involved Facebook Messenger is with companies’ chatbots.
  • Per Inc., there are at least 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger. And two billion messages are exchanged between brands and their audiences each month on Messenger.

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