(First published December 27, 2017)
The science of social media (thank you Buffer for backing me up on this) as I like to say on more than one occasion throughout the day to my confused and bemused colleagues. Safe to say 2017 was a significant year on how social media moved forward on all platforms, sometimes good and sometimes not so good in our ever-changing world.
We have so much to look forward to 2018; I predict a year when companies will focus more on digital platforms and social media for engagement than ever before.
Here are 5 of my predictions for 2018 - I'll let you know in a years time how they went.
Linkedin will be big for B2B advertising and engagement; maybe not for the entire year but 6/8 months, Linkedin will rock.
Many companies will focus a percentage of their social media budgets in attracting the non-Facebook crowd - how successful this will be is another question, but I'm sure the big kid on the block (Facebook) will have something in their massive armoury to fire back with later in the year.
A few weeks back Facebook announced they would start to dish out the cash to video content creators in the not so distant future.
Hooray from me as I've been shouting about this for a long time, will Facebook find the next Casey Neistat, probably not but at least Facebook is acknowledging, without creators they will not exist against the likes of Youtube. 
Facebook's new 'Watch' video platform is set for worldwide release shortly, a rival for Youtube and will probably become the worlds most prominent video platform in a relatively short space of time, how you may ask? Because Facebook already has the audience in place.
Some of you may know I photographed action sports for 17 years, and when in 2010 Instagram first appeared many said it wouldn't last, I wasn't one of them. Eight years later it's bigger than ever and getting bigger every month, some 500 millions daily users. Me being a creative person, Instagram is a visual wonderland of awesomeness and without doubt, my favourite platform to post my images, ridiculous nonsense and my daily happenings, its a diary of your life in pictures.
Instagram keeps developing cool and inactive tools, one being 'Stories' launched in August 2017. A little like Snapchat but better, expect companies to get super creative in 2018 with 'Stories' some already are, in the next year Instagram could end up as the top creative option for many users/businesses to tell their story.
This quote from Alfred Lua sums up how social media has changed in the last five years, "Social Media Is For Branding and Engagement, Not Traffic or Revenue." I love it so much I might have it tattooed on my arm, OK I lied about the tattoo but the quote is spot-on. Expect more and more companies start using chatbots and social media messenger services to be their number 1 tool for customer contact, when I post to a business on social I usually receive a reply within the hour and the issue sorted - to me that's excellent service. Examples this year include BT, Virgin and Spotify.
UGC, what's that you may ask? User-generated content, in other words, content created by your customers. Everybody loves to see their picture or video online, the guys at Ladbible have been doing this for a while, and they do it well. It can work for everyone; it's not just about people doing crazy things, nearly all companies can generate content through their audience if it's right it could be your biggest bet to create that elusive organic growth and engagement.
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