Happy New (Financial) Year! While you’re all busy doing your taxes and updating your business plans, we’re over here at Bang Digital wondering what new social media marketing strategies we could be implementing in the second half of 2018.At the beginning of this year we had Mark Zuckerberg telling us his New Year’s resolution was to focus on making Facebook more about the community again, the introduction of shoppable Instagram posts, LinkedIn rolling out native video advertising, and of course … the infamous Snapchat Update of 2018.Closer to date, we also saw the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU after the whole Cambridge Analytica fiasco and the tightening of privacy policies and controls. Don’t worry - it shouldn’t affect your business too much!So what’s next?We’ll definitely be munching on the popcorn à la Michael Jackson Thriller style to see if IGTV will overthrow YouTube’s reign. But we’ll also be a little sad about the removal of audience demographics in Facebook’s audience targeting.Before we tell you our predictions on what to expect in social media for the rest of the year, check out our blog post on what actually happened to our predicted digital marketing trends at the beginning the year.All done reading? Let’s get on it then.1. Continuing to see better engagement between brands and their audienceThere’s a fine line between the endearing snarkiness of Wendy’s burgers and possibly losing followers over a distasteful joke. Don’t let this stop you from using social media as a tool to build relationships with your audience though.This year, Buzzsumo reported a decline in social sharing, which means it’s getting harder for brands to get their content in front of more eyes. This is why we’re expecting to see brands double-down on the way they’re utilising social media to increase engagement and build stronger relationships with their audience.It’s all about quality over quantity right?2. The rise of IGTV (and the possible downfall of YouTube)As of the date of this blog being written, IGTV has been out for a week. We’re already starting to see some OG YouTubers like LaurDIY and King Bach cross-sharing their latest videos over on the Instagram platform.We think this new format will catch on, just how Instastories took over Snapchat (RIP), and it will reduce the number of viewers on YouTube.Instagram now provides a space for someone to have everything they’ll need socially in one convenient location. Want to share photos and videos to everyone? Post it to your feed or story. What to share a photo or video to someone in particular? Instagram chat. Want to watch your favourite influencers daily life? They probably have uploaded a vlog onto IGTV.Can we just take a moment to remember Vero? After Instagram changed their feed algorithm to no longer show content in chronological order, Vero somehow came out on top as an alternative. They got so close to winning over Instagram users, and we’re sure Instagram was shaking in their boots. However, due to crashing servers, late updates, and not paying their workers, Vero crashed and burned. And everyone went back to Instagram and dealt with the changes.My point of the spiel above is to reaffirm the power Instagram has and the possible Stockholm Syndrome we all have with it.3. Influencer marketing will continue to dominate the promotion of products and servicesIt’s a no-brainer that we’re more likely to align our purchase behaviour by taking into account the opinions and recommendations of our friends and family. It’s because we trust them, right?In 2011, 95% of consumers said that they trust recommendations from others over content produced by brands. That’s a lot of people. When we follow influencers on social media, their posts are scattered in with posts from our friends and family and, subconsciously, we begin to think of them as our friends too. Is that weird and sad? Just a bit. But influencers are people too and they form personal relationships with their followers. Whether it’s genuine interest or not is a whole other can of worms.With banner blindness expanding to social media feeds, it’s more important now than ever for advertisers to find a way to get in front of viewers who’ll actually look.This is why we think that influencer marketing is going to be playing a bigger role in social media advertising by the end of 2018.What are your thoughts on these predictions? I’m excited to see which of these predictions will follow through by the end of the year! If you’re interested in getting to know how you can utilise these predictions for your own social media marketing strategy, get in contact with the team at Bang Digital, and we’ll give you a hand.