• Industry Trends

2018 Social Media Trends from Top Marketers

by Khoros Staff | Jan 01, 2018

Editor's Note: This post was originally created by Spredfast before Spredfast and Lithium merged and became Khoros.

10 of Khoros' (formerly Spredfast) brightest customers on 2018’s social media trends.

We asked 10 Khoros (formerly Spredfast) customers—from household brands like National Geographic, PepsiCo, and ESPN, to name a few— a simple question: what will happen with social media in 2018? What challenges do they expect to face during the year, and how will their teams solve them? What trends are on the horizon—and which ones are on the way out? Knowing how to pivot your strategy involves first and foremost knowing where the industry itself is headed. 

Read on for 10 big ideas about marketing, technology, content, and strategy to inform your campaign and social media marketing planning all year.


“I think we’re only just beginning to fully take advantage of opportunities to connect social media directly to sales. Whether deploying chatbots on Facebook Messenger, leveraging buyable pins on Pinterest, or tapping into the power of Instagram influencers, social marketers will have more resources than ever this year to create personalized and scalable campaigns that drive commerce and measurable business results.”

Mitzi Emrich | Senior Digital Strategist

“2018 presents an interesting time where the digital and physical worlds will really and truly collide. With so many data points across digital platforms and physical interfaces, it’s time to put the pieces together and really know our customers. It’s a big challenge to wrangle all that data, but it enables us to communicate with people in the way that fits their lifestyle and their preferences. It also allows us to develop smarter social attribution models that don’t stop with a simple click.”

Allison Zarrella | Executive Director of Social Media & Content

“This year we’re all working on weaving together online and offline experiences to give our fans a way to participate in what our brands stand for. I believe that people are craving a sense of belonging and are eager to connect to the world around them.”

Rachel Webber | EVP of Digital Product



This year, IoT will give way to AIoT: The Internet of Things has paved the way for the Artificial Intelligence of everyThing. AI is here to convert data into business value. There isn’t a customer touchpoint where it won’t have an application; from bots addressing customer care issues to verbal search on your website to customized content generation based on your past behaviors. Infinite possibilities mean that marketers need to be smarter. Success won’t come from dreaming up new ideas, but rather disciplined innovation where you do the things that matter.”

Lauren McCadney Williams | Director of Marketing Delivery

“I see three major things impacting digital and social in 2018 but they all come under the concept of privacy and technology. First, as marketers the impact of the EU GDPR is, I believe, not fully yet understood by all marketers. This may and will have large scale impact well beyond marketing but in areas like digital and
social, it will most likely have major impact. Connected to this is the continued growth of fraud, driven by both the technological arms race to capture or defend (the legitimate) views of advertising. Both of these areas and more, over the longer term, will have impact on the current anonymity of the internet. That, combined with the desires for privacy, will put digital and social media work in the sights of many competing agendas, organizations, and governments.

On the flip side, with every challenge comes a new opportunity and we’ll have these in spades throughout the year. Marketers who partner with their legal teams will reap the benefits of their insights, especially if both work to understand each other’s challenges. Fraud is an ongoing concern that continues to push marketers to look to different platforms, like social, which allow a different interaction, and one that is more meaningful.”

Chris Miller | Divisional VP of Global Brand Strategy

“We’re really excited about automation, AI, and bots. We launched the Live Nation concert finder bot in September 2017. The bot allows you to easily see what shows are coming up near you next, or search by artist, or share shows with your friends and easily purchase tickets—all within Facebook Messenger. So, that’s been a really exciting and a very effective tool for us to market our shows with. I think we’ll continue to see more opportunities with bots and automation throughout the year. We’re interested in AI—and exploring some opportunities with AI—and I think a lot of brands will become a lot more active in the AI space, as well as with Messenger and bots.”

Tim Carr | Head of Social Marketing


“The big thing to watch this year is how brands put social first. Social has been an amplification tool, but it’s never been the driving force. People are consuming media more on their phone than they are sitting on their couch. They can seek out the type of content that they want versus what is programmed at a given hour. So this year I think we’ll see more short-form content and livestreaming where users can talk to each other while watching.”

Jennifer Howard | Director of Strategy & Business Development

“When used appropriately, all of the social media platforms can actually benefit your business a lot. But I think the idea of one size fits all, all the time, for every brand does not work—and is not the approach we have at PepsiCo. You have to understand what is the consumer looking for, and you have to understand what the platform is for. I don’t think Snapchat is phasing out, really. But it’s very playful—so if you’re trying to treat Snapchat as Google, as YouTube, or as
Facebook, then you’re definitely not going to see a benefit. All the platforms have a value if you know what the consumer is looking for and if you find the right way and the right time to use them.”

Ana Maria Henao | Regional Senior Marketing Director - Digital Marketing


“Mixed Reality! Just kidding. Actually, if I were to capture a theme for 2018, it’s the rise of the consumer activist. And we really need to contextualize what activism means, because it’s not just about what customers think about what your brand stands for or not. It’s the willingness and ability to take action—to speak up, make a choice, defend, boycott, support, etc. Activist consumers aren’t just the vocal minority anymore. They are increasing in numbers and know the power they have. In the coming year, brands should be focused on creating customer advocates from activists to ensure their long-term viability.”

David Armano | Global Strategy Director

“In 2018 and beyond, we all must have a long-term strategy on moving investment dollars away from search marketing. I know it’s aspirational, but SEM doesn’t cut it from a consumer experience standpoint. As we all demand better digital vertical experiences from search to transaction, the best companies will be investing in
product-based experiences and social amplifications of those experiences to drive-long term traffic and value.”

Neeraj Gunsagar | Chief Marketing Officer

Share This Article