As we prepare to dive into 2018, it is imperative to take a moment to reflect upon what 2017 has taught us. Through highs and lows, a few key takeaways have emerged from the year as a whole.

In an increasingly digital world, it should be noted that in order to plan for success in the upcoming year, a “toolbox” of sorts has been defined that businesses can use for both PR and marketing initiatives in 2018.

As companies sit down to plan their years and develop short- and long-term goals, a few elements—Digital Mandates, if you will—stand out as imperative to success:

A greater focus on messaging apps, and the way marketers utilize them, will be a key practice this year

According to Econsultancy, the platforms for how we communicate will broaden. “We’ve already seen a growing trend for social media messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger – and even a rise in chatbots – but next year some of those tools are likely to be completely reinvented, giving brands a route to effectively communicate with audiences throughout every step of the marketing funnel.”

Interestingly enough, according to the Social Media Examiner, Twitter is expecting a renewed relevance, a major game-change in terms of 2017 Instagram saturated content. A fun new energy is expected to be inserted in the campaign, making this an important player in 2018.

Additionally, developments continue to expand in the world of social media. Increased investments in influencer marketing, via sites such Octoly, are expected to be relevant in the New Year. From an emphasis on Generation Z to augmented reality, the trends are rapidly approaching the unimaginable. Keeping an eye on these social media trends, as highlighted by Entrepreneur, will be crucial for brands.

Not surprisingly, number one on the list is the influence of social media

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that social media is more prevalent than ever—and will be even more so in 2018.

Between influencers, YouTube stars and bloggers, there are very important key players to keep in mind that heavily impact the digital space. Results and revenue come from identifying that these players are very important to our society.

Though quite untraditional from conventional marketing, this avant-garde approach is proving itself to be one of the most successful. As highlighted in the Huffington Post, the departure from orthodox tactics will set businesses apart.

Placing an importance on visualization is another major digital marketing trend to integrate into your 2018 plan

Visualization is more important than ever, and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. In other words, don’t simply tell people what you can do for them, show them.

To this point, it is being predicted that ephemeral, or short-lived content, will rule. Think Instagram stories and Snapchat when debating how to market to audiences.

Companies should strive to create value and real-time content that inspires and according to Smart Insights, stay on top of the strategic elements that will define the year for PR.

These measurable, digital tactics provide tangible results and insight, something that will be increasingly important. Companies do not simply “want results” they want to gauge and analyze these results in order to escalate productivity and growth.

Compared to traditional media, digital media moves at the speed of sound

The awareness, reach and responsiveness that has come about from constant communication and availability of information has revolutionized the market.

In terms of how this affects business’s success, PR and marketing teams must create smart, personalized and customer centric content. Only by doing this, can companies push ahead into 2018 ahead.

With all growth comes challenges, and it is fundamental to understand them. Less organic reach will be one such obstacle. Companies will need to invest heavily in paid ads and socials in order to combat spam thus decreasing the natural audience they may have been able to reach, a problem highlighted by Impact.

Keeping these key elements in mind will not only lead to success in 2018, but will help in developing a digital scope, crucial to businesses moving forward. The sophistication and global acceptance of digital marketing and PR tools has never been higher than in 2017, so it goes without saying that it will be even more important in 2018.

Preparation and anticipation of this evolving trend will be vital to success in the New Year!

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Courtney Lukitsch

Courtney Lukitsch

Courtney Lukitsch is Founder and Principal at Gotham PR, with offices in in New York and London.

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