Churches, businesses, nonprofits, as well as individuals are all using social media to grow their online communities to share information, sell products, and spread the Gospel. Relying on social media has likely moved from a trend to a necessity.

More pastors and church communicators are developing dynamic content and opportunities to interact and share via social media than ever before too. The way content is shared is growing and changing rapidly due to the innovations being rolled out literally every day by social media companies as they upgrade, improve, and enhance their app capabilities.

Video and live streaming are the backbones of social media content sharing and the focal point of user interest. Marketers know that sharing important messages via video significantly increases the retention rate of viewers versus text-only messaging. This is especially true for capturing the attention of youth and Generation Z users who are also embracing augmented reality on social media.

What does this mean for churches who want to share their message?

Developing the ideal social media strategy and apps that allow churches to engage and connect with their communities in new and original ways is essential. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are still the dominant social media platforms that churches are using and social media influencers continue to be a marketing dream on these platforms.

Influencers create unprecedented access to fans and followers to share brand information that is faster and more effective than traditional ads and commercials. On a global scale, social media content is increasingly accessed via smartphones rather than desktops too and mobile-ready content is being developed at a record pace.

So what does this mean for the rest of 2018?

Here are nine social media trends taking the main stage this year: