Well 2019 is here and we are well and truly back into the swing of things now and with a supercharged 2018 behind us, we wanted to look forward and give you some insights on not just the major trends influencing social media, but the way businesses use it.
Seeing consistent growth in followers is harder than ever before, but that’s not a bad thing. 2018 saw a huge clean up of our favorite social media platforms and most of the changes in 2019 are a continuation of security, authenticity and simplicity updates.
Let’s break it down on our two favorite social platforms, Instagram (The Gram) and Facebook (FB). Both platforms grew last year despite clearing out millions of fake profiles, The Gram hit 1 billion monthly active users up from 800 million in September 2018. FB also added an additional 37 million monthly active users despite the Q2 drop finishing with 2.271 billion monthly active users.
With the continual platform growth and the fast-paced environment of social media, this year you need to stay on your toes with our following trend predictions;
1. Visual’s Honey
Cisco predicted it back in 2015 and its coming true right before our very eyes, “80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video”. 2018 was full of the rise of video, with platforms opting to spend big on things like IGTV and Facebook Watch (although the success of these is yet to be seen). These areas are predicted to grow even further with brands expected to utilize platforms both organically and with ad spend to reach their audiences.
2. Real Time, Truthful Engagement
Cisco’s research shows that ‘Live internet video will account for 17% of the internet video traffic by 2022’. Going live whether through a story or post is a great way to provide a realness and timeliness to your brand and build trust and loyalty with your followers. Going live can be confronting however the best way to learn is just to do, if you mess it up, don’t stress it will make you and your brand look more human.
3. Micro Baby
Brand advocates are so important to the public perception of your brand, when things go a little sideways brand advocates can be your savior. Influencers have seen paid advertising and the concept of brand advocates come together in 2017/18 to the point they have been over done. In fact 70% of millennials prefer “peer” endorsement over celebrities and they are better than ever at discerning the different between and genuine recommendation and a paid endorsements. So what now? Micro influencers, people like you and me with as little as 1,000+ followers to promote their brands. We strongly recommend working with professional agencies when working with any level of influencers as there is a lot of room for issues to arise if appropriate contracts are not created.
4. Let’s get Personal
Content will still be king, but more and more consumers want personalized e-commerce experiences. Data from Marketing insiders group found increasing personalization can lead to a 500% increase in consumer spending. Utilize this trend by making sure you are reaching your audiences in a personal manner whether social or through emails. The goal is to lead users to interact with your brand.
5. Blog it like it’s hot
Blogs are still a key trend in 2019 however they are changing. Long-form content is where it is at. Long-form content (articles over 1000 words in length) on a logistical level they are more like to get picked up by Google. A recent algorithm trend now recognizing longer-form content as being more valuable, making it rank higher in search results.
This isn’t the only change to Googles algorithm to watch, topic clusters have become important too. Topic clusters are multiple pieces of long-form detailing a single topic. You are essentially proving to google that you are dedicated to providing your audience with a highly-valuable information regarding the topic at hand.
6. The invasion of Chatbots & A.I
This trend will further trickle into medium and small business with a study conducted by Spiceworks noting “40% of large companies are already taking advantage of these intelligent assistants”. Chatbots and Artificial intelligence are being propelled by the user’s expectations, wanting to be able to connect to companies via chat and have instant quick reliable communications. Chatbots however, can cause more harm than good if you aren’t using them in the right way, they can leave consumers feeling more distanced and unimportant than ever. It’s recommended you only use Chatbots for quick answers to simple FAQ’s, provide details on delivery, payment and other transactional processes and collect information which your human team will analyze and respond to.
7. User-generated content
If you haven’t heard of this yet, you are going to love it! 2019 will see the rise of user-generated content (UGC). This is unpaid marketing with content created by your own community, not influencers – real people. It’s social media’s version of word of mouth. The perks of UGC is its relatability and authenticity as well as the fact it’s attainable. You would have seen other brands doing it, sharing content of their customers, unboxing or wearing their purchases etc. One brand that does this exceptionally is Peter Alexander. It’s important when gathering your UGC that you have a smart hashtag # so all content will compile in the one area and from their you can start to share.
In essence 2019 presents the opportunity for brands to develop strong relationships with consumers. Building trust through visually entertaining, engaging and inspiring content and quick, honest communication.