In the social media world we are used with changes happening faster than for any other domain. This makes our job a lot more challenging, but very exciting at the same time. To make your job a bit easier and help you improve this year’s social media strategy, we analyzed all our data, interviewed our customers and experts in the field, and carefully predicted the most important social media trends for 2019.
2018 can be marked as a turning point in social media with the rise of privacy and integrity concerns. Users all over the world started searching for more meaningful ways to engage, making the Instagram Stories the highlight of the year. People started demanding more value in exchange for their time – this is by no means something new to social media. However, in 2018, the need for real, authentic, personal content became more important than ever. Companies being forced to double or triple their efforts in order to maintain the personal touch, to create intimacy and authenticity.
So what are the most important social media trends and what you need to adapt to in 2019?
#1 Stories are the new NewsFeeds
The first prediction for 2019: Stories will soon replace the newsfeed as we know it.
The FOMO – fear of missing out – is an important driver for this trend. I’m sure you already witnessed this with the Instagram Stories: consumers feel more connected to the brand thanks to the real-time, authentic stories. The Stories’ popularity is at an all-time high right now, with nearly a billion users across Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Snapchat, sharing stories with their friends.
The Stories, pioneered by Snapchat, are the “next step” in the evolution of social media and you should be on top of this by creating deeper and more personal content that resonates with your audience.
Key Takeaways: Follow brands like The Guardian that found out that when it comes to Instagram Stories, less polished, more realistic videos are more popular than the heavily edited pieces of content. Experiment with story technologies like stickers, GIFs, AR and so on, to give your customers unexpected experiences. Incorporate your users’ content, experiment with different story structures, tap your team’s full creative resources to create something memorable.
#2 The rise of Social Media TV
People love visual experiences, and they love even more to feel like they are part of the moment. This explains the boom of live streaming and we predict that this trend is just getting started.
According to Tubular Insights, 92% of millennials browse on other devices while watching TV, watching and engaging with different content, with video content being one of the most popular ways to engage with other brands, as consumers want to see them in action. There have been more than 3.5 billion live videos on Facebook since their launch and the number of daily Facebook live broadcasts has doubled year over year since 2016. By 2020, 82% of internet traffic is expected to be video content.
With the launch of long-form IGTV videos and the rising popularity of live streaming, we witness a new trend rising: Social Media TV. But unlike the linear television, videos needn’t be slick – you can shoot them with your phone, making them more “real”. The Social Media TV is authentic, doesn’t feel scripted and connects with their followers.
Key takeaway: Businesses that are brave enough to embrace this trend and put a face to their brand, showing not only what they do but also who they are, will see increased reach and popularity among their target audience.
#3 Top Social Media channels in 2019
With video content being stronger than ever, we predict that Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook will be the top platforms for social media marketing in 2019. With 73% of US adults using Youtube and 68% Facebook, these two platforms are the clear winners in the social media platforms battle. Instagram is a close third most popular platform with an impressive expansion in the last year that will continue in 2019 too. Google Plus is finally retiring this year, being replaced by Google My Business.
Even though Facebook faced a lot of controversy in 2018, they’re just too big to ignore and they will not go away anytime soon. Don’t prepare to leave this platform just yet. However, our advice is to stay awake for any new platform with great potential that might appear this year.
#4 Transparency and rebuilding trust in social media platforms
As we mentioned before, 2018 marked as a crisis for trust in social media. Nearly every social media platform faced unprecedented pressure from users and regulators regarding the privacy, accuracy, and ethics. All these controversies resulted in users losing trust in big social media companies.
What does this mean for brands on social media? In this new context, with users losing faith in big social media companies and celebrity endorsements, smart brands and marketers should focus more on generating transparency and real quality engagement. The one-size-fits-all approach no longer works in social media. Progressive brands started to customize their messages to the platform and audience. Their creative teams started crafting more meaningful messages, personalized, that addresses to smaller, more valuable, crowds.
The key takeaway for this trend is to start building communities and groups around your brand and products. Interact with your customers, let them interact with each other, let them be an important part of your journey.
#5 Social Media Ads are getting harder to master
In 2018, we’ve already seen a lot of brands jumping on the ads bandwagon with ads budgets increased by 32%. Savvy marketers are using a perfect blend of social media ads and automation to get the best results.
But what happens in a world where users are good at filtering out irrelevant ads and even use ad blocking tools?
There’s no doubt that these days your social media ads need to be more creative, entertaining and most importantly: personalized. You need to start crafting your ads that will generate engagement. Along with your regular content that is delivered according to your carefully planned strategy, your ads need to add value and inspire your audience. You need to invest in a new set of skills to create meaningful videos, graphics, presentations and more. Using ad targeting tools and A/B testing your ads will also become the norm in 2019.