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Feb 16 2019

Social Media Trends in 2019 that Brands Need to Know

Social Media Trends 2019

Social Media Trends in 2019: What Brands Need to Pay Attention To

Before predicting social media trends in 2019, we must consider just how much the digital landscape has changed in the past year alone.

State of Social Media as 2018 Ends

While platforms like Facebook and Instagram continued to grow their presence in new markets like India, Ghana, and Saudi Arabia, in 2018, that rapid expansion hit a few snags along the way.

Data privacy became a hot button issue for governments and users alike, as Facebook’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light.

At the same time, Google Plus was hit by a few high profile data breaches that saw the company eventually shut down altogether.

In March, we saw the EU implement strict new GDPR policies governing the collection and usage of personal information.

Finally, Twitter decided to clean house and purge almost 70 million so-called bot accounts from their servers.

For businesses that are looking to attract new audiences towards their products and services, the question is how they can continue to grow their online presence in the midst of so much upheaval? Simple, keep an eye on where the industry is moving, and get there before your competitors do. Here are some key social media trends that you should look to leverage in 2019.

Social Media Trends in 2019

Credibility is Priority Number One

Social Media Trends

The latest data from Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer survey shows that global trust in social media is at an all-time low of 41%. In response to this loss of faith, many social networks have begun to prioritize authentic content and personal connections over brand-sponsored posts.

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Facebook

Facebook refers to this strategy as promoting more meaningful interactions, with the aim of improving overall user interaction across the site. Facebook’s new algorithm analyzes each person’s profile history and determines who their friends are, the brands they follow regularly, and the type of content they generally like. The updated News Feed will take all of these inputs into account when recommending new posts and pages to follow.

Twitter

Other networks like Twitter and LinkedIn have followed Facebook’s lead here. Twitter now provides recommended tweets to users based on their usage history. They have also updated their search engine with relevance in mind, the new filter system provides a targeted mixture of videos, images, posts, and user profiles based on the user’s search history.

LinkedIn

If you’re trying to build B2B contacts through LinkedIn, then these trends are just as important to your prospecting. The website’s new algorithm automatically updates user feeds based on their industry, skills, connections, the timeliness of the content, and the user’s engagement history. LinkedIn’s search bar now also incorporates the autosuggest function that has become commonplace on Google and Facebook.

The shift towards personalization isn’t necessarily a bad thing for your brand. If you can figure out how to create valuable content that is actually relevant to your target audience then you stand a great chance of establishing yourself across many of these social channels. As always, the key to winning the marketing race is understanding your customers’ needs and developing your messaging accordingly.

Video Leads Social Media Trends in 2019

Social Media Video Trends

By 2019 video is predicted to account for up to 80% of all internet traffic, and exceed $14 billion in marketing fees across all industries. With these kinds of figures being thrown around, it should be clear to every business owner that in the digital world there’s a new content king in town.

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Today, effective video content is integral to every social media strategy. Around 77% of businesses mix in filmed or animated content into their posts. The most popular video hosting platforms on the Internet are networks like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and of course, YouTube.

Facebook and YouTube

YouTube Videos

Although YouTube’s place at the head of the queue isn’t under any danger, the website has still moved to update its service model. In 2018, they poured millions of dollars into original scripted content and handed out several partnerships to native influencers. The key to these investments is engagement. Although, YouTube may have an almost 2 billion-strong user base and an absolutely massive video library, connecting to great content amidst all of that noise can be pretty difficult.

This is something that Facebook understands all too well. As more and more ad dollars have shifted towards video content, Facebook has been keen to react. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken about its plans to invest up to $1 billion in native video content within the next year, and this push towards video is nothing new.

In an early signal that it was going after YouTube’s base, the website launched Facebook Live in 2017 to encourage users to create and watch more native videos on the website. At the same time, Facebook reconfigured its search algorithm to promote website-specific content far higher than embedded links from YouTube and other sources. All that hard work seems to have paid off too. Today, more than 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day, and 85% of those views go to natively hosted content.

Instagram and Snapchat

Instagram & Snapchat

On the other end of the spectrum, platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are leading the way with fun short form content that appeals to younger users. Instagram’s streamlined design tends to favor more polished branded videos that are supported by the site’s streamlined visual aesthetic. Meanwhile, Snapchat is all about creating raw on-the-go interactive moments that stick in the mind of your audience.

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Live Video

On that note, live video is becoming a key emphasis for every major social media platform. It makes sense. Exclusive streaming events provide endless opportunities for engagement and discussion in the rolling comments section. Whether you decide to hold a weekly open Q&A, or host monthly discussions for leading industry influencers, this type of content should form an essential part of your social media strategy moving forward.

Stories are on the Rise

Snapchat Stories

When Snapchat first launched its stories function in 2013, few marketers understood the true significance of the feature. At a glance, the ability to string together a few pictures and videos into a longer narrative doesn’t seem particularly groundbreaking. But, these 24-hour stories actually reflect what most people want from their content, a sense of urgency and excitement. Within a year, Snapchat had captured 40% of US teenagers in the US on the back of this simple functionality.

The platform’s sudden popularity attracted a $3 billion offer from Facebook. When that proposal was rejected – the Facebook decided to straight up duplicate the stories function and added it to Instagram in late 2017. It proved an instant success there as well, and pretty soon Instagram was leeching a significant number of users from Snapchat.

Since then, the feature has been integrated into Facebook and WhatsApp as well. At the same time, YouTube has announced plans to launch its own stories section, and even LinkedIn is testing the waters on a similar setting for business users.

For businesses, stories offer major advantages over other forms of social media marketing. While you might have to spend substantial sums getting together to shoot a professional YouTube video or even an Instagram ad spot, nobody expects stories to be polished to that level. All you really need to do is grab a smartphone and document something that could be exciting or valuable for your customers.

Micro-Influencers are the Next Big Thing

Social Media Influencers
Over the past couple of years, businesses in every industry have integrated influencers into their digital marketing strategy. From Instagram to YouTube and Twitter, wherever you look you’re likely to find a celebrity or social media personality pushing out sponsored content in support of their brand relationships.

When you consider the fact that 74% of consumers make buying decisions based on social media recommendations, it’s not exactly difficult to see why. Statistics show that influencer marketing campaigns return 11 times higher ROI than other forms of promoted content.

But just because you’re willing to invest in a popular social media personality, doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to succeed. As more and more brands hop onto the influencer marketing bandwagon, prices are rising accordingly. At the same time, users are becoming increasingly skeptical of less-than-authentic endorsements from seemingly unrelated influencers.

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In response to these issues, many companies are deciding to target more niche audiences with micro-influencers. While these individuals may not have anywhere near the reach of bigger celebrities, they have spent years building extremely strong connections with the thousands of followers that they do have.

If chosen carefully, these micro-influencers lend a note of authenticity to your brand that more mainstream celebrities cannot. These influencers are also far more likely to engage with their followers on a regular basis, which only increases the exposure of your marketing messages.

If you’re able to identify a few micro-influencers that are particularly relevant to your business and industry, then the overall impact on your branding and sales might far outweigh the benefits gained from working with a more famous name.

For example, some of the most powerful micro-influencers you may have never heard of include:

Brand Ambassadors

A great way to create organic influencers from amongst your existing customers is to appoint brand ambassadors for your business. Look to your social media pages to find users that consistently like, share and discuss your content. Then set to work developing small rewards to incentivize their engagement. Ideas to consider include:

  • Tagging them in relevant blog posts
  • Offering promotional discounts
  • Early access to new products
  • Invitations to networking events
  • Providing prizes to host contests and sweepstakes

It’s a Pay-to-Play World for Businesses on Social Media

Businesses on Social Media

A big part of the reason why Facebook and others have made it harder for businesses to reach customers through organic blog posts and videos is because they want to bring more business to their paid advertising services.

After all, social media offers a pretty unique product – millions upon millions of active prospects that can be filtered down according to their age, location, occupation, and interests with extremely precise segmentation tools. When you add in the fact that organic engagement on Facebook and other channels has decreased by more than 100% since 2012, investing in these services seems like a no-brainer.

Appropriately, in 2018, digital marketers increased their social media advertising budgets by 32% on services such as Facebook Ads.

However, scattershot advertising is unlikely to benefit your business’s revenues in any tangible way. A successful social media campaign needs to be backed up by clear branding, defined objectives, creative content, relevant messaging, and constant testing to ensure optimal efficiency.

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Unless you’re paying attention to all of these elements on a daily basis you will find it impossible to draw real clicks back to your business website.

Chatbots Make Social Media More Accessible

Chatbots Social Media

Whether negative or positive, a significant portion of customer experiences end up being broadcasted through reviews and posts on social networks.

As a result, many businesses retain a full-time team to monitor and manage all mentions of their brand. The sheer ubiquity of social media platforms means that a lot of feedback still ends up falling through the cracks. Ignoring these digitally-savvy social media users could potentially impact your business’s reputation and your overall popularity.

A social media messenger chatbot can help you remain accessible to these users. These automated conversational platforms can answer basic questions, provide helpful information, and direct customers towards relevant resources at all times of the day. Since 2017, Facebook has offered businesses simple tools to develop and implement their own chatbots on Facebook messenger and WhatsApp, and Twitter has added similar functionalities on their messenger.

If you want to make your social media more accessible to new audiences then a chatbot is a great social media trend to adopt in 2019.

2019 Social Media Trends Summary

  • To recap, 2019 looks to double-down on the hot button issues and trends of 2018. That means an increased focus on:
    Privacy and data security
  • Videos, both polished and rough-cut live versions
    Use of influencers
  • Responsiveness and instant customer service

Seek Expert Guidance for Your 2019 Social Media Strategy

As arguably one of the biggest factors affecting brand reputation, purchasing decisions and consumer awareness, social media is no longer just a ‘nice to have.’ Brands must not only be present and active on ALL social media platforms their audience uses, but they must be MASTERS at it.

Competitors have already figured out the secrets of what your target market wants and needs–and they are delivering it. If you are doing anything less, it is readily apparent.

You no longer have the luxury of time to figure out what to do and how to do it. Now is the time to bring in expert social media marketing strategists to get your brand up to speed and beyond. Talk to the social media marketing experts at CMDS for a free consultation about how you can jumpstart your social media presence. Call 732.706-5555 or email info@cmdsonline.com so set up an appointment.

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