Each year we see shifts in the preferences of social media users. Platforms make adjustments to entertain and predict those shifts. Business pages/ profiles have to consistently adapt to stay relevant and appealing to their audience. Some trends expected for 2019 are not revolutionary, in fact, some are already happening but we'll see more of them next year. These trends are relevant and important!
- Video - This social media trend is no surprise. Video, especially live, has increased across almost all social media platforms. We get notifications when Instagram users go live in their stories and in Facebook when a page or person we interact with goes live. Click Here to learn how you can capitalize on your live videos. According to Social Media Today, "80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2019." Video doesn't have to be high quality and carefully executed but it does need to resonate with your audience.
- Influencers - When the concept of influencers began, there was a misconception that the influencer needed to have a mega following. But in 2019, we're expected to see marketers realizing that micro influencing can be just as powerful because their relationship may be closer with their audience. To find micro influencers, try searching relevant terms or hashtags to your industry and simply make an introduction. *Pro Tip: Be sure to vet their profile thoroughly to ensure your values align. You want their published content to be genuine but still aligning with key messaging. Consider having a key messaging document ready. Lastly, don't forget to incentive your influencer!
- Genuine Interactions - We began seeing more of this in 2018 but in 2019 it's time to really engage. Pages should be checking tags, check-ins, comments, shares and mentions to interact with those interacting with their page. Respond to comments on posts daily. Thank them for sharing your content. Let them know you see them for an individual. This helps to build trust and a connection with those that experience your brand. Pro Tip: consider creating groups where your 'tribe' can connect over relevant topics in your industry. Be the conversation starter but also encourage others to start them too.
- Stories - It's no surprise that we should expect businesses to begin using stories more in 2019. Instagram and Facebook both integrating stories is a clear indication that they recognize the trend of receiving real-time updates. Stories allow real, personal, and timely content which increases top of mind awareness and allows a deeper connection. It also allows some vulnerability and rawness so that brand users can see 'behind the brand.' “We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in Feed as the most common way that people share across all social apps," said Mark Zuckerberg. Take it from the CEO of Facebook and be an early adopter.
- Chat Boxes - You've probably interacted with brands that use chat boxes. This allows consistent lead generation and real time responses for things like placing orders or scheduling appointments. You can create and manage your own bot or hire a third party platform. Here's an article from Entrepreneur that discuses top chat box platforms.
- Personalization & Trust Building - 2018 was a year of distrust rising within platforms, businesses need to earn the trust of the audience now more than ever. By interacting genuinely and treating your audience like individuals rather than a 'bulk audience.' When creating ads, we recommend to stick to your personified ideal customers. Give your ideal customers a name, occupation, age, family dynamic and other identifying factors so that you can keep them in mind throughout ad creation. [Stay tuned for a blog about the details we include in our client personifications.]
- More Creativity - As the cost of social media ads increase and more marketers utilize social media ads, it's critical to 'rise above the noise.' Investing in creativity and standing out may prove to be equally important as having a great strategy. With platforms that can block ads and Millennial and Get Z easily skipping for ads without being phased, businesses will need to be able to grab their attention. Be sure to A/B test your ads to truly gauge what your audience responds best to.
As always, your content should provide value to your audience such as entertainment, information, or inspiration.