2019 Social Media Trends

2018 was a year of big changes for social media marketing. We saw Facebook on trial, influencer marketing grow to new heights, and a rise in one-to-one messaging. People are more concerned about privacy than ever, but also more willing to purchase directly through social media apps. But that’s not all. Hootsuite – one of our favourite marketing automation tools – gave a useful roundup of their predictions for social media trends in 2019, which we’ve broken down into five easily-digestible points below. Consider these when deciding your 2019 marketing and content strategies.

Trust & Authenticity

2018 saw several high-profile data leaks where personal information was stolen or shared beyond what was allowed. One of the biggest scandals involved Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, and the accidental sharing of more than 87 million profiles. Add to that the role of social media in the 2016 US election and UK/EU referendum, and it’s easy to see why people are distrusting social media in ever-growing numbers. Fake news is everywhere, and the darker side of influencer marketing is being brought to light by celebrities like Jameela Jamil. Trust in social media has been steadily eroding in recent years; 2019 is the time to rebuild it.

Now, more than ever, brands need to make their social media presence feel honest and authentic. But how can you do that for your brand? Start by having more dialogue with your customers and audience to build a level of trust and personalisation. Ask more questions and take a genuine interest in the answers. Utilise user-generated content, employee testimonials, more lifestyle marketing and fewer product campaigns. Be open about the process of buying and returning products, make unsubscribing easy. If you make a mistake, don’t sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened, hold your hands up and make it right. Make 2019 the year of increased accountability.

Key Takeaways:

  • Create 2-way communication with your audience
  • Utilise user-generated content and lifestyle marketing
  • Make brand advocates out of your employees. Their testimonials are valuable.
  • Don’t trap customers with hard-to-cancel subscriptions or confusing returns policies.
  • Take ownership of mistakes

Stories & Live Media

When Instagram implemented Stories, many people said they were just copying Snapchat. They said it would never work. Fast-forward 12 months and Instagram Stories is among the most popular social media content formats out there. Stories are more personable than in-feed posts, generating a closer connection between brand and audience. Stories are more immediate, making people feel closer to the content. Plus, most stories only stick around for 24 hours, meaning people are keen to view them before they’re gone forever.

Use of Stories and other forms of immediate content (livestreams and webinars, for example) is set to continue to increase for the foreseeable future. The tricky part is striking the right balance between timeliness and production quality. Low-quality content is quick and easy to produce, but is unlikely to stand out amongst the multitude of other stories being promoted to your audience. High-quality content takes time to make, but performs better. They key is finding a comfortable mid-point, producing content with high enough quality to stand out in a reasonable timeframe.

The rise of Instagram Stories is symptomatic of a growing trend for live content. Streaming sites like Twitch.tv are already incredibly popular, and Youtube and Facebook are seeing increased livestreaming activity too. Not only that, but Hootsuite are predicting that Facebook Stories will see increased use in 2019, so it might be a good idea to get in there before the competition hots up…

Key Takeaways:

  • Make more use of Instagram Stories.
  • Find a good balance between timeliness and production-quality.
  • Look into livestreaming, webinars, and other forms of immediate content.
  • Consider Facebook Stories alongside Instagram
Communities & Influencers

This one will come as no surprise, but demand for personalised content is set to increase. It’s predicted we’ll see a decline in cookie-cutter marketing campaigns and increased divergence in the types of content delivered on each social platform. Not only that, but we’ll also see brands targeting smaller and smaller audiences with much more relevant content. We’re already seeing this where brands have championed micro-influencers with small-but-dedicated followings over large celebrity influencers with massive diverse followings. Additionally, we’re seeing big brands create communities of like-minded individuals through clever use of Facebook groups and Twitter hashtags.

Additionally, younger generations using social media have grown up with big, bold social media advertising and can see straight through it. Brands need to use social media creatively and innovatively to ensure they rise above the noise and speak effectively to their target audience. Targeting a small community can feel like reducing your potential, but the possible gain in conversion rates can offset the decrease in reach.

Key Takeaways:

  • Experiment with your own branded hashtags to drive Twitter conversations.
  • Create targeted community Facebook groups linked to your Facebook pages.
  • Consider use of micro-influencers
Shopping & Simplifying

In-app purchases are predicted to make a bit of a splash in 2019. We aren’t talking about buying gems in Clash of Clans here, but about people using social media apps like Instagram to buy things directly from you. This kind of purchasing has been widespread in areas of Asia a few years, but the West has come around to this idea more slowly. This sluggishness might be linked to the privacy issues mentioned towards the start of this post, but consumers and brands are now beginning to catch up.

Take advantage of this growing trend by making buying easy. If using Instagram Stories, make good use of the “Swipe Up” feature to take people directly to your store page, or, better yet, make it so that people can purchase directly through Instagram or Facebook. Reducing the number of steps required in making a purchase can actually drive sales, as there are fewer points where customers can fall through the cracks, and less need for customers to sign in/up to your site (a big source of customer loss).

Along with this trend is a growing trend for lifestyle and brand-in-action photography and video, particularly in the fashion industry. What looks better than a cosy jumper on a plain white background? That same cosy jumper on a model in a log cabin next to a fire.

Key Takeaways:

  • Utilise “buy now” buttons on social media platforms
  • Utilise the “swipe up” feature on Instagram Stories
  • Reduce the number of steps required to buy products
  • Increase use of lifestyle marketing
Messaging & Instant Chat

The final trend highlighted in Hootsuite’s social media trends roundup is an increase in one-to-one interaction. Use of Facebook timelines is decreasing, while use of Facebook messenger is increasing. And that’s not just true for personal accounts. Facebook business pages are seeing increased numbers of messages as people are choosing to get in touch directly rather than crawl through product/FAQ pages for answers to their questions. This trend could be linked to privacy worries mentioned earlier, as are more people trusting of companies they can communicate with directly.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all allow for some level of direct communication. Additionally, many websites now use instant-chat windows, letting people ask questions and complete purchases quickly with an increased level of personal interaction. The downside is that this kind of one-to-one interaction doesn’t scale easily. Small-to-medium size companies may struggle to implement this due to the amount of human resource required.
The upside is that even a touch of one-to-one interaction can help. If you can’t manage a 24-hour service or a one-to-one messaging service during business hours, guaranteeing to reply within a certain time-frame can be enough to build trust.

An increase in direct messaging also opens the way for new marketing methods, including one-to-one advertising (take care to avoid spam!) and running competitions through messaging apps. Have a think about the ways these could benefit you and your brand.

Key Takeaways:

  • Let customers contact you directly on social media
  • Consider a chat-feature for your website
  • Consider marketing directly to individuals
  • Avoid spam like the plague

So there you have it, the top social media predictions for 2019. Got any insights of your own you’d like us to hear? Any burning questions? Drop us a line or send us a Tweet. We love to have a chat.