Make no mistake about it:
2019 is going to be a big year for social media.
Thanks to fake news, government investigations, growing demand for influencers and the ability to access improved analytics, we are likely to see some huge changes.
While that may be good news for a platform’s users, it can make our job as social media managers, well…a little challenging.
But do not fret. We are here to make it much easier!
In this forward-looking article, we are going to show you the most important social media trends of 2019, and how they might affect your strategy.
Meaning you have the essential information you need to fill your social media calendar and prepare for the coming year.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Table of Content
- Original Content Will Get Priority
- Leading With ROI Will Be Key
- Double-Down On Data-Driven Decisions
- More Native Advertising
- Micro Influence Is The New Black
- There Is A Growing Need For Authenticity
- Companies Will Focus More On Employer Branding
- The Rise Of The Multi-Channel Strategy
- Artificial Intelligence Will Start Making An Impact
- Content Will Get Richer
1. Original Content Will Get Priority
In 2019 we are going to see a conscious effort from social media platforms to feature high-quality content shared from original sources.
This change comes in the wake of official upgrades of algorithms and publishing guidelines for many major social networks.
French website, Blog du Moderateur, recently observed changes to Facebook’s publisher guidelines which state their algorithm will:
- Penalize duplicate or stolen content.
- Suppress content which violates copyright law.
Facebook will also determine this by using factors such as the number of on-page adverts, clickbait titles and the overall perceived quality of a website.
Twitter has also recently cracked down on people with multiple accounts, automated posting, and bulk tweeting to help eradicate spam and low-quality content.
The effects of this could result in increased organic reach when you share owned media, such as blog posts and podcast episodes. If not, they will get priority over the low-quality content competing for spots in the news feed.
“Monitor, engage, and be transparent; these have always been the keys to success in the digital space.” — Dallas Lawrence
2. Leading With ROI Will Be Key
One of the most impactful social media trends of 2019 will be making decisions based on their return on investment (ROI) for your business.
Depending on where you are in your business journey, this could be time, money or both.
The ROI of social media has been notoriously hard to calculate in the past, which has led to many marketers question their time and investment on platforms and only keeping an active presence out of necessity.
If you have ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk’s, “What is the ROI of your mother?” video, you know exactly what we are talking about (warning: there are some f-bombs):
However, as social media analytics have become more sophisticated, tracking the direct ROI to your business is much easier.
If you have set clear goals like:
- Build brand awareness.
- Increase post engagement.
- Drive traffic to your ecommerce site.
- Generate leads for your service.
- Increase email list sign ups.
- Provide a dedicated customer service channel.
You can use a tool, like Loomly’s advanced social media analytics, to track the metrics which indicate a positive ROI for you.
You can then use this data to help you make decisions which will help you improve your ROI with each new cycle of your social media calendar (more on that in the next point):
Leading with ROI is especially important if you are paying for sponsored posts as part of your campaigns.
It will help you to reduce wasted advertising spend by running tests, reviewing results and adjusting course, before investing large sums of money into a type of ad.
3. Double Down On Data-Driven Decisions
Now, more than ever, you need to use data to guide your decision making.
Because, in a world where there are an infinite amount of social media trends to follow, tactics to try, and experiments to run, data helps you gain clarity.
If you are taking an ROI-led approach (like we mentioned in the last section), this will enable you to see which:
- Metrics are increasing.
- Posts have the most impact.
- Platform returns the most ROI.
Basically, it shows you what was successful and how to replicate it.
This part of the content publishing process is often forgotten about by marketers, yet, as you can see in the graphic below, it plays a vital role:
The data you collect will influence two of the most important factors of your next social media cycle:
- What you publish: content, copywriting, tone of voice, styles of post, etc.
- How you publish: date, time, platform, hashtags, etc.
We recommend you dive into your data at the end of every publishing cycle, which would usually be weekly or monthly.
The more frequently you do this, and make slight adjustments, the better your strategy will become over time.
It also helps to have a powerful social media analytics tool to help you do this, like the one we offer with Loomly.
4. More Native Advertising
One of the most potentially game-changing social media trends for 2019 is going to be an increase in native advertising:
“Native advertising is material in an online publication which resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the advertiser’s product.”
On social media, most in-feed ads and sponsored ads, as well as influencer promotion, are considered native advertising, like this post from Visit San Diego on National Geographic Travel’s feed:
This piece of content looks more natural in a news feed and is more likely to make someone stop and pay attention. As you can see, the above post has 101,700+ likes and a few hundred comments!
Seeing the familiar name of an account you have chosen is much more likely to make a user stop and pay attention.
Because you can join a conversation which is already happening in a user’s mind. They are checking their feed to see if their favorite brands and influencers are telling stories or recommending products, services, and ideas.
The organic-looking format, and the potential attachment to an influencer, plus the increased likelihood a user will stop scrolling and interact, is a powerful tool in any social media marketer’s arsenal. (More on that in the next section.)
Although sponsored posts are still an excellent tool, it is worth looking at allocating some of your advertising budgets to these kinds of posts in your 2019 social media strategy.
5. Micro Influence Is The New Black
It is no secret:
Influencer marketing works.
Connecting with influencers and their audiences has the power to grow your business, and social media following, like wildfire.
GymShark, a British-based sports clothing brand, used Instagram influencers to grow their brand to $128 million in revenue and 2.7 million followers on the platform.
But as demand for influencers has grown, it has also become more costly for marketers to use this strategy.
Independent research on Instagram shows prices can range dramatically based on who you are working with:
- Independent influencers: $75 to $500 per post.
- Agency-managed influencers: $1,000 per 100,000 followers.
- Celebrities: up to $500,000 per post.
This hefty price tag means we are seeing a shift towards what we call Friends Marketing.
Friends marketing is taking your new and existing customers and converting them into micro-brand ambassadors.
Because, as surveys show, 82% of people ask their peers for advice before making a purchase.
This means your customers, with small followings made up of family, friends, and colleagues, have the potential to become your most impactful social media influencers.
Unlike many influencers who expect payment or affiliate income from their posts, these micro-influencers are happy to share for discounts, vouchers, and special rewards.
The overall cost to your business is reduced. The scale of your marketing is easily increased. And, you can keep customers interacting with your brand for a longer period.
If you want to learn more about friends marketing, we have a nice guest post by our friends from Spitche right here.
“Today people don’t trust companies. One of the things marketers want to do is to humanize their brand. What better way to do it than put a live person in front of them?” — Jackie Huba
6. There Is A Growing Need For Authenticity (The Aftermath of Fake News!)
“Fake News” is a term which is guaranteed to provoke a reaction.
You have probably seen and experienced it at some point, and it has left you feeling a little like this:
Social media has been one of the main players in the spread of fake news, with research showing lies spread faster than facts on social platforms.
This has led to an increased desire for authenticity in marketing.
In fact, research conducted by Social Media Today shows that:
- 90% of Millenials,
- 85% of GenXers and
- 80% of Baby Boomers
look for authenticity in a brand when trying to decide which brands to follow or purchase from.
They also found that 70% of users could tell the difference between authentic and inauthentic content, and as many as 20% of users have unfollowed a brand as a direct result.
If you want to grow a dedicated social media following, then, authenticity should play a large part in your social media strategy for 2019.
However, it is important to define what authenticity is. For many users your content should be:
- Real and organic.
- Depicting their worldview.
It should also showcase a level of user-generated content from your customers. Real people, in real situations, using your product to their benefit.
7. Companies Will Focus More On Employer Branding
One of the major social media trends for 2019 is going to be employer branding.
Companies, both large and small, are going to be using their channels to entice top talent and present themselves as an attractive place to work.
LinkedIn will most likely be the epicenter of this employer branding.
Because LinkedIn has a lot of flexibility and benefits for employers:
- Target audience: people on the platform are already in “work” mode.
- Rich content: allowing employers to publish text, links, videos, images and native blog posts.
- Specific targeting: adverts shown based on job titles, qualifications, education and experience.
A great example of this is AppDynamics, who have created a campaign called Agents of Transformation:
This campaign focuses on helping employees in the technology sector identify what kind of employee they are, and how their skills can be best used in the workplace, to become an “agent of change” in the industry.
The branding of this campaign creates a positive association to AppDynamics and makes you think if they are actively trying to help non-employees, what must they be doing for their employees?
It is worth mentioning, though, that not all of this employer branding is happening on Linkedin. Especially for companies who focus on business-to-consumer products and services.
L’Oréal Talent uses the visual aspect of Instagram to show how fun and enjoyable it is to work for them:
If your company is entering a period of growth in 2019, it is worth considering how you can use social media to make you attractive to both customers and employees.
8. The Rise Of The Multi-Channel Strategy
We predict 2019 will cement the need for a multi-channel strategy.
It is going to become more and more important that your business has a presence in multiple places, like:
- Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- Content platforms: YouTube, Medium, Quora, etc.
- Direct response: Email, Facebook messages, etc.
- Owned media: Blogs or podcasts.
From an ROI point of view, this is becoming more important because, as research shows, consumers are going through many more touch points before they make a purchase.
They will need to see your brand in more places and feel like you have delivered more value before they consider parting with their hard-earned cash.
A simplified customer journey may look like:
- Find your article in Google.
- Follow you on Instagram.
- See your next five to seven updates.
- Interact with a handful of them.
- See a social post about your free email course.
- Sign up to course.
- Receive a handful of emails about your new products.
- Convert to a customer.
This requires a lot of consistent updating, across multiple platforms, to guide the user to a sale.
It is also non-linear like we would usually imagine a sales funnel to be, and requires you to be active and covering lots of bases.
Before you shoot off and start using all the social channels available, we should give you a warning.
To effectively implement a multi-channel strategy, you are going to need an effective workflow, so members of each team can communicate, and keep brand messaging consistent.
You should check out this guide on how to create an effective social media workflow if you want to know more.
“We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency. Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value. ” — Pete Cashmore
9. Artificial Intelligence Will Start Making An Impact
Artificial intelligence has been a social media buzzword the last few years, with many people wondering what kind of impact it will have on how we use (and market) across platforms.
Globe Newswire shared research which shows 2019 will be the year AI starts making a splash on social media, with an anticipated 30% growth rate between now and 2023.
This comes as a result of the increase in smart homes and audio devices containing AI which can better predict a consumer’s preferences and behaviors.
For us as marketers though, artificial intelligence will help to separate signal from noise, and make better decisions about what we share on social media.
This will drastically reduce the amount of time spent sifting through data and analytics, and more time working on the actionable insights that an installed AI can provide.
We are currently working on a top-secret artificial intelligence project here at Loomly, and will update this section as soon as we can share it with you!
10. Content Will Get Richer
At the start of this hack, you read about how the quality of content is going to improve. But, that is not the only way it is going to change in 2019.
Social media content is likely to get richer as the year goes on.
One of the major changes we are predicting is an increase in immersive virtual reality content, like this video from National Geographic:
Facebook has already rolled out the capabilities to send 360 degree photographs with Facebook Messenger, which will likely extend to videos soon.
YouTube is also looking for creators to create spherical videos, and has recently launched a virtual reality app for the Oculus Go headset.
Another place we expect content to grow in depth and functionality is through Live video.
At the end of 2018, Facebook began testing a QVC style version of its Live video platform.
It enabled retailers and influencers to announce when they would be selling products via live video, allowing consumers to reserve items and even make payments via Facebook messenger.
This could also bring around a shift in their advertising platform and how brands sell products on social.
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We hope by now you have a much clearer idea of the key social media trends of 2019, and have the information you need to create a solid content strategy going forward.
The key takeaway from this list is that ROI and data should form the backbone of everything you do.
As these social media platforms shift and change and update what they do, your data will help you keep a keen eye on the horizon, and adjust course in the way which most benefits your business.
Do you know what else can help you keep on top of all of 2019’s social media trends?
Having a social media calendar which works for you and provides you with all of the detailed insights you need to have your best year on social media.
As such, we would like to invite you to enjoy a 15-day free trial of Loomly to see how it can benefits you social media strategy!