In 2019, social media is a vital marketing tool for business owners. It can help them achieve a number of goals like growing their audiences, increasing brand awareness, connecting to customers and ultimately bringing in more sales.
Just check out some of these social media stats:
- Over 88% of all companies are using social media marketing
- 90% of all marketers report that social media marketing has boosted their business exposure
- In the United States, 7 out of 10 people belong to at least one social media site
- Over half of the users on social media sites interact with businesses more than once a month.
If your business hasn’t already, it’s time to sign up for social media accounts and start taking advantage of the many benefits that social platforms have to offer. However, don’t rely on outdated strategies for attracting your audience. By embracing the latest trends, your business can connect with customers in innovative ways and ensure you’re staying competitive with others.
The following are the top 10 social media trends of 2019 that businesses can use in their strategies.
1. Reliable Data
Data has been all the rage these past few years. With the rise in connected devices and tracking technology, companies can now use a plethora of data to more accurately target their audiences and make strategic marketing and sales decisions.
One of the biggest social media trends in 2018 was the gathering of reliable data. The acquisition of reliable data is crucial in helping businesses decide where to focus their marketing and advertising campaigns. Knowing where their audience is on social media can help them determine how and where they should allocate their time and resources.
For instance, when running advertising campaigns on Facebook, you can view valuable data like who viewed your ads, where your audience lives, what devices your audience is using and much more. With that knowledge, you can see what worked and what didn’t, and enhance your advertising campaigns the next time around while keeping that data in mind.
Remember: Simply having the data isn’t enough. Businesses also need to be able to correctly interpret it and put it to good use by striving to constantly improve upon their efforts.
In 2018, video was one of most influential social media trends, and that’s only going to continue in 2019. According to WordStream, more than 500 million hours of video are watched each day on YouTube alone. In addition, 87% of online marketers use video content, and 51% of marketers across the globe agree that video content has the best ROI.
For businesses to get the most out of social media videos, they need to tell a compelling story in a short amount of time, use subtitles to appeal to those scrolling through videos on their feeds, shoot in landscape mode using a high-quality camera and hook the audience in the first 30 seconds of their videos.
Influencers are people who have a strong online presence on social media and, through that visibility, influence the online behavior of others. Influencers fall in two categories: micro and macro. Micro-influencers are social media personalities with typically less than 10,000 followers, while macro-influencers are social media celebrities with sometimes millions of followers. Last year was a breakout year for influencers, and many businesses have benefited from their impact.
Macro and micro-influencers have loyal followers. They are trusted personalities in niche communities and generally have a level of expertise in and experience with the products or services they advertise. More importantly, they work independently of the businesses whose products and services they promote, which preserves the trust between influencer and follower. A great product review from a macro or micro-influencer can build trust between businesses and consumers, provided that a positive influencer review leads to a positive consumer experience.
Chatbots, which are robots that engage in chatting with customers and providing customer service, are effective tools that save energy and time for businesses, and can ensure customers have a smooth experience.
Looking back at social media trends in 2018, the use of chatbots was one of the fastest growing. The trend isn’t in just having a chatbot. It’s in maximizing the potential of chatbots to serve as efficient communications tools.
According to Krista Neher, many chatbots are not doing a great job with providing positive consumer experiences. Neher said she suspects that some businesses may abandon the chatbot because it’s not effective. However, it appears that many more companies are willing to invest time and resources into “understanding the consumer experience to create something that works for both consumers and the business.” How important will chatbots be for marketing? Some experts are estimating that more than 80% of of all customer interactions will be handled without a human operator by 2020.
Businesses that want to utilize chatbots have to make sure their chatbots’ voices match up with their brands and are consistent with their messaging. They also have to set goals for their chatbots -- like figuring out exactly what steps the chatbots should encourage the customers to take -- and adding hints for users. Hints may look like this: “What kinds of flowers would you like? Roses, daffodils or sunflowers?”
This may not seem like an obvious choice for a social media trend for 2019. However, trust in social media and the companies that use its many platforms took a downward trend in 2018, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. This is due to an increase in fake news, hate speech and privacy invasion over the last year.
Anna Crowe of Search Engine Journal said she is confident that 2019 will see a major push by content marketing agencies and the companies they service to “create a more transparent and meaningful relationship between the user and the brands” by telling authentic and intimate stories.
Content marketing agencies work closely with companies to tell a story -- the story of a company’s product and services. More and more, companies and the agencies they rely on are going a step further. They are telling authentic stories that matter to their audiences.
For example, Verizon released a video series called, “The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here,” which tells the true stories of professional football players who likely wouldn’t be alive today were it not for the heroics of the first responders who helped save the lives of the athletes. The stories are told by the people who lived through the experiences, not by actors.
The spot aired during professional football games and appeared on social media sites. Verizon didn’t advertise a single product or service, but the authenticity of the video is sure to win over potential future customers for Verizon. Other companies are following suit.
6. Mobile content
According to IMPACT, 80% of internet users own a smartphone, and internet users spend nearly 70% of their media time on smartphones. Mobile content has been trending so long that it should be promoted from social media trend to “fixture.” Marketers have been aware and followed the evolution of mobile content for many years now. But the fact remains that there are some out there who have yet to create dedicated mobile marketing strategies. Not doing so could lead to a declining client base and, of course, lost revenue for companies.
Given that 79% of smartphone users have made online purchases on their devices in the last six months, companies will surely benefit relying more on mobile content. If that wasn’t motivation enough, 80% of mobile device users utilized their devices inside of a brick and mortar store to look up product reviews, compare prices and find other stores that carried the same products they sought.
7. The Flourishing of Private Groups on Social Media
When Facebook started emphasizing paid over organic advertising for Facebook business pages, some businesses created Facebook Groups instead. In 2018, Facebook introduced new features for Groups including being able to update them with Stories, hosting live videos and creating social learning units.
Businesses can now utilize Groups when it comes to interacting with their audiences without having to worry about the Facebook algorithm burying their posts. On Instagram, some influencers have created private accounts in a response to the Instagram algorithm as well, and have seen positive results. Private groups can actually be more profitable and provide better feedback to businesses than public pages.
8. The Death of Fake Followers
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are wildly popular social media sites, and due to third party services that provide fake followers and likes in exchange for payment, these social media platforms have had to go on the defense. According to one study from 2017, nearly 48 million Twitter users are not actually people. In 2018, Facebook deleted nearly 1.3 billion fake accounts over the course of six months.
One social media trend in 2018 was the increase of artificial likes and followers on social media platforms. This practice has been done on many social media accounts to increase popularity, but can result in damage to the platform’s reputation and that of the businesses that hope to engage and grow their audience.
For 2019, expect the reduction or elimination of these fictitious likes and followers. Businesses may be attracted to the idea of buying followers and likes, but it won’t serve them well when it actually comes to converting. There is no way to convert fake followers into paying consumers.
9. Sales Nurturing
Not too long ago, businesses’ social media platforms were used in the product discovery phase. Potential customers could learn about products before laying down their cash. Taking into account a survey where 55% of respondents who discovered a product through social media proceeded to make a purchase later on, this year will see the continued push towards producing consideration stage content and sales nurturing, venturing well beyond brand awareness and engagement.
10. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality, or AR, was in its infancy as a social media trend in 2018. This year will see AR come of age. Marketers are always one step ahead when it comes to identifying, adopting and implementing social media trends into their marketing strategies, and the companies that rely on their expertise are the beneficiaries.
Snapchat was the pioneer of AR on social media. People on Snapchat are able to use AR lenses and filters that are built into the platform or create their own. They can also transform themselves into 3D Bitmojis and put themselves in the real world, as well as play games with other users and friends using Snappables, which are AR selfie games. On Instagram, Facebook and Facebook Messenger, users can also put on third-party AR filters to spruce up their photos. Facebook is moving past just providing selfie filters, and investing in AR that allows users to incorporate 3D objects into Facebook news posts that come in the form of virtual gifts.
Following the Social Media Trends of 2019 and Beyond
Businesses following the social media marketing trends in 2019 will surely reap the benefits. By using the best practices behind these trends, they will be prepared for success in 2019 and beyond.