The world of social media is constantly changing, bringing new trends, ideas, and unspoken rules each year. In most cases, the changes aren’t sudden or unexpected, but rather gradual and relatively predictable - for example, who was really surprised to see Google + shut down?
In this post, I’ll go through the expected social media trends of 2019. Some of them are already here, and growing slowly, but aren’t at full hype just yet. Some are big and booming, and expected to get even bigger in 2019.
Here are the most expected, and truth be told, exciting shifts of note:
1. Social listening
Social listening (monitoring) is the act of crawling the web and social media platforms to find all mentions of a brand (or any other keywords). This includes untagged brand mentions on social media, mentions of industry keywords that signal the interest to buy a product, mentions on blogs, forums, and news sites. The current primary goals of social listening are customer service and reputation management, even though there are, of course, many others.
While using social listening for these two causes is expected to become even bigger, the real trend of 2019 is going to be using social media listening for lead generation and social selling. So far, only a tiny number of brands do this, yet that number is gradually rising as marketers discover that they can find people looking for the exact services they offer on social media.
Some tools are even introducing features made specifically for lead generation in their toolbox.
Given that people sharing their frustrations, ideas, and recommendations online are not about to stop, social listening usage will continue to grow, and expand to include new possibilities.
If you’d like to start with social listening before 2019 arrives, check out this list of tools.
2. Video content
Every year, video content continues to grow, and in 2019, video content is expected to once again dominate the market. In fact, according to some experts, 80% of what we consume online will soon be video content.
This is especially true for live videos. Having always been popular on YouTube, the trend has now taken over Facebook and Instagram, to the point when we get notified when someone is going live.
The authentic and ephemeral nature of live videos seems to make them especially attractive and meaningful to social media users. Live videos increase the perceived trustworthiness and relevance of a brand, and it’s a trend that you don't want to ignore.
It should go without saying that you have to deliver engaging and exciting content, just as you would on a blog or anywhere else, but we’ll mention this anyway, just in case.
The main reason that videos have become more and more popular is that it’s getting easier to film, even on a rather good production level. But while your audience will be forgiving - it’s understood that live videos are spontaneous and things can go wrong - you definitely should seek to avoid annoying technical problems where possible.
In the past couple of years, social media influencers have become a major trend. We now have Instagram stars, Twitter influencers, YouTube millionaires. These people have millions of followers - their every post, or vlog, or tweet is instantly seen by more people than TV ad makers could ever hope for. It was grand and revolutionary when the power of social media influencers became clear to everyone - and it still is.
However, as the number of social media influencers has grown over time, prices for their services have also skyrocketed. That's lead more businesses to look at other alternatives, including micro-influencer marketing.
As opposed to major influencers, micro-influencers exist in every marketing niche. They have followings of fewer than 10 000 people, but most of their followers are genuinely interested in what they have to say. And they're very engaged - micro-influencers are often considered experts in their niche.
These smaller names are not massively targeted by advertisers, so they are trustworthy and down-to-earth. The marketing potential is very high and marketers are about to recognize this in 2019.
Given the vast amount of information being uploaded by people each day, it's become very easy to get insights into all kinds of information about the people sitting behind the screen. This has opened the door for enhanced personalization, and that, in turn, has increased consumer expectation for the same.
Content, products, emails - all of it can now be based on the consumer’s purchase history, clicked links, social media posts, and other behavior. Booking.com, for example, notifies you about deals in the locations you’ve been to, Netflix offers shows to watch based on your taste, Amazon and eBay show products similar to the ones you’ve bought before. And this is before you even consider Google and Facebook - they know us inside and out, and use this information to make our experience personalized.
While personalized marketing can be unsettling (especially when you consider all the information companies have on you), it’s also truly convenient for the user, and customers are not likely to give up the benefits any time soon.
As much as 96% of marketers believe that personalization advances customer relationship. Customers might worry about vague privacy risks, but they still appreciate the suggested product they’ve been looking for, as well as the notification of the sale in their favorite shop.
Despite the concerns, personalization is clearly the way to go for marketers to boost campaign performance.
The almost immediate future of marketing is real-time communication. The social media trends in marketing are the 24/7 customer support, real-time social selling, chatbots, and constant monitoring for a potential social media crisis.
This is because social media never sleeps - customers continue to use your products, talk about them online, and buy new items at any given moment. This has been happening for a while, and finally, technology has caught up - we now have the tools to look for mentions of a brand in real time, tools that schedule content to be posted at any point, chatbots that offer immediate help.
In 2019, consumers will expect their Twitter complaint to be answered straight away, and won’t get surprised when you immediately comment on the “Does anyone know a good alternative to Trello?” with an offer of your product. It’s just the world we live in - no one has the time to wait. People want their problems solved and their needs met, now.
As a marketer, I can’t wait for these trends to come into more significant effect, and to change our lives for the better. As always, 2019 will prove to be challenging as marketers seek to adapt, but new tools and options will enhance the consumer process, and provide new ways to connect and convert in real-time.