Today’s post is from Zee Cox, a social media expert, blogger and a writer for Local Cable Deals.
Never before was a generation so virtually active than the one thriving at present. According to Statista’s report, the estimated headcount of social media users around the globe is expected to rise up to 2.77 billion this very year. What does this fact show you? That the future is all about increased interactivity and co-creation.
The world of social media is constantly evolving. It may have started off on a small footing, but it has grown to become a gargantuan entity. So much so, that people now prefer consuming content by scrolling through their newsfeeds and engaging with their friends over social media channels—rather than spending their time watching TV or playing video games, as figured by Stoubos. Just observe the general lifestyle and you will find truth in this assertion.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and other forums have become household names. This shows the power and influence that social media continues to have over consumer circles. If the businesses and brands of today wish to expand their outreach and bring in more profits, then they need to plan their marketing strategies around this rising sun of social media. In other words, if you, as a digital marketer, wish to divert more traffic to your online domain, then you must dive deep within the pool of social media and catch your audience there.
However, with each passing year, social media incorporates new and exciting trends into its makeup, with the purpose of increasing the user involvement and refining the user experience. If you want to stay ahead of your social media game in 2019, then I suggest that you take note of these expert-predicted changes, and mold your marketing strategies accordingly. Some of them are quite subtle, while others can be termed as downright uproarious. In this post, I will be listing the top social media marketing trends which you need to watch out for in this dawning year. Check them out below.
1. Live Video Content
You cannot exist in two places at one time, can you? No. However, with Facebook Live, you can. Yes, this ground-breaking video-push feature allows you to enjoy a rock concert while attending a business meeting simultaneously. All you have to do is gain access to a “going live” feed and you will be able to experience an ongoing performance in all its rawness, and be a part of ‘the moment’. According to Social Media Today, around 3.5 billion live videos have been broadcasted on Facebook up till now, and the trend is not about to stop in this present year. You will be seeing many brand awareness campaigns meted out through this “going live” feature, primarily due to its authentic and personalized appeal for the audiences. So, do include this marketing technique in your 2019 plan.
2. AI-Driven Service
Artificial Intelligence or AI is the beacon of a technologically-rich future. It has already made quite an impact in the form of facial-recognition, voice-control or some such wonders across different spheres of society. Nevertheless, 2019 promises to show an even brighter picture of this advanced tech, especially in the domain of social media. Yes, this year, you can be sure to find an enhanced customer personalization, creative ad optimization and an efficient AI chatbot utilization meted out by businesses and brands on social media channels. This integration of AI into Facebook, Instagram, and alike platforms is expected to refine the way marketers meet their consumers’ expectations. Some of the most famous experts have predicted that by 2020, more than 80% of customer service queries and other commercial interactions will be sustained via powerful AI bots.
As per Jordan French, 2019 will be the year in which we will get to see an exponential rise in the presence of mega-influencers. You might have already heard of the term ‘micro-influencers’ in your digital marketing circles. These are the individuals with 5000+ user following on a social media channel, who manage to obtain a relative authority over a particular niche. In other words, their say molds the say of the general audience as regards a certain topic. Now, however, you will find people, who’ve been deemed too important for social media marketing, making headway as major or mega-influencers, like the Obama-Netflix collab in 2018. Digital marketers can get a hold of these high-profile celebrities and get a word out about their brand through them.
4. User-Generated Content
The buying process has changed significantly since the days of brick and mortar. Nowadays, people do not simply pick up a product and purchase it right away. No, they carry out elaborate research before reaching a buying decision. This research primarily includes looking up secret discounts, comparing product prices across brands, and reading up testimonials that other customers have left after trial-and-error. These user-generated reviews and referrals really contribute to the creation of a brand’s image in the eyes of the general audience. You will experience advancement in this testimonial trend in 2019, especially over the social media channels. From a digital marketing perspective, I’d suggest you to use User-Generated content to promote your brand, via sharing contests and hashtag shout-outs.
5. LinkedIn Business Profiles
Having 590 million active users as of last year, LinkedIn is considered as an ideal digital platform for entrepreneurs. Why? Because it offers easy access to serious professional circles across various domains. However, it is not as popular as those colorful, trendy and entertainment-filled channels like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook etc. 2019 seeks to change that. Yes, if you have a proper LinkedIn business profile this year, you can be sure to see a new dimension of traffic headed your way. According to Stoubos, these profiles will emulate some of the top features of Facebook landing pages, like prominent payment getaways and links to mini sites etc. and improve them too.
6. Smtv and Vertical Video
According to comScore, an average internet user spends about 69% of his/her total media time on his/her smartphone. In addition, this parentage is only expected to elevate in the coming years with the introduction of social media television. Digital marketers need to cater to this smtv trend, which brings ‘vertical video’ to the horizon of 2019. You might have already come across IGTV (Instagram TV)—user-friendly, mobile-first and wildly popular among the current generations. Keeping this in mind, I would recommend you to allocate some budget for making promotional video content flexible enough to fit different formats across multiple platforms.
7. Ephemeral/In the Moment Content
Although the ‘stories’ culture became popular with Snapchat, it has since then left the primary channel to spread across other social media forums, like Instagram and more recently, Facebook. Now, users, especially late Millennials and Generation Z-ers, are more interested in engaging with short-lived, in-the-moment and mobile-captured content that is relatable and easily-shareable. According to Entrepreneur, around 200 million Instagrammers use Stories each month. Digital marketers should definitely take this ‘stories’ trend into account in 2019, and create personalized promotional narratives which reel the audience in.
8. Real-Time Response
Every business entrepreneur knows that customer satisfaction is the key to monetary success. If your clientele is not pleased with you, you cannot possibly hope to retain a place in the competitive market of the future. One of the ways you can reach the core of customer concerns is by establishing a link with them on the social media platform of your choice. 2019 is expected to bring ‘real value’ to producer-consumer relationship via a more ready inculcation of real-time response (RTR) in social media. In short, you will see brand managers giving instantaneous replies to people’s queries or grievances, left in the form of comments or private messages on Facebook and Twitter etc. This trend is hoped to aid in better brand perception, increase customer service, and promote the personalization.
9. Transparency of Social Data
Some of the most sinister data breaches came to the surface only last year. These security compromises have significantly shaken the trust of people in social media. According to Edelman’s Barometer, more than 60% of its respondents were found to lose faith in social media enterprises in 2018. In addition, as per Ponemon’s research, Facebook got the hardest-hit out of all. However, 2019 comes with a data transparency promise unlike you’ve ever seen before. In other words, this year you will be able to experience quality engagement on social media platforms which is based on increased consumer involvement and co-creation. People will finally see how their private and confidential data is being handled by these social enterprises. This trend will do away with much of mistrust that built up last year.
If anything is more viral these days on social media platforms, it is those Tik-Tok videos. The well-received app hosts a whole library of curated music, which the users enact in their mobile-shot videos. This content is then shared like wildfire on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, promoting the integration of social media and the world of music. You, as a digital marketer, can use this trend to your advantage, especially if you mean to target the younger demographic. Use this music app-social media collaboration to raise brand awareness.
If you want to supersede and outlast the tough commercial competition in the market, then do pay heed to the aforementioned social media marketing trends that are expected to surface in 2019.