As with most social media prediction-based blogs, you could argue that the previous year was the most pivotal in how the landscape had changed. However the difference with 2018 is that while it was an important year for social, it wasn’t all positive. In fact, it could be argued it experienced its toughest year yet. So where do we go in 2019?
It’s Time To Get Personal
After a bumpy 2018, it makes sense that brands and platforms will make personalisation a big feature of their content and features this year. We say bumpy, trust in social media platforms is down to just 60%, you can read the report here. This pushed users to more private platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. What this means for 2019 is that users want a more personal and secure experience with the content they receive and the platforms they use.
How can you make sure you’re giving your users what they want? Focus your advertising more, look at who you’re targeting and refine it even further to make sure those who see your ad, will want to see it. Retargeting to users who have interacted with you before, so you can send them the right content. On a platform such as Instagram, look at developing your own branded hashtag that relates to your business. Encourage users to share it so the content is specific and personal to your business. You could even look to run regular Q&A sessions, a simple but effective way to build trust with your audience.
Tell A Story
It all started with Snapchat but now several major platforms offer the chance for users to share stories. WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram have all joined the party and stories are now growing faster than feed-based sha
ring. The great thing about stories is they require a less polished approach, in order to achieve their more intimate feel. So you don’t need to focus as much on high-production content which will help your budget! Stories are also great for experimentation, as they disappear after a length of time so it’s a great place to try ideas out with your audience.
Make sure you’re experimenting with stories in 2019 or you may get left behind. Stories can be text based, video based or both. Everyone in your marketing team can get involved in their creation which will also lead to more experimentation. Don’t ignore Facebook stories either, they are investing heavily to make sure their version grows this year and it couldn’t be easier since you can post your Instagram stories to Facebook at just the tap of a button.
Say Hello To The Micro-Influencer
The boom of the social media influencer is continuing to grow. Naturally, it has brought new rules to the landscape of social but also even more opportunities. This is where the micro-influencer comes in. Big influencers who work with big brands cost a lot of money, and the trust in their messaging is starting to erode. Is there following real? Do they actually believe in the product they’re pushing?
However a micro-influencer has a smaller following, say 10,000, and will cost a lot less to work with. The lower cost means smaller brands can work with them and, because there’s more of them around, you can find the right person for your brand.
A micro-influencer can’t hide behind fake numbers as well as a major influencer so you will get a better return on investment. Check their engagement rate if you have any doubts. A smaller influencer will also look more genuine and that’s hugely important with the erosion of trust many have experienced in the past 12 months. If you have the budget, get in touch with a few micro-influencers this year to push a product or piece of content. There’s plenty out there and it’s a great opportunity to get involved in influencer marketing too!
Get The Message
As we’ve already discussed, users are not trusting when it comes to social media at the moment. A trend to keep an eye on over the coming
months is the increase in messenger use and private messaging when talking to your audience and running ads. As the trust in platforms has gone down, people have stopped sharing their content on public newsfeeds, instead preferring to message on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. This means brands have had to wise-up.
How can you wise-up in 2019? Facebook messenger ads. A great way to communicate with your best audience. Give them the content you know they’ll want, in a discreet manner so they can communicate with you directly rather than on a page post. Make sure Facebook messenger is enabled, push customers onto Twitter DM when any customer questions are asked and if you’re feeling really adventurous, have a go at creating a chat bot to deal with common customer questions.
Sort That Marketing Budget
Hoping that your content will be seen organically is almost a thing of the past. On Facebook especially, the number of people who will see a post from a brand organically is down to 6%, often less depending on the audience size. This isn’t something new of course, as Hubspot reported back in May, read it here, the reach was only around 12% in 2012. So perhaps this isn’t a trend for 2019, more a fact. You’ll need a social advertising budget if you want your content to reach your audience.
No longer are you able to rely on a chunk of your audience seeing your latest posts and working hard to foster that organic engagement. If you don’t have a budget, don’t worry. It doesn’t need to be a big budget. A small amount goes a long way. Start small, understand your audience and build from there. Do some A/B testing if you haven’t already, understand what works and what doesn’t. If you already have a budget, make sure it’s being used effectively. Create lookalike audiences, retarget users and promote more of your content with less money. That way every post you make is the best it can be as you know it will be promoted.
We’ve only a selected some of the trends we think are key to 2019. There are others such as the increasing importance of video and live streaming. We will report back in June with a podcast dedicated to seeing just how these trends are performing, there’s always one that never quite comes true! What is clear though, is you can never stand still as a business or brand. Everything is constantly moving and making sure you keep up is crucial. That isn’t to say that you must do everything just because it’s successful for others. Make sure the changes you make will suit your company, so that you can make the most of it.
Don’t forget, we can keep an eye on the trends and recommend the rights one to you so you don’t have to. As social media experts, we can point you in the right direction, recommend the right platforms and do all the content work for you! Get in touch if you want your social media profiles given a Cunning boost.