Predictions for Social Media in 2019
New year, new social media trends. Last year’s privacy issues on social media as well as a younger generation coming of age have set the stage for what I think encapsulates most of the trends I see coming for 2019: authenticity. What does that mean? Read on.
Brands Will Need to Build Trust
Coming off of 2018, which was by all accounts a very bad year for trusting social media, brands are going to have to do some work to keep users interested. After countless data leaks and exploitation, social media users are understandably frustrated with these platforms. While brands can’t do much about the inner workings of Facebook, we can work to make users feel comfortable that while Cambrige Analytica and other political groups tried to trick and exploit, there is nothing to fear from your local restaurant’s Facebook page.
Our recommendation: Use social media as a tool for transparency and clarity. Offer regular Q&A sessions with a respected and informed member of your brand.
Stories Are on the Rise
As the technology for various story platforms has evolved, so has the number of users. So much so that Stories has become one of Instagram’s most popular features and even Facebook Stories are on the rise after an incredibly weak debut. Stories are popular for two reasons: 1) they’re much more relaxed and low-budget than standard posts and 2) being relaxed and low-budget gives them a more personal quality than standard posts.
Our recommendation: Get your feet wet with stories, if you haven’t already. You can use video, storytelling, text, images, and more, and keep in mind that a polished look isn’t always the most successful.
Generation Z is Emerging as a Target
By the year 2020, Generation Z (people born after 1996) is projected to make up one third of the U.S. population and currently has a buying power of $44 billion. This is the generation that is incredibly familiar with social media and other modern technology because they’ve grown up with it their whole lives. As a result, Gen Z is more prone to want privacy and intimacy from their social media experiences, because they’ve only ever known the “everyone knows everything on social media” mindset and the problems that come with it.
Our recommendation: Keep them in mind. Marketers can get wrapped up in trying to appeal to Gen X and Millennials, but Gen Z is ready to be heard.
Messaging Becomes Crucial
WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ, and Skype combine for nearly 5 billion monthly active users, and that number is only expected to go up. What this, and other trends tell us, is that users are rapidly moving away from the public social space and increasingly into the private space. Messaging has that added privacy, but it also has that personal feeling I’ve talked about above.
Our Recommendation: If you aren’t already using your Facebook page’s Messenger function for customer service reasons– you need to be! This is a major use of Facebook Messenger for customers. If you’re already doing that, you can take your Messenger into the next level by setting up bots for frequently asked questions.
Influencer Marketing Will Soar
Influencers are the next big thing in marketing for all the reasons I’ve listed above: they feel trusted, authentic, personal and private. They’re real people, living real lives. Having a brand or a product used by and vouched for by an Influencer gives the brand a realness customers are looking for in today’s world. It comes across as a friend recommending something to you instead of a company. We’ve written more about influencers here.
Our Recommendation: Look into the local influencers in your area and see what they can do for you. The bright side of influencers, especially micro-influencers, is that it can be pretty cheap to buy a spot on their social media page.
What do you think? Am I spot on or missing the mark? Let me know @PageJones31 and you can check out the rest of my blogs here.