There’s no denying that social media is here to stay — especially as we kick off the new year. Brands across all industries are stepping into social media to share their stories with current and potential consumers as platforms expand their communication capabilities.
Accordingly, social media platforms now offer a richer set of tools than ever for marketers to wield. To ensure you get the most out of your channels, here are the five leading trends for 2019 to guide your social media strategy over the next twelve months.
Credibility on social media has been a hot topic as of late. From fake news to influencers posting photoshopped images, people are craving sincerity. So this means marketers must approach social media with a human-first perspective.
From enterprise companies to influencers, we’re seeing that the art of storytelling through social media is on the rise, showing the relatability and vulnerability needed to earn the trust of followers.
People don’t simply want to be fed products, services, and testimonials in their feeds that appear to have been whipped up by a boardroom. Rather, consumers are seeking a connection with other people online.
Personal branding from CEOs and founders on behalf of an organization is a tactic being adopted by businesses of all sizes for its effectiveness as a strategy to reach the hearts of target audiences.
And to take that further, we’re seeing that posts with human faces, minimal editing, and real stories receive higher engagement. Going forward, keep your followers delighted by relating to their lives by sharing human messages and authentic experiences on social media.
Staying relevant amid the uproar of new features and updates on most social media platforms is no easy feat. While trends come and go in technology, the rise of the vertical video format is only going to increase in 2019.
Snapchat was a pioneer of the vertical format and Instagram has launched its relevance to the forefront with its Stories feature. And, taking a hint from Instagram’s success, Facebook adopted vertical format stories which will likely be a move to be followed by other platforms. That’s because the social media industry can’t overlook research, like the data gathered by Statista, indicating that more than 50% of digital videos in 2018 were viewed on mobile in vertical format.
Another explanation for the increase in vertical video is not so much its alignment as it is the support it provides for in-the-moment content, such as live streaming and location-based geofilters. The popularity of the “selfie video” on several platforms is one example of the short and candid moments bringing the vertical format to the forefront.
We also cannot forget to ignore the emergence of social TV, like the recently launched IGTV on Instagram in vertical video, that will surely change the landscape of how people will be consuming social media in 2019.
We promise that dark social media is not as scary as it sounds. Though a mysterious term to people outside the social media industry, dark social simply means all social media interactions through private messaging channels. These cannot be tracked from any source through platforms or software, but it is highly valuable to understand since links and other communications about your brand can be passed through private messaging.
Here’s a list of traffic sources for dark social:
- Instant messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat)
- Native mobile apps (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter)
- Email and secure online browsing
According to a study by digital advertising company RadiumOne, 84% of outbound sharing takes place via dark social.
So now that you know the impact of dark social, what does it mean for your business? One actionable step you can make for your website is to include a live customer service chat and to incorporate social share buttons on pages that host content.
On social media accounts, try urging followers to reach out through direct messaging for help or advice and respond quickly. Another idea is to create branded GIFS, stickers, and memes that they won’t able to resist sharing with friends through their favorite messaging app or email.
By having positive interactions with followers and sharing posts that people want to share with their friends one-on-one, you can get traffic leading back to your website or your social media accounts. The bottom line here is that you can engage and share content with people in an intimate way through dark social, positioning your company reputation in high regard with customers on a personal level which drives long-lasting growth for your organization.
The perception that you only need to adjust your social media marketing strategy according to each platform will be outdated this year. To keep your social media marketing relevant, focus on marketing toward communities and everything else will fall into place.
People from nearly all age groups and backgrounds are active users on a variety of social media platforms. By organizing your audiences into target groups, which can be done in line with your buyer personas, you can save time and resources by preparing posts with narratives that speak to exactly what they want to see.
In addition to your brand community, each of your followers belongs to other communities with defined needs and interests. Influencer marketing, which uses influential figures on social platforms with thousands (even millions) of followers to promote your service or product, has been a winning strategy of top brands.
Yet, more and more companies are now approaching micro-influencers for these same endorsements. These are figures who are not as famous but tend to have high authority in their own networks that exist within the greater social media landscape. These groups are isolated and thus harder to reach, so marketing through micro-influencers can bring untapped audience opportunities. Research your followers for potential micro-influencers that can spread the word of your brand because not only are they cheaper than traditional influencers, they can bring a high return on investment while simultaneously building your reputation with the audiences that actually matter.
As digital consumption continues to increase worldwide, brands must pay to some degree if they want to be a voice in any social media space, whether it’s through boosting, sponsoring, or advertising posts. And thanks to artificial intelligence technology, most social media platforms are designed to understand what users exactly want and what they don’t want to see their feed based on their actions and the data they provide.
The CMO Survey reports that marketers are expected to expand social media spend by 89% within the next 5 years.
In 2019, social media marketers see their advertising efforts to be directed by personalization. Paid ads on social platforms now include filters to adjust the audiences that it appears to, such as education level to geographic location in addition to other advanced details (read this article to learn more about Facebook Ads).
Unsurprisingly, retargeting campaigns on social media will also prove to be a reliable method for closing sales from people who left your website. As personalization continues to become the norm, we can expect consumers to rely more on their social media feeds to provide the products, services, and other solutions they’re looking for.
Is Your Social Media Marketing Ready for 2019?
While there are several themes to look out for this year, the key takeaway is that they are all connected. You simply cannot practice one of the social media tactics discussed above without embracing the other trends in this list, intentional or not.
It may seem difficult to keep your posts up to date with the times if social media is not your specialty. Fortunately, the team at PHOS can provide the insights and resources to help grow your business. Take a look at the wide range of digital marketing solutions we offer that will get your social media strategy on the right track in 2019!