In the social media world, the pace of change has always been very high. Among the social media apps, new functionalities are constantly released, providing to users an always new and engaging experience. But sometimes, these changes regards also more serious matters than new filters for your Instagram or new emoji for your messages.
Regarding this point, 2018 has been a very important year. Indeed, GDPR, the scandal of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, fake news and political events, privacy issues and stealing of data, fish cats, hacks and age restrictions (like in the case of WhatsApp). All this had an impact on how users behave and what they demand from social media. They indeed demand more valuable content for the time spent on social networks, they want also to share more content and communicate with the world while being protected and treated like humans and not like demographics. There is a clear need for truthfulness, humanity and authenticity.
But what about brands and companies that use social media to reach their customers, prospects, employees, partners, and other audiences? How are they reacting to these big changes in the industry? Certainly, it’s not easy to keep on creating valuable and authentic content while dealing with budget constraints and market dynamics.
So, which will be the social media trends for 2019?
Hootsuite, one of the most used and successful social media management solutions, produced a report based on an annual survey of 3,255 Hootsuite business customers, interviews with industry analysts, and exhaustive research. The result? They identified 5 key social media trends for 2019.
With the recent happenings around fake accounts, stolen data, fake news and Cambridge Analytica, users and consumers are questioning the privacy, accuracy, and ethics of almost every social network. According to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer Report, this results in the fact that 60 per cent of people no longer trust social media companies. As a consequence, users are returning to traditional and trusted journalism and local news resources with 71 per cent of people agreeing that social media should do more to support high-quality journalism.
To keep pace with these changes, brands are focusing more on generating transparent, quality engagement. The old-fashioned one-size-fits-all approach to social media is being replaced by personalized, context- and audience-specific messaging. Moreover, to boost trust, companies are leveraging their own internal experts and employee advocates, rather than rely on celebrity influencers.
Storytelling and curiosity are the basis of social media. However, the phenomenon of Stories on social media is only recent. Nowadays it is normal to have the possibility in almost every social media (consider Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram) to have the Stories, namely pictures or short videos with text and emoji that last only 24 hours and that tell what people are doing in real-time. What was born as a sort of “plug-in” for many social media, is now becoming the new favourite format for sharing. Because they’re ephemeral, they are funnier, perceived as real, immediate and extremely personal. Social media is going from text-based platforms originally designed for desktop use to mobile-only networks that enable users to capture in-the-moment experiences. And this is the main trend companies and brand should focus on for 2019, combining high production posts with other styles, like stories.
Closing the ads gap
Pay media and social media advertising are used by almost every company in the world. Marketers in 2018 have even increased their budgets for social media advertisement. But with the popularity of social ads have come new challenges: Prices are increasing and it’s becoming harder to get noticed. Rising costs and fleeting attention have combined to limit ROI for advertisers and reduce overall margins. The solution? Invest in time, creativity, personalization, entertainment and quality of organic content and boost it with a paid advertisement. In three words: High-quality-content.
Improved Social Shopping Technologies
Despite the great efforts and expenditure of money in online and social advertisement, numbers clearly state that shopping through social media is not rocketing. The cause most of the times is a lack of the right technology that bridges from social media to commerce. An example that shows that something is moving, is Instagram. Indeed, Instagram’s shoppable posts now allow users to go directly from discovery to checkout without ever leaving the app. Moreover, video, in particular, is proving a critical bridge
for social commerce.
2019 is the year for retailers to experiment with social shopping technologies!
Messaging, namely 1:1 social experiences
Top messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype, now collectively count nearly five billion monthly active users. What’s more, users are spending more time on messaging and less time sharing news on social. This unexpected trend from public to private has also consequences on consumer expectations. Indeed, nine out of ten consumers would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses. Given the level of consumer interest, it’s little surprise that brands are already developing strategies to do messaging right in terms of content marketing, sales, customer support, and more.
In this scenario, chatbots seem to be THE answer.
Read more about chatbots on our blog Artificial Intelligence? No, Chatbots are dumber than you think.