January 3, 2019

The View From Here: Social Media Trends in 2019

2019 IS HERE. (Big exhale) For those of us who work in social media and digital marketing, the landscape is constantly changing, and part of our job is to help you understand what’s out there and how we can best harness the good.

Will Facebook die?

OK, let’s get this out of the way now: 2018 wasn’t a very good year for Facebook. They were outed for having shared user data with several entities, and after the 2016 election and talk of Russian meddling, well, Facebook was right in the middle of it with Cambridge Analytica.  Ouch. Stories continue to come out about how Facebook leadership knew of privacy and security issues. It’s no wonder that we’ve seen a crackdown on fake user accounts along with people leaving the platform entirely.  Will Facebook die?  Right now, no. We don’t see that happening in the near term, and far too many advertisers rely on Facebook’s relatively inexpensive and effortless way of delivering digital ads. But it’s become more important than ever to understand your audiences on each platform so you can make up for any shortfalls you may experience with Facebook.

Wait a minute, Instagram.

Likewise, we saw users leave Instagram, and there was even a crazy uproar over the holidays that sent some folks into a tizzy.  After Facebook purchased Instagram, a lot of users have grown irritated. There are several complaints about the algorithm associated with serving up content, and most users are frustrated that they aren’t seeing posts from the people/brands they follow. Added to that is a heavy integration of advertising via the Facebook platform. Clearly, even the founders of Instagram became uninspired by the changes, to the point of exiting the organization entirely.

Free Tweet

Twitter remains a stalwart and one of the few platforms that still allows most any kind of speech. Facebook, YouTube and others very publicly distanced themselves from those who are associated with sharing fabricated news stories/conspiracy theories and fomenting violence, and banned some users from platforms entirely. Twitter hasn’t done that as much, so it still seems to be committed to letting everyone have a say. We could argue over whether that’s healthy or not given our current divisive climate, but that’s another blog post.

Also, RIP Google+.

It was under loved already, but security issues wrote the official death warrant. Things will officially shut down in April, so make sure any content you shared there has been downloaded and repurposed elsewhere in the future.

What do we think will still be around from our 2018 predictions? Honestly, everything we talked about for 2018 will still be relevant for 2019, with the added insights we’ve gained from the last year about privacy and security.

What can you expect?

  1. Trust and transparency is vital. Users want to be assured that their data isn’t being shared without their knowledge. With the passage of the GDPR in the European Union, this is only going to become more important.  It’s important for brands to be honest in their communication with their audiences and how their personal data is being used.
  2. With engagement, we’ll see an uptick in user-generated content (UGC). We’re already finding that when we share UGC on behalf of our clients, the engagement is through the roof. People like to see their photos/insights being shared with a larger audience, and it encourages conversation. It also clearly communicates to the audience that the brand CARES about what they have to say.
  3. Quality, quality, quality. And creativity too. People are bored with seeing the same things over and over, so it requires brands to think outside the box in how they share their information. Social media is essentially a means of sharing your story, so get creative in your storytelling (have you seen those amazing 3D photos?). Make them turn their heads and take notice. Along with Instagram Stories and live video, there are a plethora of ways to tell your story. This also applies to your social media advertising, as prices rise a little bit and competition is fierce.
  4. Chatbots and quicker response times. Users these days are used to getting what they want, when they want it. While there may be times your social media administrator may not have the answers to every question, it’s important to know that the question has been heard and responded to appropriately. Don’t know the answer? Ask someone who does or find out where the user can go to get more information. It’s helpful to have an FAQ available for social admins who get asked certain technical questions over and over.
  5. Making it easier for users to purchase your product. We’ll see more links in-app so that users can buy products that they want. You like that amazing sweater Chrissy Teigen is sporting in her Instagram post? There will likely be a link sending you to a website to purchase a sweater just like hers. This is especially true with Instagram Stories and IGTV, which allow links within posts (vs. standard advertisements on Instagram).

Overall, we think 2019 will be a great year for brands to get outside of their comfort zone and try something new and different.  Got questions? Talk to us. We’re listening.

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Dana Thomas

Dana, like all HMH'ers, has a passion for following these trends in and out of the industry in order to better determine the best solutions for our clients. Nice.