Hootsuite, the master of everything social, has released a report detailing its predictions for the future of social media trends in 2019, and it is a must-read. After surveying thousands of customers and consulting with several top-notch market research firms, Hootsuite has distilled some crucial information and understanding for every business owner, large and small.
The information they reviewed covers just about anything and everything one could think to ask about when it comes to social media, from the best way to channel customer service to big-picture ideas for customer relations overall. The top social media trends for 2019, then, can be understood very specifically, and very broadly.
We’ll get into the specific messages below, but the main message from the research is clear. Businesses that want to successfully use social media to grow in 2019 need to find the right way to develop an engaged, authentic connection with customers that goes both ways. For some that may mean being more spontaneous, small-scale, or just straight up vulnerable than they are used to.
All Social Media Marketing Trends Point to Trust, Authenticity, and Genuine Connections
It’s been a rough year for social media. Scandals have abounded all over the place, from unsavory data mining and sharing on Facebook to a mass deletion of bot accounts on Twitter. Everywhere people look, they see a social media landscape that is more corporate and fake than they once believed. Unsurprisingly, as a result people have pulled back from brands and influencers to people they know.
Businesses can’t wait for social media companies to fix the trust problem, nor should they. This is an opportunity for businesses large and small to develop more genuine relationships than they previously held. There are number of ways to do this, with the main guidance being:
- Engage with customers where they are using the methods they already use to communicate (via stories and direct messaging)
- Communication that is more frequent, brief, and looks less produced will have more connection.
That’s not to say that there’s no space for spending on quality ads, and in fact businesses will need to be simultaneously personable while still producing quality content. The goal is coming across as a more genuine source of information and enthusiasm for the business and the brand that’s engaging with people.
Read on below to see a more detailed breakdown of the five different things to focus on with social media in 2019.
Personalizing Your Content is Crucial, and Challenging
As mentioned, the social media world is less palatable to many people than it once was, and this has caused people to focus on the connections they know and trust. This means the impact of influencers has declined and connections need to be more intimate and personal.
What this means for businesses is finding the best way to make its content meet that need. Whether that’s via creating branded hashtags that emphasize a company rather than specific products, hosting chats on Facebook and Twitter, or even leading monthly Q&A sessions, engaging customers in an ongoing dialogue with actual people is the way forward.
Start Getting Into Stories
Stories are growing as the way people are getting their information about friends, and thus are getting more into a good way to connect with an audience. This can feel weird because the stories are brief, but people actually enjoy that part of the experience, and will engage with it more than something they see over and over again in the same way.
Whatever ad ideas a business has, it should start experimenting with stories now. Do not be afraid of the raw and unedited nature of their presentation. While there will still be some production and collaborative work required to do it right, the focus should be on authenticity.
You Have to Elevate Your Ad Game
Paid ads are still a big part of the game, but a more sophisticated approach is needed. Businesses can’t just broadcast information anymore, content needs to be more targeted, ads need to be more creative and engaging, focused on stirring up discussion, and leveraging the right third-party tools.
Overall, it needs to be yet another way to start a two-way conversation rather than simply getting a product or image into customer’s brains. All of this need for a more sophisticated ad approach is in response to a decline of organic reach and an evolution of paid ad quality across the board.
Social Shopping is On the Rise, Get Into This Now
Social shopping hasn’t clicked as much in the US as it has in other countries, but it is growing, and businesses should be ready to ride that train. This can be “buy” buttons on Instagram posts (or Instagram’s new shopping tab), the Facebook marketplace, or shopping plugins on Instagram and Wechat (which both integrate video into the shopping function).
Whatever the choice, the goal is to make a customer’s shopping experience live, interactive, and seamless (even on mobile devices). Beyond just making it easier for people to buy the product where they are already wanting to view it, this means demonstrating to customers how a product can fit into their lives.
One-To-One Connections Via Messenger Apps are Growing in Importance
Customer service and sales via direct messaging is once again about engaging with people in the way they are communicating with others, in a more personal way, and that helps people feel like they have a one-to-one connection with your business. With the record high numbers of consumers worldwide using messaging apps, this is truly a social media tool no-one can ignore.
Side note, this can and probably should include leveraging chatbots. While there will still need to be a human component, and while the bot’s dialogue should be crafted, bots can streamline FAQs and repeat actions. If a business wants to host a contest or offer a coupon, a chatbot may be vital.
Social Media is Important and Evolving, Be Ready to Seize These Opportunities
Despite recent setbacks and new challenges, social media is just as important in 2019 as it has ever been. Success in this environment will required knowing and understanding how best to leverage the top social media trends in 2019. While you may not be able to capitalize on all them, you should be aware of where you can best focus your time and money and where others may be as well.
Genuine value creation with and for customers via authentic connections and human interaction are good guiding principles with these new social media trends in 2019. Luckily, there are a number of tools big and small that can be leveraged to achieve that goal. While it can be intimidating at first, there are simple ways to get started. In the end, successful entry and expertise will be worth the time.
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