6 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2019

Social media is growing and changing every year. Due to scandals in 2018, 2019 is the year that social media networks need to regain the trust of their users. With advertisers taking advantage of different social media platforms, they also need to gain this trust. With so many advertisers, the trustworthy influencer marketing sector is increasing, along with the cost of using social media for advertisement. 

To stay up-to-date, take a look at these 6 social media trends for 2019.

1. Rise of private groups and accounts

In 2018, Facebook invested new features into Facebook Groups, such as being able to participate as a business Page, updating with Stories, posting Live videos within the group, and creating social learning units.

Groups took off in 2018 as a way for brands to directly connect with fans without the algorithm affecting their posts. They’ve been used to not only collecting quick feedback about products but also as an additional engagement tool.

Some influencer accounts have turned to creating private Instagram accounts to avoid the Instagram algorithm. Brands also followed suit by creating private alternative accounts to drive up interest. In an Atlantic article, Sonny, who runs several meme accounts on Instagram, said he flipped four of his accounts to private. The return has been tremendous, noting that the “growth on those accounts has far outpaced anything he’s been able to get from making it on Instagram Explore.” It will be interesting to observe if this trend continues in 2019.

With the addition of the Close Friends feature in Instagram Stories, brands could choose to create a more “insider look” feature for their accounts. New Stories features will likely include more friend groups, similar to Facebook’s own Friend Lists.

All of the above features combine to create feelings of envy and fear of missing out rooted in human psychology. The year 2019 is when brands will take advantage of this through private groups and accounts.

2. Transparency wins

Last year (2018) was a landmark year for the major social media networks. Facebook battled privacy and data sharing concerns, and Twitter struck down troll accounts while making it easier to report harassment. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect in 2018 also meant that many companies took note of what their customer data was being used in.

In Sprout’s study on brands and transparency, they found that 55% of customers found brands to be only somewhat transparent on social media. In a more stunning statistic, millennials are expecting more transparency out of brands than politicians or friends and family. Brands need to take note and internally examine where they can do better on transparency. Transparency trends are here to stay.

If brands want to increase their transparency, they can start by making what consumers want to know available on social media. The top three desires are product/service changes, company values, and business practices. For your company, this could mean publicizing app updates, demonstrating your company values, and giving more behind-the-scenes looks at your business.

Going deep on transparency will take some time to plan, but in the long run it’s proven to be worth the effort. Remember that saying you’re transparent is not the same as actually being transparent. Make sure to back up your words with actions. 

3. New social media networks

Facebook has had a long reign at the top of the social media charts. Facebook’s year was 2018 and its practices have led many, including the NAACP, to call for boycotts. In mid-2018, Facebook “posted the largest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history” at $119 billion, according to CNBC.

Some users have quit Facebook altogether, which leaves marketers wondering what’s next for social media. It’s a ripe time to build a new network with transparent data practice usage and have customers in mind. It’s best to keep an eye out for new channels in case one of them could be useful for your brand. It may be a good idea to reserve your brand handles on emerging social networks just in case they becomes big in the future.

4. Stories everywhere

Snapchat’s features of a disappearing post appeared in almost every major network, sometimes more than once. Instagram Stories received major updates in 2018 with AR filters and interactive stickers. Facebook added Stories to personal accounts, Pages, Messenger, and Groups. Both WhatsApp and YouTube also invested in Story-like features.

As of May 2018, Stories across four platforms was approaching one billion uses every day. These snapshots have evolved from basic, behind-the-scene features to branded storytelling snippets. Integration with shopping features will only increase in 2019 to appeal to brands.

There’s no sign of Stories slowing down any time soon, so it’s best to start incorporating it into your strategy if it isn’t there already.

5. Employees are the trusted influencers

Influencer marketing is becoming an extremely saturated industry. More time and money will be spent on influencer marketing in 2019, but not in the way you think. A chunk of it will go into deeply researching accounts and double checking that the brand partnerships they’ve posted are actually real, due to accounts faking brand deals to “be cool.”

Because of this, employee advocacy will rise up as the next level of influence. Encouraging your employees to talk about your brand will help brand awareness even more. Allowing companies to internally distribute shareable content will encourage this amplification.

Get ahead of this trend by examining your own internal communications and amplification procedures. What can you do better to allow for a more seamless employee sharing experience on social media?

6. Analytics dashboards become more important

The value of a great analytics dashboard should not go overlooked. While every network has its own native analytics, no social media manager wants to spend time every week, month, or year gathering data and hand-inputting it into a spreadsheet. Individuals should invest in tools that sync all of the data for you and then put it into a chart that can be taken to the C-suite.

It’s hard enough to keep track of all the new features and their impacts, but it’s also difficult to track every metric that comes in. Use a dashboard that gives you varied reports and views from both a wide lens and a granular one. This way, you’ll know exactly what works in your strategy and you can simultaneously give the big picture to your CMO.

 Take the hour you use for assembling reports and spend it on something more pertinent, like connecting with your followers.

With social media being such an important part of marketing, it is important to understand what’s trending. To stay on top of your social media game, keep these 6 trends in mind and how you can use them to stay current in the marketing world.