As the New Year approaches, it’s time to start planning your marketing strategy. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn continue to grow. If you want to reach your audience, it’s important to keep up with the latest news and features. Let’s look at some of the trends that will dominate social media marketing in 2019.
Mobile Will Continue to Grow
While the growth of mobile is nothing new, it’s going to get even bigger in the coming years. More users now access social media via mobile devices than on laptops and desktops. This means that you really need a mobile-first strategy to reach your audience.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. In most cases, your goal with social media content is to drive traffic to your website. It’s important that you use responsive design and that users can access all of your features from their smartphones and tablets.
Livestreaming and Stories
Facebook Live and other livestreaming platforms are quickly growing. Live broadcasts are a good way to reach your audience in real time and make them feel like they’re part of the action. While Facebook Live is the biggest, YouTube Live and Periscope are also useful for marketing, depending on your strategy. If you have a YouTube channel, live broadcasts are a good way to drive traffic to your other videos. Periscope, meanwhile, can be integrated into your Twitter marketing and can help you get more followers and engagement there. Live streaming can be used in several ways:
- Broadcast from an event. This can be your own event or an event at which you’re participating. For example, if you’re at a convention, concert or big sporting event you can give your followers an up-close view of the action.
- Announce your latest news. Talk about a new product.
- Interviews. Broadcast live with partners, experts or influencers in your field.
- Q & A sessions. One of the best features of live streaming is that you can interact with followers. You can hold sessions where you answer questions about your product or issues that are important to them. Find topics and problems that your customers face and hold a session to address these issues.
Stories are another feature that’s likely to grow in the coming year, especially on Instagram and Facebook. These are short videos or other content that’s only visible for 24 hours. Like live streaming, Stories are most appropriate for news, announcements and other timely content.
While we’re seeing the expansion of short videos with Stories, social sites are also making use of long-form videos. Until recently, YouTube was the only large player in this field. Now, however, Instagram has introduced IGTV, which lets users create videos of up to an hour long. This feature has been unrolled quietly and many users still don’t even know about it. However, it has the potential to blur the already fading distinction between social media and television. Keep in mind that Facebook owns Instagram so anything that takes off on one platform will surely move to the other. Stories, which were first on Instagram (which borrowed the concept from Snapchat), were quickly adopted by Facebook.
Long videos give marketers the potential to reach consumers with compelling content. This is an area where businesses must be careful, however as viewers aren’t going to be interested in watching hour-long commercials. Some brands have mastered the art of creating compelling brand-building videos that aren’t overtly promotional. This format also works well for anything music-related. Spotify has already created some popular IGTV videos showcasing artists. Some musicians, meanwhile, are releasing music videos on this platform. Many brands are already leveraging storytelling videos on YouTube. As Instagram and other social sites create platforms for this, we’re likely to see greater opportunities in this area.
Another trend that will continue in 2019 is that people will jump more and more between platforms and devices. It’s no longer a question of whether to engage with customers on your blog, Facebook, email, or offline. It’s “all of the above.” The only caveat here is that you need to do your research and focus on the channels and platforms where your audience is most active. For example, if you specialize in financial services, LinkedIn will be more valuable to you than Snapchat. On the other hand, if you’re marketing energy drinks to millennials, the reverse may be true. So, you don’t need to be everywhere. But you do need to provide a seamless experience between one platform and another.
An omnichannel strategy also means varying your content for each platform so it’s not redundant. If many of your followers find you in many places, you don’t want them to see the exact same items as this will bore them. This is one of the limitations of using automated social media tools that post simultaneously to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites. You can use such tools for scheduling but be careful about posting the same content everywhere. See how you can repurpose content to give it a fresh look. For example, you might turn a blog post into an infographic for social media. Summarize the main points of longer posts for Twitter. Turn articles into videos and podcasts.
Big Data vs. Privacy
Data is sure to be a big issue in 2019. In this area, there are two opposing trends: the growth of big data and increased concerns about privacy. On the one hand, technology makes it easier for brands to collect all kinds of information for marketing purposes. On the other hand, with recent controversies involving Facebook and GDPR regulations, companies will have to be more careful than ever about transparency and not violating users’ trust.
Despite concerns about privacy, it’s unlikely that the overall trend towards more and more data will reverse itself. Consumers value the convenience of personalized content and even ads. It’s crucial, however, that businesses are open about their data collection practices and adhere to local, national and global regulations. Keeping these caveats in mind, it’s necessary to make as much use out of advanced social listening, data collection and analytics tools as possible in order to stay competitive. For example, more accurate data lets you segment your customers and deliver more personalized and relevant content.
These are some of the social media trends that are likely to dominate in 2019 and beyond. Not all of them may be relevant to your business. However, it’s still a good idea to keep track of what’s happening in social media and which strategies are most relevant for you.