2018 had been a busy year for all social media platforms. There were lots of positive and negative stories that had to do with their usage and it’s now time to review our social marketing strategies. With the start of a new year, it’s time to look at the real status of emerging trends on social media. As the social media landscape is changing at a fast pace, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends every year to ensure that the current strategy is still successful. Almost all brands are relying on social media platforms to reach their target audiences, as these platforms have evolved into full-fledged communication channels.
Consumer attention is one factor that is scattered across various social platforms. This is beside the uncountables apps and other online diversions. For brands to keep in touch with how their audiences utilize these platforms, they should always be on the top of their game. The fact is, trends evolve on social media, and so does marketing. Some of the top issues that marketers need to be concerned about are, what influences social media users, how does brand marketing work, what are the requirements to stay in touch with current and relevant trends in 2019. Considering all the concerns mentioned, this is the perfect time for business owners to review the existing social media strategies to know what exactly works and what can be improved.
Evolution of Social Media
Before going in-depth into the history of social media, it’s important we first realize the exact meaning of social media. The most common Google search for social media definition will reveal countless results, but they will all reflect the following in one way or another: Social media is nothing but a progressive form of online communication that helps people to connect, communicate and share information on an instant basis.
It’s a common assumption of many people that social media dates back to the 19th century and people like to link the history of social media to the growth in communications technology. But in the truest sense, the emergence of social media starts in the 1970s and then was further supported by blogging in the 1990s that later went on to being the real beginning of the age of social media. The idea that an average person could log on to the internet and write about what they were thinking, feeling, and doing, and that these posts could be read by anyone at any time, and responded to, helped people begin to understand the full significance of the internet.
Current Status of Social Media Networking
Social media algorithms are constantly evolving. While the adoption rate of social media continues to grow, its the job of marketers to understand the way social media platforms work so they can optimize their content to be shared on any and all types of platforms. Presently, the top 4 social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ which are seeking the attention of both, the brands and the users.
The fact is that most popular social media sites vary a lot by the level of usage in different countries and demographics. Understanding these differences in popularity of different social networks is really important when targeting specific audiences. When comparing the most popular social networks it’s best to review them by active account usage, not just the number of user accounts. We’ll also see in this summary that some social networks are growing more rapidly than others while some are now in decline.
As user bases grow and feed become jam-packed with content, the social media platforms are proactively adjusting algorithms and trying to make sure they always deliver users the content that matters most to them. But, clearly, this definition of “what matters most” varies by channel. Understanding these algorithm changes and why the platform made this adjustment is helpful for us when building and evaluating our social strategies.
Social Media Trends of 2019
Here’s a closer look at the key trends of the year and how they will affect 2019 to help businesses proceed to the necessary changes to survive and grow in this competitive world of social media.
Rise of Influencers
Influencers are proving to be one of the most growing communities in the world of social media. They are typically social media figures who manage to gather a defined number of followers around the globe. Their large followings give them influence over others. They prove to be incredibly effective salespeople because they possess this inherited power of convincing. Influencers prove to be a human voice to brands thus creating an impact of much like personal branding.
Influencers gain traction not because they have a certain number of followers on a certain platform, but because they are well-known and popular across all platforms. For keeping track of activity across all social media platforms in one easy place, look into using a social media aggregators available.
Growth of Private Accounts & Groups
In 2018 groups took off as a way for brands to directly connect with users without their posts getting affected by the algorithm. This not only garners quick feedback about products but also proves to be an additional engagement tool.
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. 2019 will be the year that brands take advantage of this through private groups and accounts.
Social Media as a Direct Sales Tool
Brands often approach social media as an opportunity to build an online community and engage with customers in a more personal way. While this remains an effective approach, some brands are pushing the limits of social media marketing, using social channels as direct sales tools.
For instance, Instagram lends itself to sales of this type, as the whole interface is already designed like an attractive digital catalogue. Smart retailers are swapping out their standard “link in bio” to sell on Instagram. It allows customers to go from seeing products in posts to browsing and buying them with a single click. As a result of this app, social media is also seen as an emerging e-commerce platform.
Video Marketing at it’s Peak
It has been a long long time since people have been discussing video marketing as one of the most dominant social media trends. Considering this notion to be true, 2019 is will be video marketing reach the height it has been predicted to rise in. YouTube is predicted to see double the videos in the next year.
For businesses who are determined to start live broadcasting, video marketing is a great place to start. There are numerous free, open source software that allows users to broadcast almost anything live to YouTube. They are customizable enough to allow great control, but the interface remains simple enough to learn in minutes.
Music as Social Media
Social media has grown to a level where it is now capable of functioning on music. Applications like Apple Music and Spotify are already well integrated with several social media platforms. Social media platforms like Tik-Tok are making libraries of popular music available to their users for use in video posts. YouTube and Snapchat are following suit. I expect that in 2019 social media platforms will increasingly become music-licensing platforms as well, as they strive to bring in a younger demographic and stay relevant for more established users.
Looking at how the year is already turning out to be, business owners now have a tentative idea of which trends and strategies are useful for their particular business. The whole concept of social media marketing is going towards a stage that focuses more on ROI, new technologies and a trusting relationship between the brand and the customers.
In spite of social media gaining the popularity that it already has, for businesses to always stay popular and ahead of their competitors will require unending efforts. Along with this, they also have to tackle situations like data breach, new emerging technologies, new platforms and much more. The most common way for businesses to ensure longevity is, understanding the audience’s perspective and need, periodic review of social media strategies, constantly adapting to new technologies and tools, finding out what works for a particular business and practising that, gaining and maintaining the consumer’s trust through every campaign.
With the looks of it, 2019 is only set to get bring newer, interesting features to all the apps prevailing on social media. The trust relationship between brands and consumers will be rebuilt through private groups, transparency reports and employees as influencers. This will thus drive the social conversation forward for brands. Which will, in turn, prove to be a boost for brands and they would keep flourishing with the use of social media.