Another year has come to pass, which means it is time for a D+P tradition: looking into our crystal ball to uncover the social media trends that will impact the way users and brands use these platforms in 2019.
In some ways, it feels like social media is a tale as old as time, but social platforms are still in their infancy. Change occurs rapidly and consistently, and that’s what makes our annual predictions so exciting. Here is what we think will happen this year:
The Big Data Takeback
2018 was a doozy for privacy rights and social media. As a result of pressure from users, social media networks have begun to limit the data that is available to us and advertisers. Facebook, for example, has removed a number of demographics previously used for targeting social boosts. Privacy policies will continue to morph, and with that will come a continued loss of access, particularly where social media advertising is concerned.
Expect an even tighter grip on the type of information used to target end users. This type of shift stands to make a rather serious impact on marketers who rely on the “targetability” of paid social media campaigns. With the uncertainty that lies ahead, 2019 is a great time to sharpen video storytelling skills as a way to create content that organically garners engagements to supplement a possible loss in targeted, paid audience.
The Small But Mighty Micro Influencers
As predicted, 2018 was a banner year for social media influencers. More than ever, brands and organizations took notice of the communities being built by influential individuals across the web. Large-follower counts were most desirable – the more eyeballs, the better, right? Maybe not.
Instead of mammoth accounts with six-figure price tags, 2019 will be the year for micro or nano-influencers – those with smaller, but highly engaged followings. These folks are less expensive and typically more effective at delivering messages to their target audiences. They may not have 10 million followers, but they do have a flock of individuals who trust their opinions, mimic their buying decisions, and give special, even hallowed, credence to their guidance. This is an extremely powerful targeting method, especially as data availability for paid social shrinks. Without a doubt, 2019 will see the rise of these small but mighty tastemakers supported by paid media campaigns. As influencer marketing in general has been something of the Wild West over the past few years, look out for additional regulations and best practices for hiring and paying influencers.
With a B-to-C or B-to-B brand, now is the time to harness the power of influencer endorsements – whether you establish those influencer relationships on your own or engage a team to help you dive in.
Ephemeral Content Takes the Cake
Remember when Instagram didn’t have a stories feature? I do – and I’ll be the first to admit I was a skeptic about its potential success. Amid speculation that Instagram Stories could not compete with Snapchat, users embraced the feature whole-heartedly, and it has since become an integral part of the platform (thus proving me wrong!). Stories and ephemeral content are easy to consume, easy to create, and allow a behind-the-scenes look into our digital lives. It’s no wonder users gobble it up happily.
Expect a continued shift toward the importance of this content in 2019. Particularly on Instagram, I expect to see a number of additional features added to the story functionality and likely some modifications to the post feed to mimic the quick, swipe-through content of the stories. For brands, it’s a low-risk place to be creative and try new tactics. If your audience doesn’t like it, it’s gone in 24 hours. One thing is for certain: ephemeral content opens doors for playfulness and out-of-the-box delivery methods; embrace this in 2019 and say yes to stories and more!
Settle In for Episode-Length Video Content
Video never fails to make the cut on these lists – especially because the way it is created and shared is always changing. In 2019, we will see video make another shift – this time, to an episode-focused model. This is quite different from previous years, where short form video (think Vine) dominated the field.
In 2018, short-form content shifted to longer, more in-depth features, like Vox’s popular explainer videos and YouTube series released in a multi-part format. Take, for example, YouTube creator Shane Dawson’s explosively popular series, which told the “inside story” of big social media names like Jake Paul and Jeffree Star. His videos, which were posted as “episodes” throughout the week, took the Internet by storm and had viewers on the edge of their seats waiting for the next installment – to the tune of 120 million views across the eight-part series. Wowza.
Most interestingly, Shane’s content was changing in real-time. Shane could post one piece of the series, gauge the reaction of the public and address that reaction in the next episode. It is this responsiveness and feeling of being immersed in the content that compels viewers. Best of all, this content is created specifically to be distributed on social platforms like YouTube, Facebook and others. After a small taste, users are hungry for compelling content created in this way. Brands and organizations should think about their content marketing strategies and how this lesson can be impactful moving forward. What long-form stories in multiple parts can your brand tell?
Bonus: Edits to Tweets!
Social media managers rejoice! Twitter all but confirmed that an edit feature is coming in response to Jeffree Star earlier this year. Have you ever read better news? I doubt it. We’re waiting patiently (or impatiently) for this update in 2019.
Cover Your Own Stories – Your Way
With all of these tools at our disposal, you are more equipped than ever to “cover” the stories of your own brand as you might wish a broadcast news team would do. It’s all about the video – whether short-form or longer-form episodes. We’re creating video news spots for clients that are spiking engagement on social accounts; serving up content directly to key audiences via digital newsletters and email; and piquing the interest of traditional reporters, too. We’d love to show you how and learn more about the social media trends you are excited to see in 2019. In fact, we’d love to help you take the New Year by storm. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a game plan to reach your social media and content goals. Happy New Year from all of us at Team D+P!