6 Social Media Trends to Look Out For in 2019

With 2019 upon us, tech and social media are bouncing to new highs, so what can we expect this year? The latest social media trends and predictions point to an even more exciting year; one that will help marketers and better connect brands with consumers.

In no particular order, here’s what you can expect for 2019:

Hyper-Targeted Personalization

Personalized marketing and targeted advertising looks set to grow in size and strength. A recent report from Forrester found 89% of digital businesses were already investigating in personalization and a further 72% of retailers desired to personalize the in-store experience. 2019 will take the brands closer than ever to the consumer – and the ones who don’t will be left behind.

“This report shows more than ever that retail is retail regardless of where a sale is made or how the product is delivered.”
— NRF Vice President Mark Mathews

According to the Nielsen Norman Group there are two main forms of personalization. The first is role-based in which users are lumped together based on pre-defined characteristics. Individualized personalization targets customers browsing histories and information they’ve given you via forms they’ve filled out. Hyper-personalization takes these methods even further by adding in real-time analytics. It predicts what you buy, then offers you similar items. But by being “hyper” this means that, for example, as the consumer is leaving the website, an offer can pop up based on what they had been browsing offering a discount. And the hyper-targeted personalization aspect allows them to retarget that consumer via social media.

Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content is content – stories or live video -with an extremely short shelf life – sometimes appearing for just 24 hours. It first appeared on Snapchat and has since become a very hot media trend. But why does something so short-lived provide such a powerful impact? Because content like this tends to exhibit real-time events, it humanizes the brand and shows them to be authentic.  It also creates a sense of urgency, as it will only be around for a short period of time. Right now, it seems to work best on Instagram where according to Foundr:

  • 400 million accounts use Instagram stories every day

  • 1/3 of the most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses

  • Instagram stories have increased the time spent on the platform from 15 to 32 minutes a day

  • 1 in 5 organic stories from businesses gets a direct message

  • 96% of US marketers surveyed plan to continue using stories ads in the next six months

As ephemeral content on Instagram is posted on a separate “stories” feed, it doesn’t clutter up your timeline, and it gives consumers the option of whether they wish to watch it or not.

Chatbots

An artificial intelligence-driven customer service/experience that can aid in conversion rate optimization. Online chatbots can save both time and energy because it automates the customer support experience. According to Forrester, here in the US, 60% of adults are already using messaging, voice, and video chat services so it’s only getting hotter. So hot, in fact, that Gartner has forecasted that by next year, more than 85% of customer interactions will be via chatbot.

A chatbot is a service that lives inside any chat product, from Facebook Messenger to Slack to text messages. It allows consumers to ask it questions directly without having to search for something. Basically, a chatbot – powered by NLP (natural language processing) - uses complex algorithms to understand what is being said and how to respond accordingly.

Chatbots are so complex it’s often hard to distinguish whether you’re talking to a human or a machine. And the primary reason this is a hot new trend is because we’re at a tipping point; where people are now preferring messenger apps to social networks.

Social Media TV

Both Instagram and Facebook, to name but two, are making bold waves and inroads with social media TV. Both launched in 2018 but have robust marketing models to propel them to the top of the heap in 2019 and beyond. Instagram’s IGTV allows you to record and publish video on its platform and is built with mobile first.

Micro-Influencers

Those with a smaller but passionate base of followers, micro-influencers (followings between 10,000-50,000) might not be famous but do still have an approachable, relatable persona which inspires loyalty amongst their base. A micro-influencer generally has a niche that they play to and have already built some deep trust amongst their followers. Despite conventional wisdom that the larger the following the bigger the influence, it’s actually not true. In fact, the larger the following, the lower the engagement rate is. Forbes suggests hiring a group of them to increase the reach of a campaign. It boils down to authentic story -telling over tired, old, celebrity endorsements.

Facebook Groups

They are fast becoming a hot thing again; something brands are using to build and connect with communities. In a way, it’s like becoming your own micro-influencer and allows you to use Facebook as if it’s a private room. As Lifewire explains:

  • Any Facebook user can make a Group

  • Some Groups let anyone join but others might be private

  • When joining a Group, whether private or public, your Facebook friends might see that you've joined it

  • Some Groups are secret and can't be searched for, in which case a qualifying Group member has to invite you

  • Leaving a Group will not notify the other members

  • Only the creator of the group and anyone they make an admin has the power to invite someone to a Group

  • You can create events, upload pictures/video and share files within a Group

  • Groups can be deleted by removing all the members

It’s easy to build groups that come with social bling; they make people feel like they’re a part of something special, they can make other people want to belong, and users can come and go without feeling obligated.