Here we are a couple of weeks into 2019, and we’re already seeing momentum building behind trends we predict will explode over the course of the year. If you haven’t tried these things yet on your social media platforms, now is the time to be an early adopter — or earlyish adopter — of the big ideas that will shape social this year.
Snapchat pioneered ephemeral content, but now Instagram and Facebook are making it ubiquitous. Ephemeral content is content that is available only for a limited time, such as Instagram or Facebook stories. At first, stories on these two platforms felt like a weak attempt to imitate Snapchat and attract younger users; but now, stories are becoming an important part of successful social media strategies. That’s because both Facebook and Instagram have tweaked their algorithms, giving more visibility to stories and less visibility to traditional newsfeed posts. Instagram stories are now reaching 400 million people each day.
This is all part of the personalization of digital media that we predict will continue long-term. These snippets of content can be created and shared with custom audiences, and they are a powerful way to create a personal face for your brand and bring your audience behind the screen.
Video and Live Content
These were trends last year, and the year before, and here they are again. With the rise of ephemeral content, video is yet again king. Videos do especially well in the stories format, and they continue to outperform other types of content in news-feeds. If you’ve resisted video, know this—resistance is futile. Video is not going away.
Live is the natural extension of video. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have live functions. As with ephemeral content, the algorithms give live greater reach. If you want to grow your profiles and your audience, live and/or video is a good bet.
Influencers (Big and Small)
Influencers continue to exert tremendous power on social media. Get an influencer to share your content, and an account can grow exponentially overnight. What we’re seeing now is the rise of the micro- or nano- influencer. These are people with strong, engaged niche followings who may not have millions of followers, but who have followers in there of interest who are engaged and take action. Connecting with influencers, big or small, will continue to be a powerful strategy for many brands and thought leaders.
It’s great to have a lot of fans/followers, but as many brands have found out the hard way, if those people aren’t engaged the numbers don’t mean much. Social media marketers have been preaching the gospel of engagement for years, but now platforms are on board, too. For instance, that pesky Facebook algorithm is focused on engaging content and driving real interactions. If your content doesn’t create opportunities for engagement, you’ll quickly notice your reach dropping. Those old clickbait calls to action won’t work now, either. It’s time to dig deep and create content that really connects with your audience.
Twitter Slowly Ceases to Matter
Twitter’s problems just continue to mount. It’s never had a solid revenue plan, and it’s attempt to drive ad sales last year with a monthly “boost everything” fee fell flat. The crackdown on fake users was a start, but the platform hasn’t fully addressed hate speech and manipulation of the platform. Top that off with a newsfeed filled with political vitriol, and users are bailing. If you have a Twitter account, you’ve likely noticed a drop in followers and engagement over the past year—that’s what it looks like when a platform loses relevance. If you have a large number of followers and you continue to have success on Twitter, we recommend you stay put. For potential new users, we’re no longer recommending Twitter as part of a successful social media strategy. It will be interesting to see if the company can right the ship, or if it will continue to sink in 2019.
What trends are you going to try out this coming year?