Social media is no longer just a trendy marketing tactic—it’s a crucial one. Today’s consumers turn to social media to find brands they can trust, looking for user testimonials, examples of exceptional customer service and more.
To meet these evolving demands, your company must maintain an engaging social media presence that offers customers the brand experience they expect. We asked a panel of Forbes Communications Council members which social media trends marketers should prepare for this year. Here’s what they had to say.
1. An Increased Demand For Truly ‘Social’ Engagement
People want to do business with companies they know, trust and love. A company that simply uses social media as a medium for advertising is losing out on the most important piece: the “social” aspect, where you have the opportunity to build those all-important connections. In 2019, those companies that engage with their audience will be the ones that win. – Holly Chessman, GlowTouch Technologies
2. A Fading Facebook
Data shows Facebook usage and engagement has dropped significantly: According to the Pew Research Center, 42% of users have taken a break from the site in the past year, and 26% have deleted the app from their phones. This doesn’t mean it’s a dead channel, but it does mean we need to explore alternatives and, if continuing to market via Facebook, need to advertise less and engage more with users to help our brand stand apart from the noise. – Lisa Guyott, College Possible
3. The Growth Of LinkedIn
In terms of underrated social platforms, LinkedIn will be huge in 2019. So few marketers have really taken advantage of LinkedIn as a publishing and content platform, even if they urge a CEO to post occasional words of wisdom. Those who build out a strong LinkedIn strategy will get their brand’s messages seen by a discerning audience craving quality content, advice and opportunities to engage. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio
4. Instagram Stories
No secret here: Instagram Stories continue to gain popularity and increased engagement via organic and paid methods. According to TechCrunch, in June 2018 Instagram exceeded 1 billion monthly users, and according to Business Insider, Instagram Stories draws nearly 400 million users. I would make this an essential in your social media strategy for 2019. – Glenn Gray, Buffalo Agency
5. Interactive Quizzes
Marketers must think about interactive content. Instead of shouting at your consumer, invite them into an experience. Interactive quizzes have taken the marketing world by storm, and software tools like Float IQ and Buzzfeed Quiz Generator make it easy for marketers to execute quizzes across their social channels. Just remember to plug into your e-commerce pages for the quiz reveal to drive sales. – Keith Bendes, Float Hybrid
6. Live Video
Visual is the new content medium on social, with live video being the most compelling way to communicate. Good live video is authentic, doesn’t feel scripted and connects with an individual on a mass audience scale. Marketers should actively use analytics and insights from live video consumption to learn more about their audience and deepen engagement with them. – Sara Larsen, Brightcove
7. Social Media As A Trust-Building Platform
While public use of social media continues to grow, trust in social media has never been lower. Brands need to shift from maximizing their reach on social media to nurturing trust. To be considered an influencer, you’ll want to have more intimate, transparent discussions with your followers. The viral nature of social media will help expose you to a wider audience. – Kara Cowie, SkillPath
8. Consumers As Branded Content Creators
Social media and smartphones have given rise to the era of visual content. In 2019, users will continue to demand highly personalized visual experiences, and traditional brand-centric messaging won’t make the cut. Spend less time creating ineffective content and more time tapping into the free, trusted and authentic user-generated content your customers are creating about your brand every day. – Mallory (Blumer) Walsh, Stackla
9. More Inbound Requests Through Social Channels
The use of social media will not slow down anytime soon. Marketers must be on top of the latest social media tools and platforms so they’re able to quickly analyze trends and respond to customers proactively. Be prepared to see a larger volume of inbound customer requests via social channels. Monitor these channels proactively to respond quickly and keep customers satisfied. – Alex Goryachev, Cisco
10. Brands Using Groups
I think people will spend less time posting publicly online and more time in group chats. In 2019 brands will seek to be a part of the conversation by creating and growing groups built adjacent to their brand. It will be a place where brands can share inside jokes and stories and connect with smaller, dedicated groups of loyal people rather than trying to reach everyone. – JD Prater, Quora
11. Long-Form Content Marketing
The biggest misunderstanding about consumers is that they only engage with short, concise content. The truth is they will engage with what is interesting, no matter how long it is. Scientific evidence is proving that long-form content drives conversion and search engine optimization when done right. More brands and influencers will get into it as a way to tell their impactful stories. – Edward Bourelly, Omni-Culture Marketing, Inc.
12. Voice Search On Social Media
Voice search is already an emerging trend in the tech and internet spaces, but it has yet to make an entrance in the social media world. Voice search will be an integral part of a hands-free experience in tech, and that includes social media. Content marketers should be prepared to create content that can be read, watched and listened to. As it is, most marketers stop short of recorded content. – Jeff Grover, Best Company
13. More Authentic Influencer Marketing
Marketers became enamored with influencers in 2018. Many didn’t understand the importance of partnering with influencers who truly love the brands they’re endorsing. They simply hired people whose followers fit their target demographics. Social consumers are savvy and can sniff out inauthenticity instantly. In 2019, brands that win in influencer marketing will take a more authentic approach. – Ahmad Daher, Denali Advanced Integration
14. More Behind-The-Scenes ‘Reality’
Reality, reality, reality—that’s what we’re all craving. Businesses that embrace social media and are comfortable letting the audience behind the curtain have a tremendous opportunity to significantly increase their brand reach. Most businesses approach social media as another outlet to disseminate an advertisement; however, as consumers, we’re immune to it. – Corey Keating, Equinox Funds.