In terms of social media trends, 2019 seems to be the year of authenticity. Consumers are becoming more wary of media outlets and the content that is being put out into the world. What consumers are currently craving is content that not only relates to their lives in some way but something that adds true value to their experience of social media and doesn’t feel forced or faked. This trend of combating “fake news,” or the Instagram-filtered, perfectly framed glimpse into the lives of social media users, has paved the way for the current social media modalities.
Trend #1: Video Content
We are seeing a rise in content that is centered around the human condition. Consumers are very interested in what essentially goes on “behind the scenes,” they want a peek into the lives of those that they admire, aspire to be, or even those they do not particularly like. Because of this interest in becoming privy to the more personal aspects of social media usage, we are seeing a steady increase in the amount of content that is put out through video recordings. Even more traditional platforms like Linkedin are exploring video capabilities, and the analytics don’t lie—video gets more views on average than regular status updates and photos.
Trend #2: Micro-Influencers
“Social Media Influencer” is a term that is widely familiar throughout the social media sphere, and in many cases, these influencers have become the driving forces for consumer interest in products and services. An influencer can be anyone from a model on Instagram with a large follower count to a celebrity or public figure. The concept is simple—if an influencer endorses some kind of product or service, then his or her followers will be more likely to purchase it. This strategy has proven extremely effective for a wide range of companies. The benefits of having an influencer endorsing a product or service are immediate because as soon as that picture or video is posted, it is immediately viewed by consumers. It gives the company a much wider audience and has the potential to reach people who might never have heard of the company otherwise.
However, as 2019 continues there has been a change in social media influence. Now, rather than reaching out to very prominent influencers with a large following, businesses are looking for people with a smaller number of followers who have a more genuine connection with their audience. Why the change? What is the benefit? Because 2019 is the year of more authentic content, social media users are yearning for honest reviews, no longer succumbing to the pressure they previously felt by big-name influencers. These accounts are quite literally losing their influence over followers, many having previously paid for their follower count. Users are realizing how easy it is to put on a front online, especially when an influencer is getting paid for every picture they post with a specific product in view. If there is a considerable amount of money involved for the influencer, how can followers be sure that the poster truly believes in the product they are endorsing? How can they be sure that the influencer even uses the product? This is why micro-influencers are becoming more prominent—with a smaller number of followers and considerably less clout in comparison to celebrities on Instagram, companies are discovering how much faith users put into those with a more modest following. They seem more honest, more like regular people, and users have an easier time identifying with them.
Trend #3: Emerging Technology
Companies are also beginning to pay much closer attention to analytics and the ways in which their content is being consumed. They are focusing on what users respond to and creating content accordingly. Marketing is largely being shaped by emerging technology, and companies must embrace this tech to avoid falling behind and becoming irrelevant. ‘Chat bots’ for example, are used to answer FAQs and communicate with millions of consumers interacting with websites and brands’ social media accounts. There are many services that provide you with chatbots that cost little to nothing, so even the small start-up companies can utilize this tool. Automation of personalized and custom content is now more available than ever for companies to save time and money, with the right strategy. Analytics can now not only tell us how many likes a post gets but compare consumer demographics, frequency, and timing of posting consumption, and the modalities and platforms of content to get the ultimate picture of our marketing efforts.
Treat your social media account like a seed. Give it time, exposure, and be consistent with your care. Great oaks don’t grow overnight. – Kate Donadio
2019 is the beginning of the comeback of authenticity
Video and content that portrays the true human experience continues to increase in popularity
The days of the big-name influencers are numbered, with consumers now preferring the opinions of peers
Genuine, custom content and relationship-building on social media is more fundamental to success than buying followers
Technology is more important than ever in marketing efforts, so know which trends to jump on and which ones to let go based on your company bandwidth
A solid marketing strategy is crucial, regardless of the type or size of your business