11 Game Changing Social Media Trends to Watch for In 2019
It was a wild year for social media. In 2018, an embattled Facebook weathered a series of major data breaches and received unprecedented government scrutiny; Snapchat released an unpopular update that paired with a tweet from a Kardashian drove away millions of users; Jake Paul offended pretty much the whole Internet when he recorded a suicide victim and published the video to his YouTube channel, sparking conversations about the ethics of being an influencer.
The social media industry continues to innovate and expand with breakneck speed, producing both hits and misses at an ever-increasing rate. So what can we expect from 2019?
Here are eleven trends that I’m watching for, along with tools and techniques brands can use to capitalize on them:
1) Emphasizing the Curation of Meaningful Content for Thought Leadership
In the same way that school children now aspire to be YouTubers, executives and companies alike increasingly desire to be seen as “thought leaders.” As demand increases, I expect to see a new emphasis on tools that allow companies to produce and publish content centered on cementing themselves as leaders in their space.
One early adopter doing just that is Tailor Social, a social media management platform that helps brands pinpoint content their audiences will appreciate. It’s impossible to create influence out of nothing, but by steadily sending valuable messages to the right people, it’s relatively easy for a brand to find a niche for itself in the minds of consumers.
Look for areas in which your brand can create leadership in for 2019.
2) Monitoring Goes Mainstream
Privacy concerns have become a hot topic in 2018, but fears over personal posts being shared online are likely not as widespread as the news would have you believe. Many social media users choose to make public posts that can be seen by the world, even with privacy settings available.
These public posts create an ideal opportunity for marketers to monitor online conversations related to this brand. Tools like SentiOne allow brands to track mentions from a wide variety of blogs and social media networks, helping in idea generation and reputation management.
Look for the most successful online brands to take advantage of these tools in the year ahead.
3) Social Media as a Direct Sales Tool
Brands often approach social media as an opportunity to build an online community and engage with customers in a more personal way. While this remains an effective approach, some brands are pushing the limits of social media marketing, using social channels as direct sales tools.
Instagram in particular lends itself to sales of this type, as the whole interface is already designed like an attractive digital catalogue. Smart retailers are swapping out their standard “link in bio” to use BigCommerce to sell on Instagram. It allows customers to go from seeing products in posts to browsing and buying them with a single click.
Look for a heavier emphasis on social media as an e-commerce platform in 2019 a new shopping app is already on the way from Instagram.
4) Integrating Social Networks Into Your Customer Service Operations
It’s standard practice these days for a company to have a support Twitter handle for you to tweet at when something goes wrong, but in 2019, expect more sophisticated, intelligent integrations of social media with customer support.
The abundance of communication channels now available between consumers and brands mean that companies need to cover more bases than ever. For brands looking to get ahead of the curve and seamlessly integrate customer service with all social media channels, it’s relatively easy to create a multi-channel, consolidated inbox with Groove.
I anticipate social media becoming even more central to customer service in 2019.
5) Be Wary of ‘Influencer Wannabes’
Influencer marketing has been weighed, measured, and found largely effective_but it comes with asterisks. Now that social media influencers are such an entrenched and popular idea in society (75 percent of elementary school children report wanting to be a YouTuber when they grow up) it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine which influencers wield real influence.
As with any other marketing channel, you get what you pay for. Fortunately, tools are available to help marketers sift the wheat from the chaff. HYPR Brands gives you real time social analytics for every influencer in the world and is a perfect way to vet collaborations.
In 2019, watch out for influencers without any real influence.
6) New, Emerging Social Channels
As previously mentioned, the social media industry shows no indication of slowing down in its pursuit of innovation. 2018 alone has seen new platforms such as Vero and Steemit make inroads with online users. Expect new disruptive platforms to emerge in 2019, promising great results for brands and marketers.
However, “new” is not always the same thing as “good.” Before jumping on the bandwagon of new social channels or ad tech, take the time to review metrics and see if the numbers back up the claims. Results can be measured with Oribi, a powerful analytics tool which can show you exactly how much traffic and how many conversions each channel in your mix is generating.
Expect new, disruptive social channels in 2019_but don’t expect them all to last.
7) Asian Trends Sweeping the US
No longer is the Western world the primary birthplace of online trends and culture. China, South Korea and Japan are all massive players on the scene and dictate as many, if not more trends than their Western counterparts. Look no farther than the Flaunt Your Wealth Challenge currently dominating social media platforms worldwide.
For American businesses, it can be difficult to keep up with Asian social media trends, but as the influence of that part of the world grows, following those trends will become increasingly important. Taking to Weibo is a great place to start.
Look for more social media movements and trends coming from China and the Far East.
8) Live Video Finally Enthroned as King
For a long time now, people have been talking about live video as the next dominant social media trend. In my opinion, 2019 is the year we will finally see live video reach the height it has been predicted to rise to. I would not be surprised to see the number of live video streams on YouTube double in the next year.
For businesses who are determined to start broadcasting live, a great place to start is OBS Studio. This free, open source software allows you to broadcast almost anything live to YouTube. It’s customizable enough to allow great control, but the interface remains simple enough to learn in minutes.
Expect live video to take over the social media world in 2019.
9) Influencers Outgrow Platforms
Next year, I think we’ll finally see the end of influencers attached to certain platforms. As social media companies ramp up the competition amongst themselves, there is no longer a clear leader for video monetization or potential audience.
Influencers will gain traction not because they have a certain number of followers on a certain platform, but because they are well-known and popular across all platforms. For keeping track of activity across all social media platforms in one easy place, look into using a social media aggregator like Taggbox.
Look for more platform-agnostic influencers in 2019.
10) The Rise of Mega Influencers
In 2018, former US president Barack Obama announced a content partnership with Netflix, indicating that he is throwing his hat into the digital content creation ring. In previous times, this kind of high-profile commercial activity from a former world leader would have been very unusual, but I expect to see more of it as time goes on.
It’s only a matter of time before anyone can become an influencer. If the floor has dropped out, creating the threat of pseudo-influencers, so too has the ceiling been lifted, allowing people previously too important to be thought of as influencers to enter the arena.
Look for figures of global importance to begin posturing themselves as social media influencers in 2019.
11) Music as Social Media
Finally, in 2019 I expect the worlds of music and social media to become inextricably connected. Spotify and Apple Music are already well integrated with social media platforms, but I expect the marriage of these two previously separate industries to run even deeper.
Social media platforms like Tik-Tok are making libraries of popular music available to their users for use in video posts. YouTube and Snapchat are following suit. I expect that in 2019 social media platforms will increasingly become music-licensing platforms as well, as they strive to bring in a younger demographic and stay relevant for more established users.