Social media in 2018 was crazy! Facebook’s privacy issues really affected everyone and they have been working really hard on gaining our trust back. Instagram stories have really taken off and are helping businesses grow. This is something I am going to work into my social media strategy as well as my clients.

Another thing that has changed in 2018 is that people want to be treated like humans and not a demographic. This is something I teach my clients. First off, people want to see the human being behind your brand, and people want to be treated like you care. This is how you gain KNOW, LIKE, & TRUST.

Social media is about being SOCIAL! Click To Tweet

In today’s blog post, I am going to share with you findings from Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends report.  If you want to download a copy for yourself, click here.

Hootsuite conducted a survey of 3,255 business customers, interviewed industry analysts, and did a lot of research. Based on their findings, Hootsuite was able to find five key social media trends for brands to watch and adapt to in 2019.

TREND 1:
Rebuilding trust – brands get human as the circle of trust on social media tightens

As I mentioned above, Facebook had a bad year when it came to user’s privacy. But they weren’t alone. Twitter had their own headache when it came to bots creating fake accounts. Because of those incidents, questions are being asked if all social media networks can be trusted.

According to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer Report, 60% of people no longer trust social media companies. Also, Ponemon Institute reports that trust in Facebook has dropped a shocking 66%.

Users have grown distrustful of many media and celebrity influencers. Trust has moved back to family, friends and acquaintances. People are also returning to traditional and trusted journalism outlets and local news sources – 71% of people agree that social media should do more to support high-quality journalism.

In order to succeed with social media now a days, brands are focussing less on maximizing reach and more on generating quality engagement. Businesses are creating communities and sharing insightful and researched content and getting out of the way and letting passionate users talk to one another.

TAKE AWAY:
Users are increasingly conscious of who they are interacting with and what data they share. Earning trust and providing real value are key for continued engagement. Something I have always said when it comes to social media, be authentic and genuine.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HOOTSUITE:

  • Create a branded hashtag for Instagram aligned with community values – create a short, easy-to-remember branded hashtag that brings your community together around a common interest.
  • Participate in or run Twitter chats – have a public discussion on Twitter around a specific hashtag. This is a great way to build community. Chats are held at a specific time, cover one topic or theme, and are led by a moderator.
  • Build a Facebook Group around a core audience interest – if you have a Facebook Business Page, you can create a Facebook Group to complement it. While your page will offer more general information to your followers, your Facebook Group can address niche interests and target your super fans.

Learn more about my Facebook Community by clicking here! Sorry guys, it’s just for us girls!

TREND 2:
Storifying social – content teams adapt as stories offer new format for sharing

According to Block Party, stories are growing 15 times faster than feed-bases sharing. Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, says “stories are set to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends within the next year.” And nearly a billion users across WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat already turn to stories to share.

Social media is pivoting from text-based platforms to mobile-only networks that enable users to capture in-the-moment experiences. Because stories disappear after a day, there’s more room for fun and experimentation. Stories feel real, immediate, and intensely personal.

For brands, this requires a major shift in focus in 2019. You want to have a balance between different content styles. The Guardian and Tictail have found that less, polished, more realistic stories perform better than edited takes filled with heavy-handed calls to action. Unfortunately, intimate and on the fly stories can’t work for all brands.

TAKE AWAY:
Stories are second nature for a new wave of digital natives and the news feed may be slowly becoming a thing of the past.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HOOTSUITE:

  • Start experimenting with stories – an estimated 4 out of 5 major brands are already creating stories. You can share content weekly and at different times of the day to see what works best with your audience.
  • Create story-specific content – your content should reflect the unique look and feel of stories – raw, unedited, and live action.
  • Use the stories highlight feature – if you don’t want your stories to disappear after 24 hours, use the highlights option. Selected stories can be displayed as long as you want, along with designated custom cover image. This can be great for special promotions, campaigns, or longer, more high-production videos that deserve extra exposure.
  • Get in early with Facebook stories – so far, Facebook stories haven’t really caught on. But CEO Mark Zuckerber appears determined to get stories going on Facebook and is investing heavily in the format. Currently, only 9% of major brands post to Facebook stories. If you have a business account on Instagram and share stories, all you have to do is click on the share to Facebook Page Stories, and poof, there it goes!

TREND 3:
Closing the ads gap – more competition on paid social forces marketers to up their game

If you haven’t noticed, if you want something to succeed on social media, you have to pay-to-play. Marketers are increasing social ad budgets and producing more ads than ever before. One of every four Facebook Pages now use paid media, and Facebook already accounts for 23% of total US digital ad spending.

Because ads are so popular, prices are increasing and it’s becoming harder to get noticed. So how do you get passed this? Only the most engaging ads rise above all the other posts. Millennials and Gen Z have learned how to filter out irrelevant ads by either skimming over or actively using ad blocking tools.

According to Hootsuite, Spotify and Netflix are leading the way with creative social ads that are at once personalized and entertaining, rather than just bland banner ads in news feeds.

TAKE AWAY:
Brands that respect and engage their customers as humans and add value to their audience through content will see real ROI in social ads. The ongoing challenge will be finding cost-effective ways to do so.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HOOTSUITE:

  • Understand and target the right audience – this something I always figure out with my clients. I ask them who their target market is. Knowing your audience is key to getting a high engagement rate. Each ad should target a focused group based on interests, jobs, relevant competitors, and previous interaction with your brand.
  • Define your goals and metrics – every ad campaign should have goals and metrics that tie back to business objectives and that you know how to measure.
  • Invest in high-quality content – ordinary posts aren’t good enough anymore. You need high-quality content that will resonate with your audience. Not every brand will have the budget for expensive equipment or a professional crew, but learning some video basics or even hiring a freelancer can make a big difference in quality.

TREND 4:
Cracking the commerce code – improved social shopping technologies finally fuel sales

Instagram’s shoppable posts now allow users to go directly from discovery to checkout without ever leaving the app. They have also added a Shopping tab to its Explore page. On Facebook, Marketplace has streamlined the process of listing and selling items on social media and is now used in 70 countries by more than 800 million people. And Pinterest, which introduced buyable pins in 2015, continues to drive conversions, with 55% of customers using the site to find and shop for products.

It’s important to remember that what distinguishes social commerce from other channels is the social aspect. Finding ways to make shopping live, interactive, and seamless – even on mobile devices, is key.

TAKE AWAY:
Turn written product descriptions into videos, share livestream demonstrations of your products and services, and encourage video testimonials from customers.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HOOTSUITE:

  • Set up shoppable Instagram posts – before you can start selling products on Instagram, you need to have an approved business profile. Then you can add your product catalog to Facebook with Shopify or BigCommerce, and Instagram will approve your submission. This will allow you to tag products in your posts so your followers can browse and buy.
  • Share your products in action – high-quality images and videos can help potential customers browse your products and get an idea of look and feel without going to the store. Showcase your products in a variety of different scenarios to add variety and keep your audience engaged. Think about how your ideal customers use your products, their interests, and their top questions or concerns.
  • Promote your products with contests – if you want to get more followers looking at and buying your products, run a sweepstakes contest for products that you feature in shoppable posts. Before running your contest, clearly outline the guidelines and use an easy-to-remember hashtag that helps people share and find your contest. Make sure that your contest adheres to Instagram’s promotion guidelines.

TREND 5:
Messaging eats the world – customers demand better one-on-one social experiences

Top messaging apps – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ, and Skype – now collectively count nearly five billion monthly active users, according to We Are Social and Hootsuite’s 2018 Q3 Global Digital Statshot. This means that messaging app users now easily surpasses traditional social network users worldwide.

Users are spending more time on messaging and less time sharing news on social. Nine out of ten consumers would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses, according to a survey of 6,000 people globally. In the US, messaging is the single most preferred channel for customer service. In a 2018 study of 8,000 people by Facebook, 69% of US respondents said that directly messaging a company helps them feel more confident about the brand.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HOOTSUITE:

  • Enable Facebook Messenger for your Facebook Business Page – if you’re ready to start communicating with your customers via Messenger, you need to enable the Messenger feature on your Facebook Business Page. Find instructions here.
  • Add plugins to your website that drive customers to messaging apps – show that your brand is available on messaging apps by adding plugins to your website. That way customers can easily click on the plugin and reach you if they’re already on your website looking for information. You can see an example of this on my website.
  • Use DMs and/or messaging apps to streamline customer service queries on social – when customers reach out to your brand, it’s important to move the conversation from a public to private space. That way, you can ask for personal information like phone number and address so you can resolve the problem faster.

In my next blog post, I am going to continue in my Facebook Ads series and talk about Reporting.

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We all need help and support! Sometimes, we simply need someone who has done it before to tell us what to do and how to do it. That's where Savvy Social Media comes in! My name is Michelle Arbore and welcome to Savvy Social Media. My company offers customized training to fit your needs, no matter what level your business is at or what industry you are in. Are you ready to grow your business? Contact me today!

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Social Media Trends 2019

by Michelle Arbore time to read 8 min
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