What is Social Media ?
Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Websites and applications dedicated to forums, microbloggingsocial networkingsocial bookmarkingsocial curation, and wikis are among the different types of social media.

1. Rise of private groups and accounts
In 2018, Facebook invested new features into Facebook Groups, such as being able to participate as a business Page, updating with Stories, posting Live videos within the group and creating social learning units.
Some influencer accounts have turned to creating private Instagram accounts to avoid the Instagram algorithm. Brands also followed suit by creating private alternative accounts to drive up interest. In an article in the Atlantic, Sonny, who runs several meme accounts on Instagram, said he flipped four of his accounts to private. The return has been tremendous, noting that the “growth on those accounts has far outpaced anything he’s been able to get from making it on Instagram Explore.” It will be interesting to observe if this trend continues in 2019.

2. Transparency wins:

2018 was a landmark year for the major social media networks. Facebook battled privacy and data sharing concerns and Twitter struck down troll accounts while making it easier to report harassment. GDPR going into effect in 2018 also meant that many companies took note of what their customer data was being used in.
If brands want to get ahead on this, they can start with what consumers want on social media. The top three desires are product/service changes, company values and business practices. For your company, this could mean publicizing product iterations or app updates, demonstrating your company values and giving more behind-the-scenes looks at your business.
Going deep on transparency will take some time to plan but in the long run, it’s been proven to be worth the effort. Remember that saying you’re transparent is not the same as actually being transparent. Your words must be backed up by actions.

3. New social media networks :

Facebook has had a long reign at the top of the social media charts. But 2018 was not kind to it and its practices have led many, including the NAACP, to call for boycotts. In mid-2018, it “posted the largest one-day loss in market value by any company in US stock market history” at $119 billion, according to CNBC.
Some users have quit Facebook altogether, which leaves marketers wondering what’s next for social media. It’s a ripe time for a new network to be built with transparent data practice usage and their customers in mind. It’s best to keep an eye out for new channels in case one of them could be useful for your brand. Sprout’s recommendation is to reserve your brand handles on emerging social networks just in case a network becomes big in the future.44

4. Stories Everywhere :

Snapchat’s features of a disappearing post infiltrated almost every major network, sometimes more than once. Instagram Stories received major updates in 2018 with AR filters and interactive stickers. Facebook added Stories to personal accounts, Pages, Messenger and Groups. Both WhatsApp and YouTube also invested in Story-like features.

As of May 2018, Stories across four platforms was approaching one billion uses every day. These snapshots have evolved from basic, behind-the-scene features to branded storytelling snippets. Integration with shopping features will only increase in 2019 to appeal to brands.

5.Small businesses are increasing their social presence:

Nobody can afford to ignore social media anymore. It’s become a regular part of our everyday lives.
Ten years ago, small business owners may have thought it was unnecessary to build a presence on social media, but now they are all realizing how important it is for staying competitive.
In fact, 52% of small business owners post to social media on a daily basis.


Conclusion

It’s fun to take a guess at what the next year will bring for social media. While we certainly couldn’t have predicted the data breaches of 2018, it was still a landmark year of change and public trust for brands. 2019 will only bring more new, interesting features that we hope will drive the social conversation forward for brands. The trust relationship between brands and consumers will be rebuilt through private groups, transparency reports and employees as influencers.





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