Trends In Social Media

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The Office of Communications and Marketing manages the main Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Vimeo accounts. Social media is about conversations, community, connecting with the audience and building relationships. It is not just a broadcast channel or a sales and marketing tool.
The year 2019 is expected to see a continuity of some of the trends from 2018 and the entry of some new trends. At the same time, it is recommended to keep room for unexpected updates and introduction of new features. It is important for you to follow a flexible approach. It is suggested to always be prepared to alter your social strategy according to unexpected trends and updates.

1. The Year of Stories

At the end of 2018, 400 million users were actively using Instagram stories every day. And that number is only growing. Users are responding to the ephemeral and unpolished nature of the platform. According to Instagram, they’ve learned that younger audiences, in particular, are “spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals (Instagram).” This shift in content consumption has led to the social platform investing heavily in Stories and IGTV. 
So, what’s next for Stories in 2019? While Instagram Stories have been widely adopted by brands, only around nine percent of major brands post to Facebook Stories. As with most features on Facebook, there is typically an advantage to being an early adopter. Facebook is encouraging brands to post to Stories in order to consistently engage with their audience, making it very easy – you can automatically post to Facebook Stories from Instagram – and offering Stories a premium placement in the app.

The number of daily users of stories across platforms like Instagram has grown significantly in the past two years.

2. Brands will need to invest in social ads

In 2018, marketers produced more social ads than ever before and increased their budgets by 32%. One out of every four Facebook Pages now use paid advertising as part of their social media strategy and Facebook accounts for 23% of total U.S. digital ad spending. All of these numbers suggest that not only is social advertising around to stay, but competition will only get more intense. 
In 2019 the success with social advertising will mean that making investments beyond advertising budgets. In an interview with Adweek, Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson stated, “Progressive brands are recognizing the importance of pairing ad money with an equivalent investment of time, creativity and targeting savvy.” 

3. The Rise of Social TV

According to a recent report from Statista, more than 50% of digital videos are now viewed on mobile in vertical format. This is a trend that has been moving in a consistently upward direction since 2013. 
It’s this trend that influenced the launch of Facebook Watch in 2017 and IGTV in 2018. And it’s this same trend that will make 2019 the year of social TV. By 2021, Instagram reports that mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic.
IGTV offers marketers a place to share mobile first, long-form video within the Instagram platform. While it’s still early days for this feature, brands should consider adding it to their 2019 strategy to feel the benefits of being an early adopter. 

4. Trust and Transparency

In the wake of GDPR, trust, transparency and authenticity have become central to social media activity. In 2019, one trend that will influence all social media activity is building the trust of your audience. The Cambridge Analytica scandal brought attention to the lack of transparency regarding the collection of consumer data. GDPR brought in new rules with more transparency to consumers.
This has left an impact on paid reach across social media platforms. Social listening for consumer data collection underwent changes. Breach of consumer privacy, that is, use or collection of consumer data without consent could spell trouble. Brands will continue to be expected to take explicit consent for collection of consumer data. As such, building relationships with consumers based on trust and transparency will direct social media trends 2019.
5. Growing influence of Social Media on Commerce

It’s no secret that social media is the primary way that individuals consume media, interact with brands, seek recommendations and ask for help. Increasingly, it’s also where consumers are making buying decisions. While the buyer’s journey is complex, bigger pieces of it are playing out on social media. A recent study by Corelate found that 76% of US consumers have bought an item they saw in a brand’s social post and 40% are actively deciding what to buy based on what they have seen on social media platforms, including reviews and recommendations. 
With the launch of Instagram Checkout this past March on Instagram, shopping will become more seamless and integrated into the social experience. The beta feature will allow users to find a product they love, purchase it and receive order notifications all within the Instagram app. There is still progress to be made on the social commerce front (currently only 4% of those surveyed make a purchase immediately after seeing it), but 2019 is set up to be a good year for brands hoping to sell items within the social environment. 

6. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality refers to an interactive experience created with artificially generated, perceptual information. The Pokémon game that took the world by storm was an example of the use of AR in mobile games. Augmented Reality is already a part of social media in the form of filters and lenses on Instagram stories and Snapchat. In the coming year, Augmented Reality will be used to take the consumer experience to the next level.

AR in 2019, will bring offer an entirely new experiences to customers. Augmented Reality will provide customers with a try and buy experience through its virtual showroom. It is also being speculated that AR will be provide experiences akin to watching live events right from one’s home.

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