The Social Media marketing landscape has changed. Customers’ attention span keeps decreasing while they also develop ad blindness. In the next years, this will continue to happen more frequently and at an even faster pace.

To make sure your marketing efforts don’t go unnoticed, we’ve gathered 11 Social Media marketing trends that you should integrate into your communication strategy in 2019.

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1. LIVE Videos

This year, 80% of what we consume online will be video content. But you know what’s better than video? LIVE video! Generation Z is dictating Social Media marketing trends now, and they want to be involved with, interact, and react to the brands they love.

Live streaming takes video marketing to a whole new level. Instead of perfecting their videos to the last detail, marketers can present their audience with a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on.

Let’s say you want to launch a campaign. You can announce it the classic way, through a post or newsletter, OR you could start a live stream, launch the campaign, and interact with your customers at the same time.

Live streaming also helps brands build trust and loyalty, as ‘going live’ is associated with authenticity. Of course, live broadcasts come with risks. But leaving room for mistakes instead of projecting a perfect image is precisely what strengthens trust and proves authenticity.

2. Micro-influencers

Over the past few years, influencer marketing has become a major trend. Influencers create a customized user experience, and the reason they are successful is that many customers can relate to their story.

However, influencer marketing is not a fit for every brand (too expensive, too general of an audience, followers lost their trust, etc.). Micro-influencer marketing can prove to be a better alternative. Micro-influencers are usually experts in their niche and their following is extremely engaged and very interested in what they have to say.

To give you some ideas, here’s an example from Sprint. In a mobile market as saturated as the US, the only way Sprint could acquire customers was to take them from their competitors. And what better way to make a customer switch its carrier than to make your competitor’s spokesperson switch teams?

3. User-generated content

92% of users read online reviews and testimonials and 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. User-generated content is just another form of testimonials which, by the way, can increase conversion rates up to 62%. It’s content generated by your customers, and their opinion is invaluable.

Traditional marketing strategies don’t work anymore. People no longer buy something just because they need it. They also want to know the story behind the product and the company’s ethics. That’s why combining influencer marketing with user-generated content gives brands the necessary social proof that persuades customers to make a decision.

As the company behind Photoshop, Adobe has a very impressive Instagram feed. But what stands out the most is not the quality of their photos. It’s the fact that, by reposting their customers’ photos, they managed to create an engaged online community.

4. Social listening

User-generated content goes hand in hand with social listening. Tracking mentions of your brand, both tagged and untagged, is key to an effective engagement strategy. Analyzing the context can give you valuable insights into how to better serve your target audience.

Social listening has many benefits. Most brands use social listening to improve their customer service and for reputation management, but other use cases include:

  • Using customer feedback to improve products
  • Lead generation
  • Learning more about current customers
  • Marketing products through industry influencers (finding micro-influencers)
  • Creating targeted, high converting ads
  • Analyzing the competition

In 2019, social listening will predominantly be used for lead generation and social selling.

5. Facebook as a support channel

Facebook is great for brand awareness, lead generation, building brand loyalty, increasing website traffic, and boost SEO. However, in our experience, we can slowly see Facebook turning into a support channel, a place where customers can reach out to brands and leave messages. 

90% of consumers try to reach out to brands on Social Media and it makes sense. Both millennials and Generation Z are online, mobile, and social individuals, and they expect their favorite brands to be too. So it’s no wonder that they want to reach out to brands easily, using a method that’s convenient for them.

6. Real-time communication

82% of consumers expect an immediate response, so the future of Social Media marketing is real-time communication. When your brand starts a conversation with a user, you’re befriending them on that level; you’re turning business relationships into personal ones.

Social Media never sleeps; people are talking about your product 24/7, and failure to offer immediate support could potentially result in a Social Media crisis.

Scenarios where users will vent their frustrations on Social Media and brands will comment to their post offering them a fix or a better alternative are now a reality on social feeds.

7. AI-driven customer service and chatbots

In 2019, brands should start identifying new platforms that will enable customer service to thrive online.

75% of customers already believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. But 24/7 support might not always be possible for small companies and startups, as they don’t have the necessary resources for a dedicated support team. Chatbots are the perfect solution to enhance customer interaction, specifically in the form of online customer service.

60% of the millennial population already uses chatbots, and 71% have implied that they would like to try using one. By 2020, more than 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots.

8. IGTV

While short videos were already available on Instagram, the more recently launched IGTV platform allows marketers to share longer videos of up to 1 hour.

We’ve already mentioned how important video and live streaming is in 2019, but with launching a vertical video feature and addressing a mobile-only audience, Instagram is making another big statement: video is to be exclusively consumed on mobile. And as this trend continues to grow, IGTV may very well replace YouTube.

With Instagram announcing reaching 1 billion monthly users and its level of engagement growing, we are seeing another trend emerging: Instagram dethroning Facebook! Android users spend 53 minutes per day on Instagram and 58 minutes per day on Facebook. It’s time for brands to start growing their Instagram following.

9. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality markets will surpass $298 billion by 2023. The most popular examples of Augmented Reality applications are photo and video filters, but the possibilities are endless. IKEA has launched an AR app that allows users to scan their room and see what the furniture would look like in their space, while Lacoste has created an AR app to help users “try on” different shoes.  

Augmented Reality provides an interactive experience, and that’s something marketing experts are always after. In 2019, Social Media Marketing Managers should take advantage of what AR has to offer to expand their reach and personalize customer interactions.

10. Decrease in organic reach

As Facebook announced major changes to its algorithm, brands were split into two results: those who had an effective strategy of attracting organic reach in place didn’t face any big changes, while those who didn’t have such strategies found themselves on a downhill overnight.

One area marketers should focus on in 2019 is increasing organic reach across social platforms. And the way to do that is by creating more engaging customer relationships on social media by evoking genuine interest and consumer needs.

11. Social activism

With the rise of campaigns such as #DressLikeAWoman and #HeForShe, brand purpose is becoming a big decision factor for consumers. And as campaigns like these are usually being banned on TV, they find their home on social media where they become viral almost instantaneously.

In 2019, brands should focus more on their customers’ emotional drivers. “Consumers used to accept that their favorite brands were neutral. “Don’t pick sides, and avoid topics and statements that alienate any audiences” were the common PR marching orders. Today, there is a different set of consumer expectations. Businesses are required to have a voice and to take a stance for their customers on important topics.”, Deirdre Breakenridge, Pure Performance Communications.

Conclusion

2019 will prove to be even more challenging for brands engaged in Social Media marketing. Now more than ever, you have to create personalized customer experiences and always put the customer in charge.

To generate more revenue, companies have to become transparent and connect with their customer quickly and personally.

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