123 Reg logo Blog

Five social media trends to look out for in 2019

By Alexandra Gavril - January 19, 2019

Here’s an interesting statistic:

According to the 2018 Edelman Brands and Social Media reportfour in 10 consumers say they are unlikely to become emotionally attached to a brand unless they are interacting via social media.

If you’re still treating social media as an afterthought, ignoring that platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become the go-to platforms where customers ask questions, offer accolades, and air complaints, then you can’t be surprised if your audience doesn’t know who you are or whether they can trust to do business with you.

So what can you do in this coming year to better connect with your audience and to positively influence how they perceive your brand? Here are the five social media trends to pay attention to in 2019.

1. Rebuilding trust in your brand

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Twitter dealing with millions of fake accounts in 2018, users have quickly grown distrustful of social media platforms and the brands and influencers using them.

In fact, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brands and Social Media, 59% of people no longer trust social media companies.

What does this mean for your small business?

It means that in 2019, you’ll need to work harder to rebuild your audience’s trust in your business.

The first step – putting a real, human face to your brand.

People trust people. A brand that’s helpful, relatable and has the human element garners more trust, and it’s trust that builds relationships.

Another effective way to build trust in 2019 is by engaging in intimate, meaningful conversations with smaller, more valuable audience groups. This means creating or joining active communities and sharing insightful content and advice.

So if you want to rebuild trust in the year to come, here are a few key things you can do:

  • Create a branded hashtag aligned with community values, interests and passions rather than just a product offering. Then use it to build a conversation around your brand. Read this beginner’s guide to hashtags to learn how to use them for your small business.
  • Join or run Twitter chats. Get started with this article that explains how to host a successful Twitter chat for your business.
  • Create or join a private or a public Facebook group where you engage in conversation around your customers’ interests.
  • Use Facebook Live to answer commonly asked questions or to introduce the people behind your brand. Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook Live, including some examples of what you can do with it.

We expect that businesses that embrace these trust-building tactics in 2019 will have a distinct advantage over those that hide behind their logo.

2. It’s all about visuals

It’s all about visuals in 2019. Photos, gifs, infographics and videos dominate social media. Why? Because they’re engaging, fun and easier to consume. They grab our attention and pull at our emotions. They’re memorable.

So if in 2019 you want to get the attention of the audience that matters most to you, then you’ll need to move from a text-first to a visual-first approach when communicating on social media.

This doesn’t need to be a big investment considering there are so many guides and free tools you can use to create your visuals. Get started with these two resources:

3. “Go live”

Live video isn’t new but it’s growing in popularity, especially on Facebook and Instagram. You’ve probably noticed how more and more brands and consumers prefer to go live to share a moment or a story instead of writing up a post.

In 2019 going live won’t just be a trend but a must for small businesses looking to engage with their audience. The key reason is that it’s easier to build trust and loyalty when your audience can see your brand, the people behind it as well as your products live and in action.

So make it a priority in this coming year to go live and to deliver high quality, engaging content to your audience. The great thing about it is that there’s so much you can do with it from informing your audience about a product release or explaining how a product works to answering frequently asked questions or introducing a new team member.

4. ‘In-the-moment’ content

People today want to be involved, to interact, react and co-create. They no longer want to be passive in the way they consume content on social media.

While pre-packaged content like blog posts and case studies still have their own very important role in your content strategy, ‘in-the-moment’, spontaneous content is what people are craving more of. And social media is the perfect place to share this type of content with your audience.

That’s why Instagram and Facebook stories have gained so much popularity in 2018. 200 million Instagram users use Instagram Stories each month, according to Entrepreneur.

This is a trend that will continue to grow in 2019. So if you’re using Instagram or Facebook for your business, make sure to take advantage of the story feature in this coming year to reach and engage more prospects.

Read these useful guides to learn how to get started with Instagram and Facebook stories:

5. Chatbots

Hootsuite has predicted that by 2020, more than 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots. In addition, according to Huffington Post, the quickest adopters of chatbots are millennials, with nearly 60% having already used chatbots and 71% saying they would like to try one.

Why? Because it speeds up the process, allowing customers to get immediate answers to their questions without having to make a call and wait for an available support agent to answer their questions.

Now, what does this mean for your small business? It means that in 2019 you’ll need to get with the programme and make use of chatbots to answer your customers’ questions, troubleshoot and even allow them to make purchase or book services.

This is critical to providing a wow customer experience, which is key to your business success in 2019.

If you want to give it try but don’t know how to get started, read our guide on how to create a Facebook Messenger chatbot for your small business.

Wrapping up

There you have it – the five social media trends to prepare for in 2019. Hopefully you’ll find them useful and you’ll incorporate at least one of them into your marketing strategy in the coming year. Good luck!