Now that we’re all nicely settled into 2019, we’ve been looking ahead to the trends we think will be the most impactful on social this year. So, without further ado – let’s get stuck in:
Starting off with one of the sustaining trends of the last few years; the meteoric rise of influencers and influencer marketing. But with the clamp down on the social media stars clarifying paid adverts and the breaking of the Fyre Festival documentary – are influencers and more to the point, micro- influencers looking at a tough 2019?
Not likely! While there may be rumblings of distrust of some of the bigger names in the industry, this has made a way for the attention to shift to those less well known, but with avidly engaging followers.
Brands can certainly leverage this to their advantage, reaching lower but loyal audiences at a much lower cost. Instagram accounted for 83% of all influencer marketing last year and the platform has shown no sign of giving up that substantial lead any time soon, with IGTV making it even easier for creators to share their content.
In many cases, a micro-influencer will actually have a higher engagement rate than some of their peers with a much higher following. While less people overall see their posts, the following tend to be more engaged.
Embracing this trend is a key recommendation for brands looking to build on the authenticity of their image and humanising their content.
2: VIDEO CONTENT
Videos have long been a surefire way of increasing awareness of an idea, brand or product due to the way that the algorithms used across the social platforms prioritise video content over and above static imagery.
But it sounds like the visual medium may become even more important in 2019, with 93% of businesses asked reported gaining a new customer directly as a result of a video post and furthering that, projections have stated that soon 80% of the content we see in our social feeds will be video.
All this indicates a significant move towards videography and high scale production costs for brands if they mean to keep up with the big players who have high marketing budgets to throw around.
However, here comes the unlikely hero for companies both big and small; User Generated Content. Basically, any type of content you can think of that has been created and put out there by advocates of your brand or products. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between and is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself.
In the past, brands have been hesitant to embrace UGC, typically in preference of the safety of controlling their image, messaging and placement. However the success of campaigns like “Share a Coke”, which encourages millions of Coca-cola fans across the world to share pictures of themselves enjoying a personalised Coke, resulted in thousands of creative fan photos, and billions of impressions!
UGC is on the rise, with organisations of all shapes and sizes looking to harness content created by their fans, customers and even employees. Certainly, UGC can be particularly effective, a study by ComScore in 2014 found brand engagements rise by 28% when consumers are exposed to a mixture of professional marketing content and user-generated content.
3: SOCIAL LISTENING
Social listening strategy has been gaining momentum at a rate of notts lately. Looking at only your brand’s mentions mean that there is potential to miss a swathe of compliments, complaints or just general commentary on your brand.
Tracking the abbreviations, non-@ mentions and contextually topical terms is a great way of keeping up with what is being said about you, allowing you to be reactive and making it easier to be proactive.
As well, the real time tracking feature of many of the SMM tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Sprinklr mean you can have your finger on the beat, discovering news as it breaks.
Using a tool that brings all your social channels together in one place saves you a load of time and reduces your margin for missing important messages from your customers and clients.
Social listening is also a fantastic way of improving your online reputation – when your audience sees how quickly you are responding and how clear your answers are, they begin to trust you more as a brand. Around 31% of people say that they trust a brand more when they are seen to be having conversations with people on their social channels.
4: CHAT BOTS
It is predicted that by 2020, 80% of brands will be using chatbots in one way or another. Certainly, they are an immensely helpful tool: a chatbot can help you maintain a 24hr customer service system without having to outsource, the bot continually learns from conversations it has with customers thanks to AI and they are totally customisable for your company’s needs!
A few examples of successful implementation of Facebook chatbots come from brands like Sephora and Pizza Hut.
Sephora, the makeup and beauty powerhouse has created chatbots that give interested users tutorials on anything, from contouring to eyeshadow. You can also ask the bot for reviews and ratings of products to ensure you find the perfect item for when you’re next in store.
Pizza Hut have also leveraged the usefulness of chatbots, allowing customers to order pizza directly from Facebook messenger and even on Twitter. People can satisfy their cravings by asking the bot to reorder their favourite pizza as well as ask for the latest deals and offers.
Music streaming giant, Spotify have been capitalising on the technology, allowing users to have playlists created for them based on their mood and preference of music genre.
Chatbots are helping to rejuvenate the ways companies can communicate with their clients – with minimal effort on their part past the initial setup. Reportedly, chatbots currently account for business cost savings of around $20 million and this is expected only to rise as time goes on.
There are a host of other trends emerging for 2019 and we are looking forward to discovering which innovative new practice or technology will reign as champion by the end of the year. For even more, tune into our monthly podcasts where we aim to illuminate and examine all things social media. So far, we’ve covered voice assistance and the presence of CEOs on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Interested in implementing some of the trends we’ve highlighted here? Get in touch with us. Carve is a global social agency. We help world-leading organisations build meaningful relationships with the people who matter to them.