As with all marketing, social media trends can change dramatically from year to year and this is still true in 2019. As each social network evolves, marketers need to be one step ahead if they want to continue enjoying their current success rates.
However, with so many varying opinions, both positive and negative, how do you know which strategy is going to get you ahead this year? And which platforms should you spend most of your efforts on?
Below, we’ll look at the changes we’ll witness in 2019 across the most popular social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram before moving on to look at some upcoming channels to put on your radar.
How the top social networks will change in 2019
First, let’s explore the channels we’re most familiar with and how they look set to change in 2019.
From the privacy concerns that surround Facebook to the vast growth of Instagram advertising in 2018, which popular networking site could come out on top this year?
1. Facebook: Trust, pay-to-play, and video
2018 was turbulent for the world’s most popular social media channel. It faced a number of privacy issues, including the much-publicized scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica and the use of nearly 90 million Facebook profiles (without prior consent) to try and influence the election.
This led to many Facebook users becoming wary of the platform, with other social sites using this to their advantage by curating honest, transparent, and personalized communication for their users.
The emphasis on trust and transparency will continue in 2019. Facebook itself promises changes to how it collects data and uses ad metrics and sponsored content.
However, marketers will need to be wary in their approach on this channel, too and be sure their content instills confidence.
Another challenge marketers face on this channel is the pay-to-play system caused by changes to Facebook’s algorithm. In 2012, you could expect 16% of your followers to see your updates on Facebook. Last year, this figure dropped dramatically to 6% at best.
This means that in order to get in front of your audience, you’ll need to invest in ads, boosted posts, and sponsored posts, which could be expensive.
So who will benefit from this channel in 2019?
Not only are videos predicted to dominate social media in 2019 but Facebook has also adjusted its algorithm in favor of videos. Plus, they’ve introduced Facebook for Creators.
Image Source: Facebook
Facebook for Creators is a new community that helps you produce video content for Facebook’s social platform. It also gives you access to better insights and connects you with fans. You can use it to respond to comments on Facebook and Instagram, too.
2. Instagram: Social ads, vertical videos, and stories
With Facebook becoming saturated with competition, Instagram has become the favored platform for advertising—on Stories and the news feed.
It’s highly likely this trend will continue in 2019 because Instagram offers great ROI for a lot of different brands.
Plus, as audiences continue to evolve, Instagram Stories allow marketers to deliver interactive content and narrative to their customers. Using visual content and videos, they can capture the attention of Instagram’s users with ease, even appealing to those with the shortest of attention spans.
This storytelling feature is something that gained a lot of traction in 2018, with the number of active users of Stories reaching a whopping 400 million. And it’s only going to continue in the months and year ahead, particularly with Instagram’s launch of IGTV. This allows users to watch long-form videos from their favorite brands/creators on Instagram.
Finally, Instagram Stories and IGTV also allow marketers to use vertical videos. This format looks likely to grow in popularity due to how many of us use our smartphones to view social channels and subsequent advertisements.
The top 4 upcoming social network platforms to watch in 2019
Despite the clear strength of Instagram, it’s a good idea not to rely solely on one social platform. Rather, look for other key avenues you can explore in order to strengthen your social media strategy, maximize your reach, and increase your social ROI.
Here are some new platforms you might want to try:
1. Vero: Authenticity and influencer marketing
Vero is being dubbed the “authentic” social network because there are no algorithms determining what you see, and it is, at present, free of ads.
Its closest rival is Instagram since Vero offers users the ability to share various forms of content with their followers.
Despite its launch way back in 2015, it wasn’t until early last year that Vero started to gain popularity (gathering half a million users in just 24 hours). And with its user base continuing to grow, it’s a clear contender for the year ahead.
How might it benefit you?
Because there is no algorithm, Vero is an entirely organic platform where you know users will see your content. This will serve you well if you find it particularly hard to gain traction on Instagram. You may also use it as a research tool, discovering what your customers look for while getting inspiration for your next social campaign.
Vero also fits in well with the growing concern over privacy as users are able to share their content with four different groups—close friends, friends, acquaintances, and followers. This provides a little more control for each user to determine who sees what.
2. TikTok: Short-form video
Previously named Musical.ly, TikTok describes itself as the place to go for short-form videos. The company wants anyone and everyone to become a creator, making it easy for users to shoot and share videos and add stickers, filters, and other effects.
The unpolished look of these videos adds to the platform’s authenticity and appeals to a younger audience.
Why should you take notice of this social channel?
According to new research, the number of active users grew from 100 million to over 130 million toward the end of last year, and the number of U.S. downloads was up 25% (compared to 20% worldwide). It also beat Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube for media app downloads.
Not only does TikTok fill the void left by Vine, another popular video site, but the app also gives marketers the opportunity to create content that younger audiences are keen to engage with. Plus, with a number of deals with big brands—e.g. NBCUniversal and Hearst—in the pipeline, the platform is constantly looking for ways it can generate revenue for its users.
Furthermore, as TikTok makes it easy for you to create and edit your videos, it’s the ideal way to produce snappy pieces of short-form content without having to spend too much time slaving over a video editor.
3. Lasso: Short-form video but from Facebook
Lasso is yet another video-based social media site, but still worth your time, especially when you consider how popular this form of content has become. Plus, Lasso is an offshoot of Facebook and thus a direct competitor of TikTok.
Image Source: Gizmodo
Videos have a 15 second limit on Lasso, and you can add your favorite songs to play in the background.
Is there room for two short-form video apps?
Perhaps. This latest release from Facebook suggests that short-form video dominates the social networking scene, and Facebook sees TikTok as a huge threat. Thus, as a marketer, you may want to play around with both of these sites, hedging your bets until you know which one will become the most popular with your specific audience.
It’s worth noting that Facebook has “cloned” a social site before. Slingshot was created by Facebook in a bid to rival Snapchat. But after just over a year, Slingshot disappeared from the App Store.
Has Facebook learned from its previous mistake? Or is this another knee-jerk reaction to a social media site that could potentially threaten Facebook?
This all remains to be seen.
4. byte: Video looping
Finally, keep your eyes peeled for byte, coming in spring 2019.
This is a video platform with a 6.5-second looping structure and it comes from Dom Hofmann, the founder of Vine.
Even though we’re still waiting for more information on what this app will entail, with Hofmann’s previous experience (and success), perhaps this will be the short-form video platform of 2019.
While there are still strengths within today’s most popular social media channels, it’s clear users are looking for more transparent, personable, and interactive experiences. The new platforms we’ve mentioned, give your customers just that. And they provide a fresh start for their social interactions.
With Facebook plagued with security concerns and Instagram facing criticism over its increasing number of ads and algorithms, users may start exploring new avenues to get their social fix. Being in these new places as your audience starts to explore new network could dramatically improve your social media success in 2019. And you’ll definitely want to produce both long- and short-form videos in the process.
It is important not to spread yourself too thin, though, and carefully select the channels you think will cater to your audience best. But you still might want to reserve your handles on upcoming social sites, just in case they do take off.