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Social Media in 2019

We all know by now just how integrated social media is in our everyday lives and the role this can have on a business strategy. If you’re not utilising social media for your business than your missing out on a vital communication tool that not only connects you globally but the statistics are overwhelming:
  • The number of internet users worldwide in 2018 is 4.021 billion, up 7 percent year-on-year
  • The number of social media users worldwide in 2018 is 3.196 billion, up 13 percent year-on-year
  • The number of mobile phone users in 2018 is 5.135 billion, up 4 percent year-on-year
But, social media is constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up. So we’re going to break down the top ten social media marketing trends of 2019 that are completely changing how we look at social media.
 
Social Media Will Continue to Integrate Into Other Services
Social media companies will continue to integrate their services into third-party applications. For example, how Facebook and LinkedIn allow users to sign up for third-party services with their accounts and share data with third-party services.
 
Good news is that this appears to be unaffected by the GDPR changes as when signing upon sharing data with these services the user has to explicitly agree to share the date and it lists what kind of data will be shared. Because of this we expect this trend to continue and for social platforms to become even more integrated with other services to provide a more seamless experience across third-party apps.
 
Social Media Influencers
Many social media influencers in todays world have more followers than small nations and this just continues to grow. So using social media influencers isn’t exactly a new trend or strategy but it’s importance in digital advertising is continuing to grow.
 
In the past brands have had influencers openly endorse products, think Maybelline, Loreal and Gilette. However consumers are more aware of this now and are less receptive. This therefore calls for a more subtle approach- enter the influencers. Brands are developing long-term relationships with influencers that allow for both parties to grow together to produce more organic endorsements.This is being seen a lot with sports brands like Gymshark with Chanel Brown or Protein World with Stefanie Williams. These type of relationships also help prevent the influencers from ‘jumping ship’ as this would work to destroy the authenticity that they worked hard to build.
 
Live Video and Story Sharing
Geo-located video discovery and sharing, storytelling in micro-moments continues to be on the rise. Live video is more appealing to brand audiences and the vast majority would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog or view social posts.
By 2019, video will make up an astounding 80 percent of all internet traffic- likely due to the rise of streaming services like Netflix in 2016.The trend continues to transcend into social media with over 65% of ad impressions on Instagram resulting from video content. 
 
Augmented Reality
We have seen AR being implemented in small way with the use of Snapchat’s and Instagram’s facial, background and Geofilters. It’s leaving such a significant impact that it’s estimated that the augmented reality and virtual reality markets will surpass $298 billion by 2023.
 
Focus on Generation Z
Generation Z, the age group that followed millennials stemming from mid-90s to mid 2000s is now in or starting to enter the workforce and as such they have money to spend. Companies are starting to target this generation early, which is a smart foward-thinking move.
 
Retailers are opening more pop-up stores and hosting events that offer more intimate, personalised customer experiences, which will continue to be a major business trend for years to come. Pop-up stores and events are so popular because they’re unique and are designed with the intention of being shared on social media. As Generation Z was born surrounded by technology, they are a natural fit for social media marketing and vice versa.
 
Snack Ads
‘Snack ads’, are short videos less than 10 seconds long. As a result of an abundance of video content we are developing much shorter attention spans so it is becoming difficult for brands to produce videos that keep consumers engaged. So say hello to “Snack Ads”!
 
Youtube has already started using snack ads and we can expect to see shorter ads being used by more brands in the near future, to try keep their audience interested.
 
Chatbots
If you shop or use services online you may have used a customer support live chat service, and you’ve probably experienced a sneaking suspicion that the person you’re chatting with might actually be a robot. Chatbots are on the rise, taking over customer service for many brands. By 2020 85% of customer interactions are predicted to be dealt with by chatbots.
 
Some are hesitant of integrating chatbots into their customer service out of fear of poor user experience. But if you’re wondering today whether or not your business should create a bot, you’re asking the wrong question. A recent survey revealed that 70% of consumers reported a positive experience.
 
Not only are bots an effective way of mass communication, they also allow for a 24/7 two-way communication channel between your audience and the company. Which on top of boosting customer satisfaction, will also boost your response rate on Facebook — improving SEO and the likelihood of your brand being recommended.
 
We also expect chatbots to continue growing in 2019—and they’ll likely see become more “normal” in the eyes of online users. In other words: the novelty will fade but we will see them become more widespread and usable. We expect chatbots to be the first place someone goes to order a pizza, choose a mobile plan, or even book a hotel room.
 
Content Clusters for improving SEO
Search engines have recently changed their algorithms, instead of favoring keywords they now show preference to clusters of content around particular topics to help improve the user experience.
 
This process works by grouping similar content together so your content stands out (i.e., think forest for the trees). More specifically, a topic cluster is a series of topically related content intended to build authority and influence in the eyes of search engines and visitors
 
The content cluster is made up of; a pillar (page broadly outlining a topic), clusters (specific topic related page). The pillar links to each of these cluster pages, and each cluster page links back to the pillar with the same hyperlinked keyword. This means when one page performs well the entire cluster will get a boost.
 
Topic clusters signal to search engines that you are an expert within the category, as such you are more likely to have the top spot.
 
The Social CEO
In an era of fake news, it’s important for CEOs and other top executives to be social. This boosts the company’s reputation, helps build trust with users, and even makes the company more appealing to job applicants.
 
According to Forbes 60% of CEOs aren’t active on social media with fewer than 12 percent being active on more than one channel. However, we expect this number to grow as distrust in the media continues, making people want to hear news right from the source. 
 
The Melia Hotel’s International CEO Gabriel Escarrer Jaume has already bought into this strategy by developing an online presence and allowing staff and customers to ask questions via Twitter.
 
User-generated Content
User-generated content is content created by unpaid fans of businesses that businesses can use to promote their products. Blog providers such as Wix have already launched a New Blog that utilises this by allowing users to become members and contribute to content. As you can probably guess this leads to a better, overall customer experience by getting the customers involved with the business marketing strategy.
 
Word-of-mouth referrals still play a significant role in this technology-driven market. People no longer respond to simple marketing tactics anymore by telling them they need a product. They want a story behind the product and see products being used in real life situations. User-generated content personalises products in ways businesses simply can’t.
 
 
The Final Say
Social media marketing trends are all catered to personalising the customer experience by putting the user in charge. Through social media, businesses can connect with their customers quickly and personally to help generate more revenue.

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