The world of social media is rapidly changing, expanding and taking the world by storm. It’s the ultimate platform for brands to turn to for advertisement and reaching their target audience, so they need to get it right. Ensuring your brand is on the correct platform and using that platform correctly is SO important. What you say on Instagram may not work on Twitter!
In this post, I will run through the top trends for social media this year. Some are already well known, growing slowly but surely. Others are huge and are set to get bigger and better in 2019.
Here are the key trends to watch out for this year to keep your brand on point:
Put a face behind your brand. Yes, personal branding is essential this year on social media! Putting a face behind your brand increases brand trust and loyalty. You are your brand – show your face in videos; behind the scenes clips of your studio; introduce all the people that work behind the business. This is really important if you are a smaller company as it will bring this human element to your brand that will help your consumers connect and build a brand relationship. The internet is a huge place with a lot of businesses hiding behind their website and logos which is robotic to us as consumers and something we can’t relate too. If you can bring a personal element outside of your business it will really help your brand reputation.
There are a variety of ways to do this – behind the scenes clips on stories, introducing an employee each week as social content, blogging, going live in studio interviews, podcasts, selfies, videos, webinars… the list goes on!
Social media allows you to share your story and for a brand this can be a really cool way to build consumer engagement and relationships. People want to see what their favourite brands are doing. Share everything – the silly mistakes in the studio to behind the scenes of your photo shoot for a new collection. Whatever it is, create a story and tell your consumers.
Social platforms are allowing us to share stories easier now than ever with the new story feature on Instagram, Facebook and apps like SnapChat. We no longer have to upload a still image with a caption to explain what’s going on, the apps have now embraced this trend and allow us to instant videos on the go.
Moving away from text-based platforms, social media is now creating this ́in the moment ́ feature. With the stories disappearing after 24 hours, it allows users to be more creative and fun.
As a business, jump on this trend and use it to your advantage.
- Share story relative content
- Use the story highlight feature on Instagram so consumers can watch back at moments they love
- Utilise all features including polls, ask a question or GIFs to make your story fun and interactive
- Use Facebook stories as well as Instagram
- Share exclusive codes on stories so only the people interacting know
- Use the Swipe Up feature to take followers from your story to your site
Businesses humanise their brands to gain back trust.
This relates back to our first point. The past year has been unstable for consumers trusting brands. People no longer trust companies on social media due to the amount of fake accounts, fake endorsements and fake followings. This poses opportunities and threats for brands on social platforms. Brands can take this as an opportunity to build back relationships and utilize it to their advantage. Trust has reverted back to asking friends, families and aquantincies for recommendations on products or services.
Users don’t know what is real and what is not on social media anymore. Companies aren’t helping this when they pay for people to tell their following something, even if they don’t believe it. Now, brands must tell followers when the post has been paid for by using the hashtag – #Ad. This will help consumers see through paid adverts and then it is up to them whether they want to buy into it or not. However, be careful of bombarding followers with paid adverts as this will just become annoying and distrustful for consumers.
Here are some ideas to rebuild trust on social media.
- Customer selfies
- There is no better advertisement than free advertisement! Ask your customers to take pictures of themselves with your product, wearing your product or at your venue. If you ask them to tag you then in return they will be featured on your socials. This shows your following people who genuinely enjoy your product or service.
- Micro-influencers are taking over from celebrity endorsements. Instead of going for the number of followers, look for influencers who have higher engagement. Using micro-influencers with a smaller audience but an audience who engages with them and trusts them will get better results for your brand. They are more affordable, trustworthy and drive better engagement.
- Customer selfies
- Go Live & Run Q&As
- In order to build trust with your following, you must regularly communicate with them. Maybe have a look at what consumers are asking about your brand on comments or private messages and address these questions in a Facebook or Instagram Live. This shows you are being proactive, addressing problems and replying to customers in person rather than over a keyboard. This will build brand trust and loyalty.
2019 is the year of instant gratification.
We now live in an instant generation. We want instant communication, instant information, instant replies with instant answers. We hate waiting. No one wants an email address where they might never get a reply or have to wait for the ever dreaded 5-7 days. For brands seeking a competitive place in the market, adopting technology that adapts and empowers this fast-paced generation will increase engagement and reduce costs.
Become convenient, become a brand who is easy to talk too. Remember, there is no longer a 9-5 world. One of the biggest trends for 2019 is 24/7 communication and support for consumers. Ensuring you reply to Instagram messages, Facebook messages and the rest is crucial.
Social media never sleeps. People interacting with your brand have different jobs or may be on different time zones, ensuring someone is there at all points in the day is really important. One way to help this is enabling Facebook Messenger for your Facebook Page as this will allow consumers to have easy contact with you. It makes the chat more informal which will develop a relationship with the consumer. Once you have set this up, set up an instant reply to consumers. This can be a short greeting or give them information about the business like opening times.
Shop on Social Media
Improved social media applications allow for users to shop through their pages.
In 2017, Instagram launched the shoppable feature to their application, allowing a small number of companies to tag products in their posts. In 2018, they launched this in more countries, to more businesses and to Instagram Bloggers and Influencers enabling them to tag the products they are wearing. This allows people to checkout without actually leaving the app. If you have an online store or are advertising products through your Instagram, this is the one for you. This allows you to turn your Instagram account into a visual store and again is meeting this need for instant gratification. See now, buy now! You simply upload a picture of the product, tag the product and wait for the results. The consumer will see your picture, hover over it until the tagged link appears and it will take them straight to the checkout to buy that product there and then. Now that is definitely instant gratification for you.
Another Instagram feature to use is the Swipe Up feature on the story. You can upload a story with the product you are trying to sell, add in the Swipe Up function with the according link to that product and it allows people to be taken straight to that page to make the purchase.
There is also now a Marketplace on Facebook and people are also now using Pinterest to shop for products. Consider using these two applications if it is suitable for your brand, implement it into your strategy and watch your sales boom.
Remember these apps are no longer there to inspire the users, they are now turning into full blown shoppable applications and becoming a huge part of the company’s marketing strategies. Don’t miss out on any trends, when you fall behind so will your following. It’s important to keep up to date and know the latest features on social media.