In the ever-changing game of social media marketing, staying up to date with the latest trends is crucial to success. So what to expect in 2019?

2018 was an exciting year for social media marketing. Augmented reality, fresh Instagram tools, and many other improvements paved the way for a successful 2019.

Of course, this only applies to those who know how to squeeze all the juice out of them.

If you’re not sure in which direction your social media strategy should go, here are the trends that should be alive and well in the new year.

1. Engagement Will Become Even More Important

Engagement is the holy grail of success on social media. This has been the case for quite some time and isn’t likely to change.

In fact, it’s more important than ever. Today’s marketing content has to be more appealing than ever.

The key is to get the conversation going. To do this, you’ll have to get rid of clickbait and address your audience as if they were your friends.

2. There Will Be More Micro-Influencers

Influencer marketing has become one of the strongest weapons for marketers. Of course, influencers know this and are not afraid to take advantage of it.

Your first instinct might be to spend thousands on influencer marketing. However, you don’t actually have to go for that.

There are micro-influencers that can help you reach your audience without overpaying. Of course, the most important thing here is to find the influencer that your target audience interacts with.

3. AI Will Continue to Improve

People working in customer care may have to think about finding another job. AI is taking over this job description little by little, so it’s only a matter of time before it completely replaces human representatives.

If you’re a business owner, this can be a great opportunity. By adopting AI, you can bring your customer service to a new and more modern level.

Many brands have already adopted AI customer service and the results are more than satisfying. The sooner you start, the longer you’ll enjoy the edge before everyone starts using it.

4. Internet Will Overrun TV for Good

Those who argue that this is already happening definitely aren’t wrong. For quite some time now, TV ads have been among the most costly and lowest return marketing investments for many businesses.

However, this may become official in 2019. People’s time spent online is bound to catch up to TV time, so it might be a smart idea to look outside of TV ads if you haven’t already.

5. Messaging Will Become Huge

Have you ever tried using messaging apps to reach out to your audience?

If not, make it a part of your 2019 social media strategy.

Messaging apps have already surpassed social media platforms in terms of usage. This trend will only keep rising in 2019. Many brands have messaging strategies in place, so make sure you’re not late to the party.

6. Generation Z Will Get More Attention

The generation that was born into tech is becoming a huge focus of marketers. They’re slowly coming into buying power, so targeting them with ads as soon as possible is a must.

This is by no means an easy task. Being so familiar with tech, generation Z is often hard to keep up with. However, if you want to succeed in 2019, this should be among your top priorities.

7. You’ll Have to Tell Even More Stories

Are you using Instagram Stories to showcase your brand?

If not, you’re missing out on 400 million potential customers that are using the feature on a daily basis.

And if you are, you’ll have to step up your game. Successful brands are continuously finding new ways of adding value to their Stories, so you’ll have to do the same.

The good news is, Instagram offers all the support you need. There are a ton of features that let you unleash your creativity, so take advantage of them.

8. Video Content Will Continue to Rule

Nope, people are not into reading ad copy. Instead, they want to see a well-designed video ad that prompts them to share it with their friends.

This is by no means a new trend but its dominance will continue in 2019. If you’ve done a good job at this in the past, it will pay to continue your focus on high-quality videos.

9. Live Videos Will Remain Huge

There’s a good reason why this doesn’t fall under the previous trend. Live videos are different.

Their main purpose is to humanise your brand and let people connect with you in real time. People are as curious as ever about other people’s lives, which is why live videos remain a sure-fire way of getting attention.

10. Vertical Videos Will Take Over

If you rely on Snapchat and Instagram to grow your business, your videos should go vertical. As much as this makes a lot of sense, many brands are still not very good at it.

The mobile viewing experience has changed for the better over the last few years. If you want to make your content more appealing, put it in vertical video mode.

This offers your viewers the convenience they look for and can become a source for all kinds of creative content.

11. More CEOs Will Use Social Media

In the future, executives will need to go far beyond LinkedIn to socialise. This is a fairly fresh trend that’s taking shape as we speak.

By sharing their own lives on social media, these executives can further draw attention to their brand. Some of them are already doing this to amazing results.

The reason is similar to that of live videos. When your audience can see the human behind the brand, they’ll relate to it on a new level.

12. No More Fake Followers

Many people see their social media following as a measure of value. This vanity makes users fake their success by buying followers.

Of course, Instagram is at the centre of this. Thankfully, it has recently announced that it will put an end to this.

It will start removing fake followers and likes so that each user won’t get anything more than they deserve. This will lead to another major change.

13. Quality over Quantity

The obsession with the number of social media followers has been around for too long. But 2019 may be the year when this comes to an end.

Instead of focusing on the number of connections, brands will strive towards improving their quality.

This isn’t to say that the number of followers won’t impact a brand’s reach. It just means that the efforts will move towards creating a smaller number of stronger relationships.

14. Augmented Reality Will Go Mainstream

AR has been in the works for quite some time. Now its full glory is finally seeing the light of day.

Aside from endless entertainment, AR can be an important marketing tool. Combine it with social media and you get a recipe for success in 2019.

It will impact pretty much every aspect of interaction with the brand with a particular focus on customer experience.

If you still haven’t tapped into AR, now’s definitely the right time to do it

15. Channel Selection Will Be More Careful

So far, good social media presence means that you need to be on every platform you can get your hands on.

Now that the market is segmenting more than ever, this may not be the case anymore. The current goal is to focus on the platforms that your audience spends the most time on. More often than not, this means you may not have to have a presence on all of them.

For example, Pinterest has always been the leader in DIY content. If this is the direction of your business, Facebook might not be worth your time.

16. Social Media Platforms Will Offer More Sales Opportunities

Businesses have been using social media for brand awareness. But recently social media platforms have started serving an even more important goal – generating sales.

Instagram is the perfect example. In 2018, we’ve seen a lot of features that enable sales, such as clickable shop buttons.

In 2019, this trend will only expand. Social media won’t just serve the purpose of raising awareness but help businesses sell more as well.

17. Podcasts Will Grab More Attention

Recently, successful brands found a new audience segment: podcast listeners.

Who would want to listen to a 20-minute ad? The answer turns out to be many people, provided that the content is good.

Better yet, around 75% of them take action after listening to a podcast. If you can come up with engaging content, podcasts might become a very valuable tool.

18. Ad Spend Will Keep Increasing

Aside from organic traffic, many brands rely on sponsored ads to succeed on social media. Naturally, the cost of paid promotion is on the rise.

This is likely to stay the course in 2019, as Instagram’s popularity doesn’t seem to wane.

Does this mean you’ll have to spend a ton of money to get your message across?

Not necessarily. Remember that the key to social media success is a balancing act between organic and paid traffic.

19. Social Media Will See More Integration

You know how all sorts of websites and services allow you to log in via Facebook and other social networks? Yeah, that’s not going away anytime soon.

In fact, you can expect even more so in the future.

As social media use continues to go up, pretty much everyone that wants to succeed will have to succumb to their influence. For this reason, more and more sites and platforms will have to offer social media integration.

20. User-Generated Content Will Become Even More Important

Regardless of their creativity, marketers will run out of ideas at one point or another. So what happens then?

User-generated content can be just the saviour. What’s more, it’s often authentic and personal, which is something that every brand should strive to be.

In 2019, user-generated content will definitely keep its place as one of the most important parts of a good social media strategy.

The Final Word

Jumping on some or all of the trends above should set you up for a successful 2019. Bear in mind that recognising a trend is just the starting point. You still have to take advantage of them to come out ahead.

At CUB, our ambition is to unite those who are changing the world through their businesses. We support these people by building a private community of Australia’s next titans of industry. And we bring these titans together to accelerate the achievement of each other’s ambitions.

If you wish to be considered for membership, please feel free to request a club introduction on our membership page: www.cub.club/membership