13 February 2019
Such is the speed of digital and social media marketing, that new trends crop up every week and it’s very hard to keep up. We asked our digital division to identify the 5 trends that they think will stand the test of time in the next 12 months.
Here’s what they said.
1. Facebook pages vs Groups
2018 saw Facebook become more commercialised than ever before to the point where brands should no longer be considering it as a community-based platform but as an advertising space. Earlier this year Facebook announced that the organic reach of brand posts would be dramatically reduced, instead favouring posts that encourage meaningful interactions between people. The difference between groups and pages is that groups allow brands to play a little more ‘hard to get’, meaning that fans have to request to be part of the group. Whilst groups are nothing new they are having a bit of a renaissance with Facebook group membership going up by 40% over the last year, but why? Simply put, 2018 saw a crisis of faith for many social media users and groups bring Facebook back to what we previously loved about it – a safe space to be yourself. If brands can learn to utilise groups and be brave enough to take a back seat in the conversations and let relevant audiences steer the content focus, we may just be able to capture some of that original magic.
2. Ephemeral content to take the lead
Audiences no longer sit back and passively watch content flash across their screens, they want to get involved both with shared content and through co-creating their own. The story feature has risen in popularity throughout 2018 with Instagram stories reaching over 400 million daily users alone and Facebook are even claiming that the stories format will take over in feed posting in terms of popularity. As such brands need to be paying special attention to more in-the-moment content, that is short and to the point allowing followers to feel closer and more involved with the brand in question. We need to be considering how we use stories to connect with audiences, rather than curating content to simply push out key messages – social media needs to provide a two way street. The key is to test and learn, new tactics and formats are being brought to Stories daily and as the content only last 24 hours it provides the perfect opportunity for brands to really learn what makes their consumers tick.
3. The rise of AI
2018 saw an increased use of bots and automated messaging being used for customer service by many brands. Whilst not everyone was convinced that this was the best approach initially we have seen adoption rates increase thanks to the enhanced intelligence and programming of the latest bot experiences. Brands can set up messaging that keeps their customers satisfied while they’re also saving time in repeatedly answering the same questions. 2019 will bring an improved adoption of AI as part of social customer service, brands should consider using this where possible to make moderation time more efficient allowing additional resource to go into community management.
4. Social commerce will continue to grow
We are increasingly reminding brands that their social news feeds should be considered as virtual shop windows, with one in four people having purchased a product or service via social media. In 2018 it is estimated that the top 500 retailers earned an estimated $6.5 billion from social shopping, up 24% from 2016. It is no surprise that both brands and social networks are investing in creating more seamless shopping experiences for social media users. In 2018, Instagram extended its shopping adding a dedicated shopping feed in Search & Explore and shoppable tags to posts and stories. Advertisers on the social network can now tag up to 5 products per post and 1 product per story. Users that click on a tag are able to view a product image, a product description, the price of the product and a link to where the product can be purchased. In 2019 we need to be looking at how to change user behaviour from clicking to ‘like’ to clicking to ‘buy’.
5. Live video
Live video isn’t new but as video is ever evolving we predict that it isn’t a trend that is going away anytime soon. Ok, so this has probably been on every social media trends list for the last few years! However, based on the huge number of video-based social media features released this year, we anticipate live video to be a trend that won’t disappear anytime soon. In a recent report by Livestream, they reported that 80% of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog. Live video can be inexpensive especially if we consider a trend previously mentioned around in the moment content, we aren’t talking high production values here. It is also prioritised by Facebook’s algorithm and therefore allows brands to reach more people organically than a traditional video post.