The findings come from Hootsuite, released its Social Trends 2019 report. The company’s third annual report on global trends in social media reveals the biggest opportunities that should be keeping executives, marketers, customer experience leaders, and social media professionals awake at night as the trends to seize in the coming year.
“In many ways 2018 was a tumultuous year for social media,” says Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson. “Concerns around privacy have led social media users to more private channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat, creating unique opportunities for businesses to develop 1:1 relationships with customers, particularly as those customers increasingly prefer messaging for interactions like support.”
Video, like that posted via Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook Stories, have enabled individuals to engage followers in more compelling ‘storyliving’ versus traditional ‘storytelling’. This opens the doors for brands to share more human stories of their own that are important, interesting, and timely to their audiences.
The slow down in organic reach in 2018 required brands to dive deeper into paid social to get their messages across. But increased competition there now requires those same brands to take a different approach in the coming year.
And ecommerce is emerging directly in social channels to complete the last mile of the buyer’s journey online. This adds to the comfort and convenience of individuals already using social to connect with brands, conduct research, seek recommendations, and get support.
“Combined, these trends represent tremendous new opportunities for brands to establish deeper, more authentic, and longer-lasting connections with customers in 2019 and beyond,” adds Wilson.
Hootsuite’s 2019 Social Trends for businesses large and small to seize include:
- Rebuilding Trust: Customers are increasingly aware of who they are interacting with on social and what data they are sharing. Consequently, brands should be shifting their strategies to develop more relevant content that is both timely for the individual and authentic and genuine to the brand.
- Messaging Eats the World: The top 4 messaging apps now count nearly 5 billion monthly active users, meaning messaging engagement is quickly eclipsing the more traditional social networks. And as we head into 2019, 69 percent of customers say that directly messaging a company helps them feel more confident about the brand.
- Storifying Social: Stories are now growing 15 times faster than feed-based sharing, and for brands, this requires a major shift in focus in 2019. Content teams must now adapt as stories offer new formats for sharing, and for purchasing.
- Closing the Ads Gap: More competition on paid social is forcing marketers to “up” their game. At the end of the day, brands who respect and engage with their customers as individuals and use relevant content to add value to their audiences will see the real return.
- Cracking the Commerce Code: Finding ways to make shopping live, interactive and seamless – especially on mobile devices is key. In 2019 the most successful brands will go the extra mile to show customers how products and services can fit into the context of their lives.
Conducted in the third quarter of 2018, Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2019 report is based on a survey of more than 3,250 small to large Hootsuite business customers and interviews with industry specialists. The research report includes not only the trends, but also Hootsuite’s recommendations for seizing the opportunities that the trends represent, along with comprehensive examples of best-in-class brands getting it right. Hootsuite’s 2019 Social Trends report can be found here.