2019 Social Media Predictions from 8 Experts

Out with the old, and in with the new. We're ringing in the New Year with 5 social media predictions.

Social media doesn’t stop changing, ebbing, flowing, evolving. As is common in this day in age, there’s always something bigger and better around the corner. The hardest part, sometimes, is getting in front of those changes. What if we had social media predictions to go off of? Well look at that; we do!

There are a lot of social media predictions out there, so I gathered them up, found consistencies, matched them up with stats, and shaped them into something you can take as you start thinking about your 2019 social media strategy. 

Before we get started, let’s just take a look at which social channels seem to be thriving. Keep in mind that most of these stats have inflated since this graph was formed, but the order of popularity should be the same.

Popularity of Various Social Media Channels

social media predictions Pew Research graph showing the social networks most people use

Here’s the order from the most to least used:

YouTube:

This is a place for us to find the answer to anything in a video form. Kids use it to squelch boredom, and adults use it to figure out how to put things together, cook their next dinner, or… maybe to squelch boredom, too!

Facebook:

What can you say about Facebook at this point? Facebook has users of all ages, and has been the leader of all social networks. It’s an empire, and that’s even further shown by its purchase of Instagram.

Instagram:

It comes as no surprise that Instagram has risen so high in the line-up of social network popularity. Many folks would even count it second to Facebook in terms of social platforms marketers should adopt. Lastly, it is multi-faceted with its IGTV, Stories, Live Stories and feed functions.

Pinterest:

It’s not as social as the other networks, but Pinterest–much like YouTube– sure does have its deep need, even if more on an individual level.

Snapchat:

Instagram took much of the fire from Snapchat, but Snapchat still has its place; namely for the younger crowd.

LinkedIn:

While not as fun as some of the other channels, LinkedIn has its place, as well! Whether you’re trying to come across as professional, prepared and skilled to your next prospective employer, or trying to connect with other folks in your industry, this is the social network to hang out in.

Twitter:

This longstanding channel is still hanging in there, with perhaps the highest value being for companies providing customer support and customers needing that support.

WhatsApp:

With free international calling and the increase in social support abilities for companies, WhatsApp is on the rise!

So, keeping in mind our most popular platforms, what are the social media predictions for 2019?

2019 Social Media Predictions: Video

Not too long ago, we shared social media tips from the Marketing team at Buffer. Video was a strong component of their advice, and it looks like video’s not going away anytime soon.

Let’s talk about how video came through in the 2019 social media predictions.

Live video

Between Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and even YouTube Live, we’ve only seen growth in this industry of live social media broadcasting, and this was one of the social media predictions that several sources agreed with.

Video as a social media marketing strategy is still on fire! We'll see it thrive in 2019, along with these 4 other trends. Click To Tweet

In fact, algorithms suggest that live video increases organic reach. Facebook mentioned that in addition to the algorithm helping, people just love to interact with live video. In one of their Newsroom updates, they mentioned that “live videos on average receive 6 times more interactions as regular videos.” That’s huge!

With that knowledge, it’s not surprising to see that Facebook is the top network for small businesses to post social video content.

a graph from Buffer's State of Social Report, 2018, showing which platforms people share video on most: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Other, and Snapchat
via Buffer’s State of Social Report, 2018

Video to sell

If you’ve taken a gander at Facebook ads in your News Feed, you’ll notice that videos are strong in the sales space. In an instant, a video can give you a concept of what you do, how you do it, and the benefit I will get by using your product or service.

Knowing that, can you believe these results? Only 44% of small businesses surveyed by Statista in their March 2018 report are using video in their strategy on social media.

Statista, Types of content posted on social media by small businesses in the United States as of March 2018

So, now we know that not even half of marketers share video content. For the 44% that do, it looks like most are producing it on a monthly basis, with only 6% posting video daily, according the results of Buffer’s State of Social report. (Is your heart palpitating thinking about posting video daily?!)

Why is that, though? If we all know the benefit of using video within our social media strategies, why aren’t we using it more? Reading further into Buffer’s State of Social report gives us a clue.

If you own a small business, it’s likely no surprise to you that most folks are deterred from video creation due to their lack of time and budget.

There are ways to get around these challenges!

Here, in our post about How to Master Social Media Video, we share many video creation ideas, as well as ways to overcome some of the mental blocks.

Going into a new year (or even a just a new month), you also have a really amazing opportunity to refactor your time management. If you believe videos will increase your company’s success, taking bites out of your schedule to create them is the least you can do.

Once you’ve created several, you’ll find that videos don’t have to take a lot of time or money. They’ll just become part of your normal weekly routine, and you can then enjoy the benefits of that consistency.

Storytelling

Storytelling, which has been popular since the days of our first ancestors, is still one of the most compelling formats for entertainment. That’s why it’s included in our 2019 social media predictions.

While popular, a storytelling video can take a little more creativity to generate, as it needs to be fluid and comprehensive.

In this Forbes article by Kimberly A. Whitler, James Warren, the CEO of Share More Stories, lists some reasons for using the storytelling format in marketing:

  1. Storytelling is a fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger, deeper connections.
  2. It’s a powerful method for learning.
  3.  Storytelling isn’t just a creative approach to marketing. It gives your consumers a totally different entry to your brand.

Thinking deeper about video

Surely it feels like a big jump to start filming video. There are a few things to remember when you start (for more, visit our post here):

  • You don’t need a fancy camera; your mobile device will be divine;
  • Have a sturdy place to prop your camera, be it a small, inexpensive tripod like this one, the top-of-the-line tripod, or just a pile of books;
  • We’re in a time where supremely produced videos aren’t all the rage. Authenticity and “off-the-cuff” videos (with a well-thought-out point, of course) really rule the roost right now.

One last video-related graph for you…

Video is fourth on the list of content companies share on social media, which means there’s a really great opening for you to snag some views. Video has yet to saturate the market, but if you don’t jump into it now, the train could set-off without you.

If you have any questions or thoughts about video creation, please comment below, and let’s chat through them together!

2019 Social Media Predictions: Artificial Intelligence

Before knowing too much about the depth of what Artificial Intelligence (or, AI) can provide us, it can seem really scary.

Will machines take over the world soon?

Can Rosie the Robot perform better at my job than I can, leaving me without a career?!

Well, I don’t think we need to go that far just yet. In fact, Artificial Intelligence is a lot less scary than most folks initially thought it would be. We’re not talking about removing all human touch and replacing it with more productive, yet heartless, bots.

Instead, this one of the 2019 social media predictions leans into letting bots assist us to be more efficient in our jobs.

Let’s talk about some of the ways we already use Artificial Intelligence.

  • Talk-to-text
  • Facebook’s auto-tag feature
  • Social media algorithms that provide content curation (say, in the Instagram news feed) based on what your interests are
  • iPhone’s Siri, Google Home, or Amazon’s Echo
  • Support prediction bots, like Solvvy
  • Lead nurturing bots, like LivePerson and Drift
  • Chatbots, like the one who popped into a conversation I started with one of my favorite shoe companies:

But, before really jumping head-first into the Artificial Intelligence sphere, we do need to think through what feels right and what doesn’t.

Judging by a mid-2018 Pew Research Center survey, folks are split on whether or not businesses should use bots. It’s easy to click “Not acceptable” in a survey when you’re thinking about wanting the most personalized service. However, when it comes down to it, don’t we also want the quickest service? If bots are able to help us quicker than, and nearly as accurate as their human counterparts, I think we’d all be happy to give them a shot!

social media predictions Pew Research graph

It’s time to at least explore your Artificial Intelligence opportunities. Convenient for you, they’ll continue to pop up in our social networks, which means you won’t have to do too much digging to find them.

2019 Social Media Predictions: Augmented Reality

Although it sounds a bit space-like and still quite foreign to many of us, Augmented Reality (or, AR), is already used in apps like Pokémon Go, Snow and RoOomy.

social media predictions Buffer's gif of Augmented Reality on social media
via Buffer

Do you know that Amazon has its own Augmented Reality function, allowing you to place vases on tables, chairs on floors, and even clothes on yourself? You can check it out here.

Chances are you didn't know that Amazon has Augmented Reality built-in for you to try clothes on, and see decor within your home before placing your purchase. There's more to come in AR! Click To Tweet

What can we expect from Augmented Reality in 2019, and why is it part of our social media predictions? Well, according to Digi-Capital–quoted in this TechCrunch article–Augmented Reality is really just ramping up in 2019 with a continued trend upward in the years to come.

Next year, keep a close eye on apps like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and more to get in on the first level when they start introducing Augmented Reality capabilities for users like yourself, namely via ads and videos.

2019 Social Media Predictions: Social data and privacy

Remember the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal? And, how could you have missed the huge data breach that caused the break-up of Google with their Google+ platform?

These are two of the most publicized data upsets this year.

So, what will happen in 2019 to change that, and why is this part of our 2019 social media predictions?

Fake news regulation

Ever since the 2016 United States presidential election, there’s been whispering– ok, shouting; very loud shouting– about fake news having infiltrated the social media feeds of our voters, causing them to believe falsities.

Even two years later, in 2018, more news articles were released to further support this theory.

Also during 2018, Facebook inhibited the ability to alter link preview title, description or images. This was to further support their commitment to combat fake news and click bait.

In Facebook’s words:

As part of our continuing efforts to stop the spread of misinformation and false news on our platform, we’re removing the ability for any Page to edit how a link appears on Facebook. By removing the ability to alter link metadata (i.e. headline, description, image) from all link sharing entry points on Facebook, we are eliminating a channel that has been abused to post false news. Our blog post has more information.

The train won’t stop there, however. As we continue to get closer to another United States election, chances are that we’ll see more efforts across the board to combat Internet bullies from spreading falsities.

Customer data security

In 2018, many of us experienced the start of this big jump into a strong mindset around data security with the study and work to be in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We even wrote a whole post around our privacy policy and GDPR compliance here.

That mindset is expected to grow stronger in 2019, which is why it’s one of our 2019 social media predictions.

Around the same time GDPR was put into effect, Facebook announced that they’ll be cracking down on their policies around Custom Audiences (the ability to import contacts into Facebook for the purposes of ad targeting.)

Facebook also took a big leap and said they’ll limit outsourcing data aggregation from companies like Experian and Acxiom. These third parties aid targeting for companies like yours who would like to target certain purchasing behavior or other off-Facebook data.

While some of this is a pain for those used to the allowances of such services, it’s good to keep in mind that this could really just be the beginning.

You might not have seen a huge impact come your way thus far, but chances are we’ll see more data regulation down the road, and likely more court cases open up around this topic.

2019 Social Media Predictions: Social’s impact is only growing

Company Executives will be on social more

It’s always interesting to see companies start coming around to marketing on social media. While it’s much more common nowadays that a social strategy is a “no-brainer” for companies, it hasn’t always been that way. I’d venture to say that some are still lagging here, as well!

Between the marketing benefits (dare I say, necessity?) and the listening capabilities (what are people saying about my brand?), CEOs and other execs have more than enough reason to climb aboard.

However, we’ve also seen the importance of employee advocacy and great internal representation. If the leader of the company isn’t on social, how can they spearhead this endeavor for their companies?

This is exactly why some speculate that more Corporate-folk will pop into social. While the need has always been there, the news about the need hasn’t always been as widespread as it is now.

Instagram growing tremendously

Being a social media advisor, it’s not rare that I hear business owners ask which social networks they should spend time on. While Instagram isn’t a shoo-in for all industries (perhaps due to visuals not being at the forefront of what they do), it certainly has proven to be one of the most newly adopted platforms. In my experience, it’s second to Facebook as far as social networks that business owners feel the urgency to adopt.

You’ll find that trend shown in the chart below. In 2018, Instagram hit over 1 billion users, clearly resonating with social marketers and perusers new and old.

a chart of Instagram's users going from 1 million to 1 billion over the years
via TechCrunch

Leaning into 2019 social media predictions, eMarketer has one of their own. Judging by their projections, Instagram could be the powerhouse half of the Facebook ↔️ Instagram partnership.

“Facebook’s user growth rate in the US has slowed down, and is now about the same as that of internet users, while News Feed ad prices may be reaching their limit,” said Monica Peart, eMarketer’s senior forecasting director. “Meanwhile, Instagram—with its rapidly increasing advertiser base—will quickly become the engine that drives growth for the company overall.”

If you aren’t on Instagram, don’t feel like you have to run over and blindly start a strategy there. Instead, I encourage you to simply create an account; take your time to look around, learn, experience what you enjoy and what you don’t; and then step into action when the time feels right.

Social e-commerce

Technotification and Hootsuite agree that e-commerce is headed more strongly into social. That means there will be quicker action from seeing a product you love on [insert your favorite social network here] to picking it up from your doorstep.

It also means that we might see a bit more concerns around data security, as for social networks to have our financial information means a bit more vulnerability for us as users.

In the end, we’ll need to see a fine balance between security and functionality in order for this prediction to really flourish.

What does it all mean for small businesses?

Phew! Those are enough social media predictions to chew on for now. You might have noticed that some of them are good-to-knows, and others are ones you can take action on.

To make things a bit easier on you, I’ll list some potential action items here.

  • Explore video a bit deeper (whatever “deeper” means to you in your journey today). This could motivate you to post video more often, or perhaps experiment with different methods. It’s all up to your creativity!
  • Play with artificial intelligence and what it can do for your business. If you offer customer support, learn more about chat bots. If you’re hoping to capture leads, find a platform to help you reach out to your website visitors.
  • Think about Instagram. It’s a little much to say that everyone needs to be on Instagram. However, it’s important to know your options. If you haven’t already, take a gander at Instagram. If you have already been on the platform, explore components of it that you haven’t already: hashtag searches, IGTV, Stories, ads, or other!

Whatever you choose, we’d love to hear about it! Chat with us below. ?


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