The social media landscape changes faster than we can say tequila & timelines, and companies are scrambling to stay-up-to-date with evolving trends. With the rise and fall of various social media platforms and the evolution of social media as a marketing tool, predicting what will be effective in the coming year can be difficult. As OTM’s social media apprentice, I’m constantly trying to understand and predict social trends. As a millennial, I’m perpetually glued to my phone, which is a good thing in my profession because it allows me to keep my eye on the newest trends.

I’ve enlisted the help of our Chief Strategy Officer, Kerrie, our Account Director, Rachel, and our Digital Strategy Director, Stacia, to help me (and you) understand the upcoming social media trends of 2019.

Q: What can we expect for social media trends this year?

Kerrie: I think we’re going to start to see influencer fatigue in 2019. Users are wising up and looking for more authentic content. With documentaries such as Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” and Netflix’s “The American Meme,” it’s becoming apparent that the influence social media has in today’s culture is problematic. I think we’re going to see a shift in user behavior that we haven’t seen before.
Rachel: I think that Instagram will continue to take the lead over Facebook and Snapchat. I would predict that Instagram rolls out a new feature. People are used to and liking the story feature but there always needs to be something new to keep people coming back.
Stacia: I agree with Kerrie. Every year we are seeing users become savvier and with that comes the need or desire for businesses to be transparent. I think we’ll see more and more content be organically uploaded in a way that personalizes and humanizes brands. I also believe that more and more businesses will start to advertise on social. With the organic reach of business content declining, businesses will need to invest to stay top of mind. Luckily, social media campaigns do not have to break the bank.

Q: How should businesses use social to supplement their marketing strategy in 2019?

Kerrie: Social is and will continue to be a major part of marketing in 2019, however businesses need to be conscientious in how they’re leveraging these channels. Users are going to focus on filtering out the content that they don’t want to see, so brands need to figure out how to be relevant and engaging and that starts at the core of the brand’s mission and message rather than what they’re posting on social media.
Rachel: It’s an important part of marketing and budget needs to be allocated to it. The combination of organic and paid social will complement other efforts companies are making.
Stacia: It’s important to set realistic goals, especially when it comes to social media. Social is probably the hardest channel to prove ROI, so it’s important to create goals, benchmark your current data and build a budget.

Q: What platforms will be dominant in 2019?

Kerrie: I think we’re going to continue to see Instagram dominate the social space – primarily because I don’t think we’re going to see the importance of visuals decline any time soon.
Rachel: Instagram for sure!
Stacia: Instagram. Users are not shy about following businesses on Instagram, in fact 80% of people follow at least one business. The big thing about Instagram is that it’s a mobile app, and everyone is on their phones, all the time. According to Hootsuite, 60% of users discover new products on Instagram and 70% of users take action. If you’ve got a product, you need to be on Instagram.

Q: Which platforms will be less effective this year?

Kerrie: I think that we’re going to see some dramatic shifts in the way that people use Facebook, especially seeing that we have another Presidential Election coming up in 2020. Things are going to get very interesting and social media is going to be a scrutinized tool during that campaign season.
Rachel: Snapchat will become very irrelevant and Facebook will decline in the millennial demographic even further.
Stacia: Facebook.

Q: How powerful has social media become within the marketing industry over the past few years?

Kerrie: I think it’s safe to say that social media has become a primary – and scary – part of the way everyone communicates and that has trickled down into every industry.
Rachel: It has become a very real part of marketing that can not be ignored. Businesses without strong social presences are immediately viewed as illegitimate or behind the times.
Stacia: No matter what type of business you run, your customers are likely on social media. Like Kerrie mentioned, it’s become the primary way that people communicate. Social media and technology have really allowed marketers to expand their reach well beyond your typical local channels. There is a lot of fluff on social media, but I think (for the most part), it has forced businesses to think about the content they are sharing. Social media helps us as marketers tell a business’s story and reach new customers.

So there you have it, folks. Social media will continue to be an invaluable resource to business’s marketing strategies throughout 2019. Instagram will continue it’s reign as the most effective social media platform and having an online presence, in general, will be crucial for brand awareness. I’m excited to see what new trends will surface this year and how they will alter the marketing landscape even further.

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