In today’s high-tech business world, marketing is ever-changing. This is especially true of social media, where new platforms and content trends emerge on a seemingly daily basis.
Marketing professionals who want to succeed in 2019 should experiment with burgeoning social media movements that will boost engagement with their target audience. We asked a panel of Forbes Communications Council members for their predictions—here are the trends they see coming and their recommendations for taking the best advantage of these opportunities.
1. Humanized Brands
Instead of “geek speak,” leverage social channels to share personal stories. Demonstrate how your product is helping society in easy-to-understand language. Use employees’ social channels to amplify those stories. Make your brand human, loveable and authentic. – Parna Sarkar-Basu, Brand and Buzz Marketing, LLC.
2. The Rise Of LinkedIn And Other B2B Platforms
Speaking as a business-to-business (B2B) marketer, I expect to see Twitter continue to decline in prominence while LinkedIn will continue its ascent as the most critical social media platform. I could also see other platforms that are traditionally consumer-oriented making more and more competitive pushes to grab their share of corporate interest. – Erik Samdahl, Institute for Corporate Productivity i4cp
Chasing the elusive holy grail of “virality” will give way to micro-targeting the right audience—even of one—with your content. Prioritizing a desired action from that custom audience, built on strong inferences about who they are and where they are in the funnel, will be far more important than mere exposure, especially in B2B. – Omar Garriott, salesforce.com
4. Reliance On Accurate And Actionable Data
As opportunities for artificial intelligence increase, more accurate and more actionable data will also be increasingly necessary. Consumers will expect that their favorite brands know who they are, what they want and where they are in the buying cycle. Email and messaging will especially need to feel entirely personalized, which is possible through AI, but not without excellent data about each lead or customer. – Amanda Hinski, Frost Valley YMCA
5. Real-Time Customer Interactions
To have a sound one-to-one marketing program, marketers have to react in real time. If I tweet that I’m looking for flights right now and an airline shares an offer with me tomorrow, it’s too late. Consumers want and expect brands to provide useful information at the time when they need it. Marketers need to find advertising solutions with real-time offerings in order to have success. – Mandy Melby, Boulder Heavy Industries
6. Increased Social Media Advertising Regulations
I believe there will be more regulations applied to social media advertising than in years past. Social is now a way of life for marketers, as we all know, and given influencers’ compensation by manufacturers to get product endorsements, I believe the FTC and consumers will catch on eventually. Much like the prescription world, money paid to achieve sales goals will be highlighted in 2019. – Jill McGonigle, Crown Laboratories, Inc.
7. Interactive Quizzes
Social will move from one-way to two-way conversations. Brands will start implementing social experiences that consumers can engage with digitally. Interactive quizzes are a perfect example of this because they enable consumers to answer a series of fun questions and then receive personalized product and service recommendations based on their answers. Why survey consumers when you can quiz them? – Keith Bendes, Float Hybrid
8. Blending Of Organic And Paid Social Efforts
Social media platforms are increasingly scrutinizing their advertising revenue models. In 2019, we will see the increased blending of organic and paid content as platforms seek to balance quarterly financial goals with user adoption goals. To succeed, marketers must balance between organic and paid content and understand the role each plays in a positive return on investment strategy. – Julia Li, Scalable Press
9. Greater Leveraging Of Social Listening Platforms For Sales
Social listening and monitoring will lead to more real-time sales opportunities in 2019. Movement towards a unified view of customers, coupled with integrated social listening platforms, will open the door for new ways to engage and sell on social. B2B will see real-time targeted solution selling. Business-to-consumer (B2C) will place emphasis back on relationships and experiment with diverse posting options. – Jen Street, PetroChoice – Lubrication Solutions
10. Brand Loyalty Campaigns
Businesses will be strengthening brand loyalty with greater intelligence gathering and interaction tools. Companies increasingly will augment brand loyalty ad campaigns via social media platforms. They will incorporate voice assistants, AI and natural language processing (NLP) to optimize search and research information, as well as engage with customers. – Alex Goryachev, Cisco
11. Transparency In Data Sharing
In 2018, there was a real focus on data privacy across social media. Going into 2019, social platforms will likely become more transparent about how user data is leveraged for marketing/analysis and shared with third parties. It may be that some platforms will offer paid memberships where member data is not shared. This would potentially give consumers more choice and control over their data. – Tom Wozniak, OPTIZMO Technologies, LLC
12. Vertical Video
Media outlets are drastically capitalizing upon the positioning of social outlets’ move toward vertical video. People will soon be consuming a majority of their content through vertical video on their phone. While planning media, keep this in mind while framing your content strategy, so it can be used optimally in vertical and horizontal platforms. Don’t neglect it. – Nicholas Putz, Quintessa Aesthetic Centers
13. Podcasts And Audio Content
In today’s hectic world we rarely do one thing at a time. Podcasts and audio fit very well with routine activities like commuting, driving, walking and so on. Audio is more personalized as it engages listeners at a deeper level compared with other types of content. Audio is also getting more searchable. Popular engines help us find audio in the same way we find texts or images. – Svetlana Stavreva, IBM
14. B2B Livestreaming
B2B livestreaming allows viewers to watch a live video in real time while giving them the opportunity to comment or react for further engagement. B2B marketers should incorporate livestreaming into their social media mix because it permits a company to be more authentic and personable. And if the video doesn’t feel overly scripted, that makes it even more real. Gritty over glitzy is good! – Mike Neumeier, Arketi Group
15. Powerful Stories Through Entertainment Media
Brand storytelling is unchanging in ways, but its influence will expand in 2019 through movie and TV streaming services. Netflix’s recent release of Birdbox and the ensuing “Birdbox Challenge” has influenced an entire social media movement. Brand recognition will grow alongside your ability to do two important things: create a powerful message and deliver it through a powerful story. – Jeff Grover, Best Company