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11 Social Media Trends to Watch for in 2019 2018 was a year when trends accelerated and some new ones emerged

By Santosh Kanekar

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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For businesses like yours, there are more opportunities to reach your customer but also, some channels have become more difficult.

Eg while Instagram has deepened its engagement with business with clickable links in stories, Facebook has changed (again!) its also for what it will show in its feed.

How do you keep abreast of all these changes and know which one to harness?

Here's a checklist of trends which you must ride in 2019

  • Augmented Reality

Snapchat showed the way with its face filters and the game is just beginning.

AR combined with Video brings increasing engagement on the platform and the length of time the person spends on the platform.
Notice how after Instagram integrated the Snap features, it took off and has overtaken Snapchat.

Augmented reality and virtual reality markets will surpass $298 billion by 2023

With Apple already integrating and promoting AR as standard features in their phones, the technology is present for the platforms to take this to the next level

  • Video

Video Explosion is only beginning. Even a business environment Social App like LinkedIn saw an explosive rise of videos posted in 2018 and hence, engagement.

Video allows the user to see the person behind the message and helps build likeability and engagement.

2017 HubSpot Research report revealed that 54per cent of respondents would like to see video content coming from businesses and brands they support.

In its State of Social 2018 Report, Buffer found that 85per cent of businesses plan to create more video content than they did last year.

With the launch of IGTV, Facebook is showing its seriousness in overthrowing YouTube as the reigning champ of videos.

  • Live Streaming

Here are some stats which should get you going

  • 80per cent prefer watching a live video from a brand than reading a blog post

  • 82per cent prefer live video over any other type of social media post

  • Live videos on Facebook are watched 3x longer and get 10x more comments than those that are recorded

Live streaming enables a business to humanize the brand and connect directly with its customers thus driving engagement

  • Gen Z

Gen Z is far more homogeneous than millennials and some of them have started entering the market as consumers too

As per a Goldman Sachs report, Gen Z more important than Millenials for businesses.

This generation was born with mobile (not just internet) and is very savvy when it comes to social media.

They use video platforms like Houseparty which has seen an increasing number of users and forcing Facebook to bring that operationality in their App environment.

GenZ is as many producers of content (note the growth of Instagram) as consumers of content.

  • Chatbots

100,000 Facebook Messenger Chatbots are active every day and it is estimated that Chatbots can increase business productivity by 3.5 times

Need more convincing?

60per cent of the millennial population already uses chatbots and 71per cent have implied that they would like to try using one.

Hootsuite has predicted that by 2020, more than 85per cent of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots.

In a world of instant feedback, Chatbots help you provide instant customer service to your clients and even convert a casual visitor to a hot prospect.

  • Influencer Marketing

Social media and influencers are two sides of a mutually beneficial coin.

With trends moving from movie celebrities to micro influencers, the deep connections which are the basis of influencers gets highlighted by social media

Millennials trust influencers more than brands and the one to many relationships cultivated by influencers only deepens this.

  • Ephemeral content

What started as Snapchat is now spreading like wildfire.

Instagram stories are riding the wave, promoting it intensively and copying the important features of Snap like face filters.

200 million Instagram users use Instagram Stories each month

With facebook promoting stories in both Facebook and Instagram, this wave will only gather force as it moves ahead.

Brands are learning to embrace this new potent force as they scramble to satisfy the hunger for content which disappears.

  • WhatsApp Business

While everyone talks about Instagram, the other arrow in facebooks arsenal is WhatsApp. With its rising user base across the world and deep penetration in a key market like India, it has become a default messenger app in some places.

With WhatsApp business being launched, it provides an interesting alternative to email.

Once a user allows a business to communicate with it, a company can provide tailored content straight to the mobile and in a space which is private

  • Rise of LinkedIn Influencers

Whenever people talked about Influencers, they invariably talked about Twitter and then Instagram.

2018 saw the rise of LinkedIn Influencers.

People like Manu Goswami, Goldie Chan, Aaron Orendorff and String Nguyen have built their brand in LinkedIn and have tons of followers.

With the video explosion on LinkedIn, it no longer is the fuddy-duddy site one goes to post resumes and check jobs only.

LinkedIn Influencers have especially taken the online to offline meetups deepening their relationships with their fans

  • Social Listening

Social listening started as a tool and now has become the very heart of social media strategy for some companies.

It involves monitoring all customer conversations with the brands on social to draw out patterns.

While the initial focus was to give rapid customer service, social listening helps companies come closer to the holy grail of marketing: personalization

  • Privacy and Customization

Facebook almost imploded in 2018 with the Cambridge Analytics fallout. Consumers and lawmakers became increasingly vocal of privacy rights. Europe passed the sweeping GDPR regulations making holders of data accountable for lapses.

This felt need for privacy and governance is only going to increase as users will demand open disclosure of privacy norms and will want control on what is shared of their online behaviour.

At the same time, clients of social media platforms would like to leverage the immense data on online behaviour which platforms to create customizable online experiences.

Personalized online experiences are the next level in online marketing and social media is best placed to deliver this.

Marrying the concerns around privacy with the tremendous potential of personalized online experiences will be a tricky ground to navigate in 2019

Go ahead, use these 11 trends to navigate the choppy waters of social media and become a winner.

Santosh Kanekar

Startup Mentor, Leadership Coach and Author

Author of Stop Reset Start, Growth Rocket Launcher, and Leadership Coach, Santosh Kanekar founded BeLive Corp, which advices many Global Hedge and Alternative Funds based in New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. He regularly advises Startups on Business Planning and business acceleration.

He has coached hundreds of individuals and businesses to deliver high-performance results and launch their own Growth Rocket.

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