2019 Social Media Trends

A Who+What+Where+How Checklist for Success!

Are you prepared for 2019?

Our new year’s checklist for 2018 was a BIG hit, so we want to build on that model this year with an even better guide for 2019!

As we all get our social media strategies in check for what is sure to be another year of change in the social space, there are a few top trends that we see continuing into the next 12 months. We crowdsourced some great ideas from not only our internal team of experts but also from some of our star panelists at recent Social Media Show and Tell events.

The takeaways in this year’s checklist focus on ways we need to rethink our goals next year, and are separated into 4 categories:

  • WHO should be sharing brand messaging,

  • WHAT should be driving our strategies,

  • WHERE to build communities, and

  • HOW to drive the most impactful engagement

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When you’re promoting a brand online, it’s easy focus all your efforts on your brand’s primary social media accounts. But other avenues are increasingly proving more fruitful. Instead of contributing to newsfeed clutter with brand-created content, consider the partners who can help you reach people in a more genuine way. With audiences hungry for authenticity, these strategies deserve your attention:

INFLUENCERS

Influencers have been the talk of the social media industry for the past year or two, but 2019 will continue that growth. Marketers are becoming more adept at leveraging influencer audiences and more accurately measuring the ROI of influencer engagements. From mico-influencers to megastars, brands need to find their niche and develop influencer relationships that can build over time.

“Influencer marketing can no longer be treated as a series of one-off engagements or lightly connected campaigns,” said Jason Falls, Director of Digital Strategy for Cornett in Lexington.

“The bottom line is that influencer marketing will continue to become an effective way to get messages and calls-to-action in front of relevant audiences. Now we're going to get more efficient about it.” —Jason Falls

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UGC

User-generated content is the other non-branded avenue you need to take advantage of in 2019. Successfully motivating customers to share their authentic experiences online is worth its weight in gold because it gives your brand a natural “human” element that is impossible to manufacture on the brand side—and with the rise of AI newscasters and CGI Instagrammers, that human element may be worth more than ever.

“Next year, I see brands partnering up with customers, employees and micro-influencers to help spread word,” said Matthew Dooley, our CEO here at dooley media.

“One way this’ll play out is the need to start offline as a bridge to online, for example with events or other experiences.” —Matthew Dooley

(See the “Rethink your HOW” section below for more on offline events!)

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What are you actually doing on social media? What’s driving your content strategy? And as you collect likes and followers, what do you truly hope to achieve in the long-term?

The best answers to these questions come down to one overarching concept: Community.

As brands continue to be pushed out of newsfeeds, community management strategies are replacing “traditional” social media content processes. This means placing less emphasis on mass-broadcasting brand posts and more emphasis on 1:1 engagement. Here are some tips from our conversations with the experts:

CONVERSATION GENERATION

“Brands will have to learn how to create and carry conversations in messaging and groups. This is going to matter just as much as—or more than—content creation from the brand perspective.” —Matthew

CONVERSATION FOLLOW-UP

“Don't just drop a post and run,” said Lucrecer Braxton:

“After adding a new post or story, stay on the platform for about fifteen minutes engaging with your audience. Unless your audience is crazy big, you can make time to build conversation and community with your audience.” —Lucrecer

NEGATIVE FEEDBACK MANAGEMENT

“There’s no way to avoid the inevitable negative comments … and it’s also NOT a good idea to engage with those customers directly inline. Instead, it’s important to create a dedicated customer support flow,” said Levi Bethune of Le Video.

“It’s a good idea create a safe place for people to leave feedback (positive or otherwise) that is NOT a public forum. This might look like a Twitter feed, an email inbox, or a service like Zendesk.” —Levi

*BTW, dooley media is currently hiring for a Community Management role. Learn more and share!


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As you consider your community management strategy, a big decision becomes where that community-building takes place. You will need to weigh the costs and benefits of managing multiple channels, but one thing is for sure: whatever channels you choose, you need to remember that most people are visiting them on a mobile device.

MOBILE FIRST

All the statistics make it clear that people use mobile for everything from online banking to sharing photos of their dinners.

“Mobile is the future of YouTube. It's already over 50% mobile viewership. It's mobile devices in developing nations, as well as with the upcoming generations who had a phone and tablet from very early ages.”

—YouTube strategist Tim Schmoyer

THE CASE FOR FOCUS

“It’s not the quantity of channels you are using, it’s the quality. If you are getting multitudes more engagement on say Instagram or Linkedin, set your focus there and make those channels the best they can be. Not only will this give you more focus, but it will also bring more traffic to you as your audience will know exactly where your content is going and not stretch them thin as well.”

Shay Nartker, MadTree’s Director Of Photography and co-owner of Bird and Rose Photography

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THE CASE FOR DIVERSIFYING

“It's important to be growing an audience in other places besides just YouTube,” said Tim Schmoyer, who pointed out creative avenues for video engagement such as Twitch and Amazon Video.

“Not only does it reduce risk of something happening on one platform, but your audience uses multiple platforms, too. They bounce between Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, so stay in front of them by being present wherever they are.” —Tim

CREATE AN INBOUND DESTINATION

“I’d say create something like media.crossroads.net so you can market the content (organically and paid) on all your social channels,” said Brennan Hill, Director of Marketing for Crossroads Church.

“Inbound marketing is here to stay and it’s a great way to catch folks in places they already are engaging in.” —Brennan


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Our final pieces of 2019 social media advice focus on how to go about crafting and creating the content and communities your brands can be proud of. Whether it’s data collection, offline activation, or long-form video, taking on these creative challenges could be the feather in your cap once 2020 rolls along.

DATA COLLECTION

To make informed decisions, you need to have great information. This is where data collection and analysis needs to play a roll. This can include standard Facebook Insights graphs and Google Analytics, but can also draw on things like your CRM, customer service stats and more.

“We all need to get better at collecting and making use of our own data,” Matthew said.

“Facebook, in particular, has really limited their targeting capabilities in lieu of user privacy and a way to counter this is to collect your own information via forms, email signups, and mining website data.” —Matthew

OFFLINE EVENTS

As discussed above, activating users to share on your brand’s behalf is likely one of the best ways you could invest your time as a social media marketer. While it might feel like a lot of effort to do something like throw an offline party and attract enough guests to make it work, if you can pull it off you will score huge points for your team.

“I see strong potential in this strategy/set of tactics as people figure out more and more how to draw an online audience through ‘offline’ means,” said Deeter Cesler of Bagel Dog Media.

“It’s not a new idea (kind of an old one) but it still feels like a largely untapped growth method because it's not digital, and therefore feels like more effort.” —Deeter

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LONG-FORM STORYTELLING

With the rise of IGTV, Facebook Watch, and Stories-style feeds on FB, IG and Snapghat (as well the continued growth of various YouTube products) there are more and more opportunities for telling longer-form stories online. The trick is to not only create great content that can tell a story over multiple minutes or segments, but to also find the best ways to attract an audience to the format.

“It’s all about placement and how you get people there: You can have previews or teasers live on the feeds, then long-form is the destination.” —Matthew

“It's important to learn how each of the platforms work, but it's more important to learn how to tell meaningful, engaging stories that engage viewers and prompt them to action. That skill transcends platforms and is ultimately what allows our content to reach people and change their lives.” —Tim


So there you have it! Your Who, What, Where, and How for 2019 social media success!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear your own predictions for the next 12 months, as well as questions or thoughts on how you can apply these tips in your own marketing.

For more info, reach out to the dooley media team.