Five social media trends for 2019

Social media can be a powerful tool – but to make the most of it, you need to keep up with the trends. Lightful's social media manager shares her top tips for 2019 

Gone are the days when it was enough to just have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. To reach your audience and engage meaningfully with them, you need to be strategic. 

Social media is constantly changing, however, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest updates. Here are five social media trends to tap into, so that your social media shines in 2019. 


1. Quality over quantity

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have made strides to ensure that interactions on their platforms are meaningful. Facebook announced last year that they were tackling fake news and also favouring content that sparks conversation (in other words, prioritising the more engaging posts in our news feeds). Twitter got rid of loads of fake accounts and CEO Jack Dorsey said at a conference last year that they’re considering getting rid of the ‘like’ feature, to encourage actual conversation rather than superficial engagement. Instagram have started removing inauthentic likes, follows, and comments from accounts that used third-party apps to increase their popularity. 

So what does all this mean for us? Quality over quantity is more important than ever. It’s far better to post or tweet less often, with content that sparks conversation than to post often with content that doesn’t engage anyone. Be strategic and set goals that are measurable, rather than simply increasing the number of your posts with no clear objectives. This can also help you save time and build a more effective social presence by focusing on what matters for your organisation. If your audience is mostly using Instagram, for example, there's no need to spend hours on Twitter.


2. Trust is more important than ever

2018 saw a number of high-profile headlines around social media and data protection breaches, which have put pressure on brands, organisations and even the platforms themselves to be authentic and transparent. Keep in mind that consumers are ever more cautious about the information they share. For example: many people are less trusting of Facebook these days, so relying solely on Facebook Fundraising to secure donations might cause issues. 

The most successful social media accounts focus on being authentic and communicating transparently with their audience. Whether you’re sharing a simple creative post, or spending a day handling an organisational crisis, it's important to do so in your own voice. Coming across as human, not as an impersonal organisation, helps build trust.



3. The rise of ephemeral content

Stories – vertical content that lasts up to 24 hours before it disappears, usually a photo or video – have become hugely popular. They're now available on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram and even LinkedIn is now testing them.

Stories are a very engaging way to reach an audience. Though popular among teens, they've been gaining ground across all age categories. As content creators, the format also challenges our creativity to think outside the box. Stories can also be used to gather feedback, poll your audience or get them to ask you a question. 


4. The power of influencer marketing 

Working with influencers can be very beneficial for social enterprises that want to reach a new or wider audience. And by ‘influencers’, I don’t mean celebrities. There are many influential people with even just 5,000 or 10,000 followers on a certain platform – but they're considered influencers because they have higher engagement than others who have triple the number of followers. Their followers are often very loyal; they trust the individual and his or her opinions or endorsements. 

Find an influencer, or influencers, who have a connection or affinity with your work. This is crucial as the collaboration needs to be authentic. Working with the right influencer can have a hugely positive effect on your brand. But remember, if you are gifting them a product or paying them, you must ensure that they use #Ad in their posts – this is now the law in the UK. 


5. Videos, podcasts and live streaming still lead

What better way to engage someone than by telling them a story? Storytelling is finding new pathways with the rise of video and audio content. Video has seen great success on social media over the past few years, particularly on Facebook, and it's not expected to stop trending anytime soon. Videos can help you tell your story in a more appealing way and live streaming can improve your engagement too. Facebook Live videos tend to increase the levels of interactions between a Page's supporters and they tend to get a better reach compared to other types of content.

Also, videos needn’t be slick – they can be shot on a smartphone. In fact, people tend to prefer video that’s more ‘real’ (although you might want to invest in a mic for better sound quality). Podcasts are a big trend, with more and more people interested in consuming audio content to catch up on news, learn or be entertained while on the go. According to Ofcom, 6 million UK adults listen to podcasts every week and this figure has doubled in just five years.  

Lightful will be leading a session on more efficient social media at this year's Good Stories conference, on Tuesday 26 February. Find out more and get tickets here.


Read more from Lightful, including monthly updates on social media, on their blog