Even though 2018 saw the social media giants take something of a public-relations battering, the social-media scene is still going strong and astute companies will still be doing their best to make the most of it.  With that in mind, here are five top social media trends for 2019.

Niching down

Major influences with huge followings can offer breadth of visibility, whereas micro influencers with smaller followings can offer depth of engagement.  In other words, the major influencers can get a brand in front of a lot of eyeballs and can certainly use their social-media standing to generate interest in it (hence the term influencer) but they simply cannot interact with their fans on an individual basis in the same way as smaller influencers can.  Someone who is posting to multiple platforms several times a day and receiving millions of likes and comments on each post just cannot respond to them all personally, there aren’t enough hours in the day, but someone who posts to fewer platforms, less frequently and to a smaller audience will naturally get fewer likes and comments and hence be better-placed to respond to them.  As a result, micro influencers can be very effective brand ambassadors and brands are increasingly recognising this.

The personal touch

In a similar vein to the previous point, the concept of personalisation will continue to grow, trickling down from the major brands and up from the micro-brands until it starts to make real inroads into the mainstream.  At this point in time, the biggest brands can offer personalised experiences based on data analysis (e.g. Amazon suggesting items you might like based on your purchase history), whereas micro brands are much more likely to know their customer at a personal level.  The brands in between, however, are currently in something of a “twilight zone”, but it is to be expected that technology companies will look to address this.

The need for speed

In all honesty, this is by no means a new trend, in fact, it’s very definitely a long-established trend and all the signs are that it’s going precisely nowhere in 2019.  Customers increasingly take it as read that there will be an easy means to get in touch with a brand and that the brand will provide a prompt response to any query.  This can be something of a challenge for smaller businesses with limited resources, especially since companies will definitely wish to avoid one of the cardinal sins of social media, namely firing out quick responses which are clearly shot from the hip.  The key to managing this trend is to set expectations clearly.  For example, you can put a message in your profile to advise of your working hours and your typical response time.  Of course, if you do this you need to stick to it or provide a good reason why you did not.

Listening for leads

By this point in time, any company with even a basic grasp of social-media marketing should be well aware that they ought to be doing at least as much listening as they are talking and that, in particular, they should be keeping their ears open to hear what people are saying not just about them but about their competitors and their industry in general.  Some brands, especially larger ones, are starting to progress this idea to listening actively for anything which might suggest a sales opportunity and then moving to address it when the customer appears to be in “buying mode” or at least at their most receptive.