Social Media Trends for 2019

Social media can change at the drop of a hat. New platforms seemingly sprout out of nowhere. Who knew that when Facebook was created in 2004 that more than one billion people would be active per month in 2019? And who knows what the future holds? Of course, no one can. But we can all make some smart and logical guesses.

As a Social and Media Content Manager for BritBox (an SVOD created by TV powerhouses BBC and ITV), I’m always on the hunt for the next big platform, content trend and keep my ear to the ground on the daily…

As 2019 is still (relatively) fresh, I wanted to throw in my two cents and pontificate on what I’ve found through my travels across the world wide web and writing on, you guessed it, social media trends.

1. Social is back at the heart of social media

Community and authenticity is back at the core of social media. Post Cambridge-Analytica scandal, people are craving something real and voices they trust.

Somewhere along the way it became a place for brands to broadcast, promote their brand and drive traffic. Businesses have been taking the ‘social’ out of social media for more than a decade. With the Facebook algorithm now favoring meaningful conversation and authentic communication, brands now need work hard for that coveted spot in your newsfeed.

Source: Facebook Community

This is also where groups come in. In 2018, Facebook created new features for Facebook groups, including the ability for pages to participate as a business Page. Groups are the perfect place to have conversations with your audience, but also encourage them to interact with each other in a meaningful way.

2. It might be the year that stories surpass the newsfeed

The big prediction for 2019 is that stories will become the main way people share content on social media, in place of the newsfeed. By May 2018, Facebook Stories had achieved 150 million active users — fewer than Instagram Stories (300 million) and WhatsApp Stories (450 million). During his F8 presentation, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox explained that Stories grew 15 times faster than traditional news feeds between Q2 2016 and Q3 2017. No wonder they’re investing time and money into the feature!

Source: Buffer

The continued growth of mobile and shorter attention spans will no doubt bolster the rise of short-lived ‘ephemeral’ content in 2019, especially with Millennial and Gen Z’ers who cultivate authentic and meaningful relationships with brands.

Of course, only time will tell. Either way, keep your eyes on stories, think about creative ways to connect with your audience and pay close attention to how people consume the format.

3. Video will still be king — in its many forms

Ok, so this is probably an obvious one. We all know video has been the currency of social media for a long time. It’s a no brainer that, creative resource permitting, you design video for mobile. According to data collected by Statista, more than 50% of digital videos are now viewed on mobile in vertical format. And it has been showing a general upward trend since 2013.

According to Facebook, 79% of novice vertical video consumers agreed that the format is more engaging

With that in mind, it’s important to constantly review your creative and style guidelines for video. Be prepared to change them up, trial new formats… and aspect ratios. Experimentation is key.

4. Continued discussion around how we moderate and manage Social Media IRL

And finally… one more slight curveball. How do we manage life in and around social media? How do we manage the dichotomy of the ‘real’ self and the ‘social’ self? How do we scroll responsibly? Over the past decade, social media has become a central part of everyday life. Despite the popularity of social media, controversy abounds regarding their impact on mental health and wellbeing.

These concerns have been echoed by some of the very people who put social media into the hands of the masses in the first place. For example, Justin Rosenstein (inventor of the ‘Like’ button) has blocked himself from Reddit and Snapchat, and imposed strict time-limits on his use of Facebook. He’s just one of a string of technology bods expressing fear of the addictive psychological effects apps are having on people.

I recently read Matt Haig’s brilliant book ‘Notes on A Nervous Planet’, the international bestseller offering a broader look at how modern life feeds our anxiety, and how to live a better life. It corroborated with Yuval Noah Harari’s argument in the incredible ‘Sapiens’ which basically says: The world has changed dramatically, and our brains haven’t quite caught up. A very crude summary of two brilliant books, but really, it’s great that people are considering the impact of endless scrolling on our mental and physical health.

While we all have different relationships with social media, it’s important to check-in with your own. What works for a friend, might not work for you. I love this video of Matt Haig offering his Top 5 Tips for good mental health in a social media age.

And that’s a wrap! I’ve thrown my thoughts into the ether (AKA Internet) and hope you found them useful in some shape or form!