By Rachel Peck
As 2019 draws to a close and we look back on the year, there are a few standout social media trends. Only seeming to grow stronger each year, social media was once a tool used to enhance a brand’s presence, however 2019 saw its importance further elevated. Social media, beyond Facebook and LinkedIn, are officially must-haves for every brand’s strategy. Instagram and Twitter are at the forefront, posed to have some of their best years yet. While we at Eclipse Media Group learned quite a few lessons from social media this year, below are our biggest takeaways.
The human element is more important than ever
2019 saw Instagram beginning to experiment with removing total “like” numbers from select accounts. First implemented in several countries including Canada, Australia and Brazil, Instagram began rolling out this new feature in the United States in November.
Reasoning behind this new feature is varied, but it’s partially due to growing concerns about social media’s effects on mental health. While removing “like” counts will mean a few changes for the B2C and B2B marketing communities, it’s not a negative by any means. Marketers will be challenged to focus more on their brand’s personality, while fostering relationships with audiences and bringing the focus back to authenticity. Here at Eclipse, we’ll be keeping our eye on this rollout as it further develops in 2020.
Storytelling is key
Storytelling campaigns have been around for a number of years, but more recently, there’s been a greater push towards marketing experiences versus a product or service. For B2B marketers, this means taking a less salesy and promotional approach. For B2C marketing, creating an authentic experience for audiences. Brands across the board are being challenged with the task of creating moments that increase a brand’s transparency and trustworthiness. While this might mean more work for us as communications professionals, the payoff is much greater.
In a 2018 survey Hootsuite conducted on trends for 2019, 64% of respondents said they were planning to implement Instagram stories into their social media marketing strategies. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the emphasis on storytelling through visuals continues to grow in popularity – reaching even into the more conservative B2B industries. June 2018 saw 400 million story users on Instagram – by the end of January 2019 that number had increased to 500 million.
We’ve written before about the importance of visuals, but it begs telling again. Additionally, interactive content has begun raising the bar even higher. Going beyond polls on Twitter and Instagram, interactive content offers another avenue for reaching your audience. Interactive content can be as simple as asking a question in a caption, or beginning to experiment on Facebook Live and IGTV. Instead of posting a link to your most recent whitepaper, or case study, consider creating an engaging infographic instead. At Eclipse, we’re making a point to incorporate more engaging content into our social media lineup and that of our clients. It’s not about talking at your audience, but getting them to join in on the conversation.
Overall, 2019 was an interesting year for social media. With privacy concerns top-of-mind for many users, as well as declining trust in brands, it’s our responsibility as communications professionals to implement all we’ve learned in the upcoming year. Be more transparent. Be authentic. And remember to create a voice and use it to engage with your audience.