Opinions

2019: All Change For Marketing And Social Media?

Is this the year we see meaningful changes in how we use various online platforms?

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Share this article

Is this the year we see meaningful changes in how we use various online platforms?

Opinions

2019: All Change For Marketing And Social Media?

Is this the year we see meaningful changes in how we use various online platforms?

Share this article

It’s often said that in business, you need to be leaders and not followers. This is especially true when confronted with the myriad social media platforms that have gained popularity, evolved, died off and rebadged over recent years.

When it comes to trends within social media marketing, they are often difficult to predict, but easy to track once they appear. While nothing can be gained from looking into a crystal ball, following the breadcrumb trail will lead many in 2019 to these conclusions.

The human touch

Personal branding is going to see a continued and meteoric rise this year, mark our words. Having a human face as the branding, particularly when you are a small business is going to become even more important.

But how best to make an impact? We’ve said it before, but identify that key person of influence within your business who knows their stuff and how to communicate that. Get them to spread the message via guesting on podcasts, contributing to blogs, writing opinion pieces or being a resource for local, regional and even national media.

If people know your face as your brand and what you say is taken as informed, reliable advice, you’ll be far ahead of those who hide behind a logo.

Organic has lost its sheen

We’ve seen many trends come and go, but one thing is for certain and we are likely to have seen the back of for a while, the creeping death of organic posts. Once the mainstay of any social team, often paid content went hand in hand with a strategic, considered campaign. Now, we are observing something of a dilemma.

Organic posts are now so downtrodden on a majority of platforms that we are seeing reach of around 5% becoming the norm. This feels like pressure on businesses and page owners to spend, at least moderately to see any return. On the other hand, it could just be a case of a crowded bunch of platforms.

This then begs the question: Where should ad spend appear? All signs we have observed point to Instagram stories. Short, sharp and effective, they are a marketers dream right now.

If you are sticking to an organic and paid combination strategy, your posts should be curated and considered. A random or unstructured approach is likely to come loose at the seams.

Telling the right stories

At the moment, Instagram stories is still the most engaging and cost-effective way to reach people in a meaningful and lasting way. Want proof? Simply take a look at your Instagram feed and witness how many friends and brands alike are updating daily in the stories feed at the top.

The endless cycle once you start is a testament to how popular it is at the moment. Ads are slotted in amongst contacts’ stories and more brands are making the jump to short, effective communications.

Recently, many businesses, particularly on a micro scale are using stories to provide step-by-step guides or demonstrations on how to do something unique or to offer insight into an aspect of the business a customer might not normally see. For example, with food businesses, this could be the preparation of products, a trip to a supplier or a recipe video.

In other industries, advice that can fit in short bursts is also working well in this format. For solicitors, advice on wills, probate or easy to digest matters are perfect to fit into this kind of slot. For those in finance, advice on bank accounts, investments or tax are also set to take off.

Making waves following the podcast boom

If 2018 was the year that podcasts truly boomed for a second or third time, 2019 will only see this grow. We’ve seen a slew of podcasts launched on subjects as diverse as law, marketing and niche business doing incredibly well and it’s a perfect way to further your brand message.

Key players have also initiated filmed podcasts as the preferred form too, a simple camera setup, a good topic of conversation and you’re sorted. Those who will succeed this year will take advantage of this long-form content delivery platform and repurpose sections for other platforms, taking clips or sections to create short video content or previews on other social media channels.

This is a great way of positioning yourself and will underline personal branding efforts you make elsewhere this year. It’s also full of potential as a podcast can be anything from advice, a simple chat or a feature-packed, radio-style effort. Real influence can be made in this area very quickly, especially if you have the knowledge to share.

The rise, and rise of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is still to reach its full potential, that’s a fact. While it is increasingly popular after a few years in the wilderness in terms of being an effective marketing tool, 2018 saw the platform bring in key elements suspiciously similar to that of Facebook's Ads Manager. This introduced a very familiar structure and also included copy-cat ad formats like video and image carousels.

To us, that’s a sign that this hugely popular platform will be stepping up to become a real choice for marketers. LinkedIn also recently introduced its equivalent of the Facebook Pixel, the LinkedIn Insights Tag, which also signals we’re into a new phase for the platform.

At Distract, we’re fans of this approach, as its targeting for B2B is impressive. Marketers are now able to target specific job titles, industries, roles, company sizes and much more besides. LinkedIn has also just unveiled its new-look interface as well. It is making more moves than it has dared make in a while, and we think the platform will be one to watch in 2019 too.

However you attack 2019 is up to you, but the best advice we can give to start off the year is to be prepared for the unexpected. If 2018 was anything to go by, the rate of algorithm change and the tastes of end users will make 2019 a very interesting year.

Peter Watson is MD of distract.

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2019: All Change For Marketing And Social Media?

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