Social media is everchanging. With algorithm changes, new features and a constant stream of updates, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date with the latest social trends.
"It takes work to stay on top of all the changes," said Chelsea McDonald, senior social media strategist at DEG Digital. "The trends are just that for a reason; it's what's popular and happening right now, which was not popular two weeks ago and will be dead two months from now."
However, it's important to leverage new trends and to anticipate any new ones. Staying current will keep your business competitive and set you apart from other businesses. Here's what the future of social media marketing looks like, according to industry experts.
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Greater investment in social media advertising.
Social media has proven to be an effective space for marketing, and shouldn't be left out of your marketing budget.
"If you don't have a paid social strategy and budget in 2019, you are quickly going to become irrelevant," McDonald said. "For years the industry has been saying "organic is dead" and that it's a 'pay to play' space, and more than ever we see this on the rise."
StitcherAds CIO Conor Ryan agrees and believes brands will increase their spending on social advertising, particularly in the retail industry.
"Facebook has delivered a suite of advertising products specifically for retail that enable brands to do things they couldn't before," Ryan said. "The platform is making it easier for retailers to innovate, and this activity will only be amplified in 2019." [Interested in finding the right social media marketing solution for your small business? Check out our best picks.]
The rise of 'microinfluencers.'
Before social media influencers, brands relied on celebrities and characters to sell their products. When audiences started to crave more authentic advertising, brands turned to social media influencers.
But now larger influencers are struggling to maintain authenticity and are becoming increasingly expensive. So, brands are turning to "microinfluencers," who have high influence over their specific niche.
"The … 'microinfluencer' will gain some additional share and influence this space, as their content is less likely to be driven by sponsors," McDonald said.
Stories and IGTV for advertising.
Instagram and Facebook Stories haven't been around for long, but it has quickly become a popular feature that marketers shouldn't ignore.
"Now, people are posting Stories and video, and it's crucial that advertisers make the transition to these mediums," said Ryan. "To effectively reach consumers, ads need to feel authentic and unobtrusive. Instagram Stories is a non-interruptive advertising platform that aligns with consumers' preferences."
Launched in June 2018 and owned by Instagram, IGTV is new to the social media scene. It's a vertical video application where users can watch long-form video from popular Instagram creators. The application isn't a popular medium for advertising yet, but marketers should keep an eye on the platform for future opportunities.
"While the expectation is that IGTV will ultimately carry advertising, for now it does not," said Todd Krizelman, CEO of MediaRadar. "We forecast that 2019 will continue the trend. Although IGTV peaked as the top 25th U.S. iPhone app immediately after launch, it has since fallen off dramatically."
Everyone who works in the digital space should try to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. However, just because you know the latest trends doesn't mean you have to participate in them.
"Evaluate what's right for your brand – especially in a time when consumers are calling out inauthenticity within brands and looking to other sources," McDonald added. "Only do what makes sense for your brand."