Social media platforms are changing on a day-to-day basis in order to improve quality, relevance, and accuracy of the shared content. Lately, social media leaders are turning toward solving ethical issues and burning problems. They are also striving to redefine their platforms in order to make a safer environment for all their users. So, what can we expect in 2019 and the following years?
First of all, we see that there are frequent examples of content bans – Instagram now bans content which is promoting self-harm, YouTube forbids channels dedicated to conspiracy theories and spreading false information. Facebook is (after all these years) seriously working on the users’ privacy issue after the scandal of selling the information of American citizens to political parties.
At the same time, there is an ongoing campaign of shutting down fake and spam profiles. YouTube has recently blocked a large number of bogus profiles. This inevitably caused some YouTube individual users and brands to lose a large number of subscribers. However, that is a small sacrifice for a better video content without spam.
Instagram is turning towards mental health support of its users. That is why they are thinking about turning off the number of likes on posts. Twitter is planning the same.
Ephemeral is becoming more and more popular. Even in this digital world, social media are transferring us back to analog times. Just take a look at the possibilities on Instagram. Instagram Stories and Live broadcasting are making exclusivity “in” again. If we missed something, we missed it for good. There is no reprise unless Instagram users allow that to their followers.
Facebook and YouTube followed the same format. It seems like Stories are all around us. Everybody wants to share with their friends, acquaintances and total strangers, photos and video clips of their everyday lives. Big companies are trying to keep up with these novelties so they can keep the attention of their buyers.
Are you interested in finding out what novelties can we expect when it comes to social media?
Continue reading and learn all about it in this article.
With over 500 million visits and 4 billion clicks on “hearts” on a daily basis, Instagram is definitely the social network which is growing the fastest. Frequent upgrades and adding new functions are making this network interesting to its expanding number of users. For example, popular Instagram Stories are watched and posted in such a large amount that people almost do not post content on their profiles and are not taking notice of other people’s posts anymore.
As we already mentioned, Instagram announced that it will hide the number of “hearts” on posts for one reason only. That is to impact the mental health of its users and to put forward the idea that hostile and competitive surroundings are not the initial idea of communication on this platform. The idea was to make it a safe space where anybody can post the content they like.
Authenticity became crucial. Showing vulnerability and imperfections is now much more appreciated than publishing processed and perfect photos which are enhanced with filters.
Credibility became more important than quantity. A large number of followers is not enough for someone to be considered an influencer. That is why people are trusting micro-influencers since they are more honest with their audience. They proved themselves as an authority in a particular field, so that is why people trust their judgment.
Shopping on Instagram
Instagram devoted a lot of effort to the mission of attracting as many business users as possible and breaking into the e-commerce world. So, they decided to adapt their platform in order to bring the brands closer to their users.
The possibility to buy directly on Instagram certainly reduces the time needed to make a decision on whether to purchase something or not. Without visiting the official website and wasting precious time, customers can get information straight away about the price and availability of the product. This service is currently in a beta phase, but we can expect it by the end of the year to become a daily part of the Instagram user experience.
Last year IGTV had its premiere. As a separate channel on Instagram, IGTV brings the video in a new form. Vertical video is becoming more and more popular since most users access the internet via mobile devices. Also, Instagram is primarily designed for mobile phones, so it is logical that IGTV is tuned for these video clip sizes.
How does IGTV work? Film the video with your mobile phone and upload it to your IGTV channel. Or you can edit it in a video editing program and then upload it.
IGTV is yet to become popular since creative and marketing experts are bound to start using this channel for online promotion of their brands. For instance, YouTube personalities can alter their videos intended for YouTube and add the necessary changes to that this material can be found on IGTV as well and get Instagram users interested in their content. Since IGTV is placed in the corner of the Instagram feed, many people often do not notice that there are new videos. That is why it is now possible to add a short snippet of the video to the Instagram feed as a regular post and in that way to announce new content.
Facebook is still the most popular social network with the largest number of users, reaching up to 2.3 billion visits per month, and around 1.5 billion visits per day. However, the number of users is constantly on decline, especially in the United States. Also, the time spent on the Facebook mobile application is getting shorter and shorter (Facebook Messenger is used more often).
Besides that, it is estimated that Facebook has the largest number of fake profiles. According to some estimates, this number reaches 700 million. This, of course, is nothing new. What is new about this social network is the fact that the algorithm has been updated and that there will be an increase in the transparency about the use of users’ personal data.
After the scandal with the Cambridge Analytica company, Mark Zuckerberg started paying more attention to the users’ privacy and to take care of the protection of private data. He talked recently with Mathias Döpfner, executive director of media group Axel Springer, about the importance of privacy. Zuckerberg also mentioned that they are working towards encryption and protecting the information between internal communication between users.
Facebook and quality journalism
Even though these two terms may look like polar opposites, since Facebook almost became synonymous with fake news, Mark Zuckerberg expressed his plans about Facebook becoming a platform which will support and publish quality content of renowned media companies. Facebook will also publish stories of investigative journalists, local news, and news from independent publications around the world.
Zuckerberg talked about this with Mathias Döpfner as well and their complete conversation is a part of interview series with influencers, which Zuckerberg started in an effort to continue the dialogue about the future of technology and society. It is available in audio format as Zuckerberg’s podcast on Spotify, but there is a video as well.
Facebook for business purposes
Facebook is still considered as one of the best channels for promotion and digital marketing. It also plays an important part in attracting the attention of a large number of people, in building the brand, positioning and building the audience and its trust in the brand.
The golden age for advertising is still going strong on this social media, since the ad price is still not that high. Paid Facebook ads will become more and more expensive in the future. Targeting will heavily rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the goal of the algorithm is to do targeting better than humans.
In the future, it is probable that Facebook users will need to pay for their profiles, whether within a monthly or an annual subscription. The idea is that the subscription will offer the users only quality content, local and world news, while the connections with family and friends will stay free.
Facebook groups gaining popularity
Places where you can find an abundance of quality content and useful information are Facebook groups. Lately, they became immensely popular and it seems as if the best content from Facebook can be found there.
Except for individuals who wish to build their online reputation, show their expertise in a particular field, and help other colleagues (usually beginners who need this advice the most), Facebook groups are good branding tool for companies as well. But, not with posting promotional posts, self-advertising, and spamming other users (which is forbidden in most groups), but though having meaningful discussions. Exchanging useful and relevant information with one goal in mind – raising brand visibility.
Connecting communication tools
Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 and since then these two social networks are connected, even though Instagram is still functioning as a separate network. The similar case is with the service for instant messages, Whatsapp, which Facebook acquired in 2014. However, at the end of 2018, Whatsapp founder Jan Koum and Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left the company, mostly because of the disagreement with Mark Zuckerberg about the future development of these applications.
It was then announced that Facebook will connect the communication apps which are owned by Facebook. For now, this is only a plan, and it considers the messaging, which would enable a direct message exchange between Whatsapp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. This step would make the communication much easier, while Facebook would integrate teams which would work on updating these applications and in the future probably develop them as a whole entity.
Twitter is still a go-to platform for breaking news, and sharing ideas and opinions in real-time. It is also used for asking the online community questions and finding solutions together while starting initiatives or promoting events.
The number of likes and shares will probably be hidden here as well, but they will be visible once you click on the tweet. However, the option to edit post will still not be possible.
Statistics show that 321 million people are visiting Twitter on a monthly basis, from which 79% lives outside the United States. Most active users are from the United Kingdom, where Twitter is the second most popular social network. 60% of the adult population is using Twitter, while Facebook is in the top spot with 90% of users.
Threads getting popular
Tweets in a row, a.k.a. threads are currently the most popular type of posts on Twitter and it looks like this will still be the case in the near future. Even though this platform became popular due to the limited number of characters per tweet – which requires concise posts, straight to the point – people still have a lot to say about certain topics. That is why threads became popular.
Both individuals and brands have recently started tweeting threads, with a mandatory sign which says that tweets are a part of a thread. Another way of using threads is to discuss popular topics and connect like-minded people.
An example of such threads is a tweet from Vlad Magdalin, co-founder of Webflow platform. He decided to personally invest in buying books for people who can’t afford them, 40 dollars per person, and the only thing they had to do is to write in which ways will the book they want help them in their career.
This tweet became viral very quickly, and Vlad Magdalin personally invested a couple of thousand dollars, while others decided to join in as well and help out. From this initial tweet, a movement called #HelpMeLearn was created and over 5,000 dollars was donated for buying books and e-course enrollment for people who cannot afford it themselves. And all of that started with a single tweet.
You are what you tweet – you may have already heard that one as an explanation of how important is the content you are posting on Twitter. This has started applying to business profiles as well. It shows that followers of a brand will be more engaged if the brand’s content is interesting and useful, and if it can ignite discussions.
HubSpot published a guide for using Twitter for business purposes, where they state several key points:
- Do not post only your promotional material
- Use photos and videos beside text posts
- Create a strategy for posting content on your business profile
- Build your audience through Twitter Advertising
- Follow what is happening with the help of Twitter Analytics
These steps can be easily implemented to other social media channels if you want to use them for promoting your brand.
This social network hasn’t made any drastic changes for a long time. Besides an occasional design tweak, Pinterest has always worked in the same way since its beginning. Posts, which are called pins, are shown on your newsfeed and are matching your interests. The ones you especially like, you can save in the desired category on your profile. Since the female population is the predominant user group on Pinterest, the most popular categories are fashion, home decor, recipes, wedding planning, and similar topics. However, Pinterest realized that a huge buying potential lies there and therefore they decided to introduce new options.
Pinterest has prepared new tools which help brands to easily launch new products and present them to Pinterest users. First new tools are so-called Catalogues. Now it is possible to add on Pinterest whole portfolios with products. Buyers do not have to visit the official website since they can actually see everything directly on Pinterest they are interested in.
Products from the catalogues can additionally be posted as individual pins, called product pins, from their business profile. In this way, boutiques, for example, can arrange the look of their profile and choose which pins can be clickable and therefore bought.
Shop the look
Now when there are blue dots featured on photographs, you can click on them and see all the similar products which you can buy. They are so called Shop the Look pins. They are making shopping easier and they are now completely automated. Not only that you will not have to wonder anymore where to find a similar coat as in the photo, but you will be able to buy it then and there.
First category on Pinterest where Shop the Look pins will be available is home décor.
Pinterest copied Facebook a bit when it comes to advertising. Now there is an Ads Manager on Pinterest which helps you in setting up promotions of specific pins. Pinterest Analytics is also updated, and now, besides the new design, you can also sort results according to the user devices and content source, which can be valuable when creating a new strategy for future pins. Of course, all of this makes life easier for business users. However, it remains to be seen if this will result in a large number of ads for regular Pinterest users or not.
YouTube has recently updated its platform and the algorithm which filtrates the content and shows relevant videos to the users. Some changes are noticeable, while some new ones are planned in the near future.
First of all, this platform decided to shut down fake accounts. Second of all, YouTube started to delete channels which are focused on spreading conspiracy theories.
On the other hand, YouTube is going to give more value to the serial video material, as well as documentary material, video podcasts, and other similar video formats.
Time spent watching, not the number of views
Another big novelty when it comes to YouTube will be the new factors for the evaluation of content monetization.
This platform will be dedicated to more quality and documentary content, but it will also include the time spent watching the video as an important variable, not just the number of views as it was until now.
This will affect the channels which are buying the number of views, including the numbers of likes and shares and therefore create a false pretense of their channels’ quality.
LinkedIn is still the only social network which offers additional advantages through payment for Premium account. But it seems that users, and companies especially, do not seem to see the benefits of this subscription.
One of the biggest advantages when it comes to the Premium account is the possibility of sending direct InMail messages to those who you think should receive them. B2B companies have the best use out of this direct marketing since a big number of executives is active on LinkedIn.
This option is, also, useful for freelancers because they can directly contact their potential clients. InMail messages are considered to be one of the marketing tools with the biggest potential in 2019 and beyond.
For everybody who wishes to be more informed about the possibilities when it comes to LinkedIn marketing, this social network recently published an updated version of the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. It was initially published in 2014, but since the interest for promoting on LinkedIn is spiking, they decided to update the guide on its fifth anniversary of publishing. The guide can be downloaded for free.
Serious network for serious users
LinkedIn recently introduced the option of additional reactions to posts, similar to Facebook reactions. But LinkedIn always was, and still is, a network with a goal of building business and professional connections. Now, to each post on LinkedIn, besides photographs and videos, you can add a presentation, PDFs, and other document types.
A few years back (since Microsoft overtook LinkedIn), this network became much more popular than it was at its beginning and this trend continues to grow. People seem to understand the importance of this social network and are joining it day by day.
Users now also post more quality content which is solely created for LinkedIn and posted there as original articles or posts.
LinkedIn users are mostly marketing experts, CEOs, CMOs, CTOs, other C-level executives, HR managers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, start-up owners, organizers of business-related events and conferences, lecturers, speakers, and people looking for job opportunities.
Native content still most important
It shouldn’t be forgotten that the LinkedIn algorithm does not like external links in posts. This means that a post featuring external links will organically reach a smaller number of people (even though LinkedIn is one of the networks with the biggest organic reach for individual posts). That is why people leave links in comments under the posts or edit the post to add links later. The reason for this is that LinkedIn values native content, i.e. the content published directly on LinkedIn, made to engage its users – through comments, active discussion, sharing the content.
LinkedIn has the most developed system for targeting the audience. Besides the standard demographic information, it is possible to target the audience according to their job position, and also according to their previous work experience. This helps marketing experts a lot, but also HR managers as well.
Users’ personal experiences
LinkedIn has recently started highlighting personal stories of its users, especially when they are about new experiences, personal development, work anecdotes, conversations, or videos from everyday life.
Therefore people started sharing on LinkedIn their impressions on various things, their learnings, a good book they recently read, the advice they would give to their younger colleagues, fun times on team buildings, personal opinions on current social events, and also the ways they balance out their work life and their personal life.
Let us quickly summarize everything we said.
Quality, authenticity, credibility, expertise – these are some of the most important attributes which are connected to social networks in 2019. They are important both for brands and companies, as well as for individuals. Micro influences are taking over.
Original content and meaningful engagement of the audience through participating in comments, helping the online community, sharing personal experiences (the good and the bad), and showing vulnerability and imperfections – these are just some of the valuable aspects which are connected with social media today.
Ethical approach, privacy protection, and mental health are becoming main principles which need to be fulfilled when it comes to the future of social media and mutual engagement of its users.
Shutting down fake accounts is one of the main tasks including showcasing the real picture of the popularity of certain posts.
Sounds too good to be true?
Here’s to hoping that all this will be actually true and that the future of social media is bright.
What do you think? What are your predictions when it comes to the future of social networks? Write to us in the comments below or on our social media profiles.