Brand & social media trends in 2019

Brand & social media trends for 2019

Earlier this week, Helen Perry, my Elevate co-founder, and I gave a talk on 2019’s brand and social media trends. We dived into how leading digital-fluent brands are driving change through innovative social marketing. And how we, as personal or small brands, can apply these to our own social media and content. If you’re looking at taking your comms up a gear this year, have a read.

Strategy is more vital than ever

Your brand strategy will become more essential to how you achieve your specific business goals, this year and beyond. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of social media and marketing plans, but our tactics need a guiding strategy to maximise effectiveness and build engagement.

Of course, 65% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy (stats from The CMA), so if you don’t, now’s the time to take a couple of hours to map yours out for the year. Start with your goals – to reach a new customer segment, launch a new service, build your employer brand – and work back from there.

Content marketing is marketing

Until recently, content marketing’s been handled as a bolt-on to more traditional marketing. But how we engage has transformed – winning brands know that content opens the door for true conversations with audiences.

Your content is your platform – from your website and blog through to your email and your social networks. And by thinking like a publisher, not a marketer too, you’ll see real changes in how your community responds.

Happily enough, I’ll be talking through how to create a content strategy that works for your business at our next Elevate event. There’s more about Smarter social media for your business here.

Customer success will drive brands

In the recommendation economy, every business has to think beyond the point of sale. We need to create ways for our clients to get real value from our products and services to encourage the word-of-mouth that builds reputation, lasting relationships and nurtures our brand ambassadors and fans.

We’re small businesses. Amazon or TripAdvisor style reviews may not be right but case studies and testimonials are a great way to share that trust. Think about how customer success can grow your business too; go deep into what works for your customers and interrogate how that shapes your offer.

Conversation rules
Truth: if content is king, conversation is queen.  Modern sales has shifted to building real connection meaning marketing is about education and empowerment. Social media means we can move from the interrupt and sell cycle, to one that informs and brings real value, to connect emotionally.

Think pull, not push. Find your customers online, dive in and have the conversations, check out their Facebook comments, their LinkedIn posts, respond immediately to any complaints, ask questions. Engage with their circumstances, challenges and worldviews. Think how much more you will understand your customer and how you can then be of real service.

Video is a megatrend

Mark Zuckerberg’s words. Cisco figures show that by 2021 – which isn’t that far away – 80% of all traffic will be video. Sixty per cent of people watch video on Facebook every day and on Twittter, a video is six times more likely to be shared. It’s immediate, it entertains, it influences purchasing decisions. And social platforms are continuously responding to this. LinkedIn’s Student Voices is a recent example.

For small brands, this doesn’t have to mean mega filming budgets. The rise of reality over perfection – with brands like The Guardian saying polished video is simply not worth the ROI – means your Smartphone is more than enough.

Head to the brilliant Lottie Stevenson’s site for more tips on creating great video.

The rise and rise of Instagram Stories

2019 will see Instagram Stories overtake the news feed on social media. These ephemeral slides provide behind the scenes, personal videos, and fast-moving content to help your business tell its story. Brands and influencers have been quick to catch on. Again, think strategically about how to use this feature – a client recently commented “If I see another middle-aged banging on about her day…” No!

Use this as a way to reveal more about your backstory, brand purpose, vision, values, the people making the customer success happen. And connect back with your community.

Helen’s used Stories to build a brand as an influential content creator and blogger at @notaboutthekids. She’ll be focusing on things you need to know about Instagram in 2019 at our next session.

The beauty of being a small business is that we have the flexibility and adaptability to weave these strands into our communications right away. It’s how we differentiate ourselves, and lead the way in our own lanes, straight into 2019.