Social media is an ever-changing game. Top brands and businesses know they need to stay ahead of the curve to make sure the right audiences see their content on social platforms.

And, as savvy social media marketers know, that means adjusting to those who make the social media game rules: the platforms themselves.

According to Recode, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat aren't adding new users like they used to. That could mean these companies may start to charge more money for ads in order to generate more income. Or, Recode notes, there could be an increase in ads delivered to users.

Either way, your social media strategy needs to be top notch in 2019 if your content - paid or organic - is going to deliver ROI and reach social media users.

Here are five social media trends to follow in 2019 to make your content do just that.

1. Video will continue to grow.

Social Media Today reports that some experts believe that soon 80 percent of what users consume online will be video content. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 73 percent of Americans engage with YouTube. That's a ton of people who your business could be reaching.

But video is increasing in popularity on other platforms, too, especially Facebook and Instagram. By creating videos for each platform, you can deliver a message to an audience that, by the looks of those numbers, is ready to watch.

Plus, by using video, your brand can begin to build and show off its personality better than in other forms of content.

2. Go live.

Though videos posted after they've been recorded and touched up are likely to grow in popularity, the same can be said for live videos. When a business or brand posts a live video, its targeted audience gets that "in the moment" feeling. Your most loyal customers will want to know what you've got to say.

Also, many platforms promote live videos really effectively. Facebook and Instagram, for example, will often notify people who are interested in your content when you're going live. Deliver a solid and somewhat entertaining message and you'll have a hooked audience ready to hear what you've got to say.

Go beyond Facebook Live videos, too. Engage with your audience with live Q&A chats on Twitter and Facebook. Post live video stories on Instagram also.

As noted by Social Media Today, it's OK to experiment with live video content. Users know that live can be tricky. Mistakes happen. Just be sure to learn from any hiccups and address repeated technical difficulties.

3. Invest in and learn about chatbots

If you spend a lot of time online (who doesn't?), you've probably noticed many social media platforms and brand websites have started incorporating automated chat features. These "chatbots," as they're called, use some top notch AI to do anything from answer frequently asked questions to offer recommendations.

And the chatbots aren't going away.

Even social media platforms, such as Facebook and its Messenger service, have released features for brands to develop their own chatbots to help communicate with followers.

One clear benefit of using chatbots to help manage your messaging is that followers can get answers right away. Today, there are plenty of services that can help you build a chatbot with pre-programmed responses to questions your customers typically ask.

For businesses and brands, that saves time and money. You don't need to have a staff member constantly on the clock or on-call to answer general customer questions. Juniper Research, a firm that analyzes the tech sector, estimates chatbots could save $8 billion annually by 2022.

For the users, that means they don't have to wait. Instant gratification means a lot in today's fast-paced culture. Even when the user knows they're interacting with a chatbot, a well-designed chatbot still leaves them with a personalized service feeling.

4. Private messaging will be key to customer service.

Messaging continues to be a popular feature of many social platforms. According to Twilio, in a global survey of 6,000 people, nine out of 10 consumers would like the ability to privately message a business. Also, Hootsuite notes that most people in the U.S. prefer messaging as a customer service channel.

That data backs up the fact that you need to be messaging with your audience and customers. Plus, as the desire for personalized conversations increases on social platforms, messaging will continue to be a go-to channel.

Though messaging is of course related to chatbots, don't look past the value of letting someone who is interacting with your business that they're messaging with a real person. This creates a more personalized, intimate and highly valuable experience for the person sending you a message.

5. Partner with micro-influencers.

You've probably heard the term "influencer" if you have been keeping up with social media marketing trends in the past few years.

If not, an "influencer" are basically social media stars with a very large following of dedicated fans. Brands have begun partnering with influencers in recent years to create sponsored content where the influencer recommends a specific product or service. Influencers, in this sense, are great partners for large brands who want to reach a large national or even global audience.

However, there's recently been a new type of influencer popping up across social media platforms. These are micro-influencers. They normally have smaller but still highly engaged followers. Micro-influencers focus their content on a niche or location.

According to Hootsuite, they're often considered more trustworthy by consumers because of this focus. Social Media Today points out that many micro-influencers are incredibly engaged with their followers and are considered experts in their respective niches.

All of this makes micro-influencers a more affordable, more targeted option for brands and businesses wanting to try something new to reach their desired audiences. If there's synergy between the brand and the micro-influencer's niche, then it's an option worth exploring.

Get results from your social media strategy

At Emagine, we help businesses create and execute social media strategies that deliver results. We'll help you build a meaningful brand across social platforms that connects with followers, creates leads and converts sales.

Give us a call at (712) 262-6674 or send a message to learn how Emagine can work with your business.

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