The world of social media is constantly changing with the introduction of new features, trends and ways for businesses to reach customers. With an always online audience and a focus on personalised content, if you want to succeed on social media you need to make sure your up to date with all the latest trends.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the social media trends that you need to be aware of in the year ahead, and how to take advantage of these.

Stories will overtake the news feed

Based on the rise and growth of stories over the past couple of years it’s been predicted that stories will overtake the news feed as the primary way that people will share content on social media. This means that in-the-moment content will continue to grow in importance and popularity with customers engaging with brands that are authentic and provide meaningful content.

Short-lived, ephemeral content will capture the attention of millennials and generation Z who are looking for brands that have a real personality. Brands that use images, video and stories to show the human side of their business will win the attention of their audience and enjoy a higher level of engagement.

Social media ads will be a necessity

If you want to effectively reach more customers on social media in 2019 then you’re going to need to pay-to-play. Focus on creating ads that are tailored and personalised to your target audience as these will work a lot better than more generic adverts. Not sure where to start? Use your existing organic posts as a barometer to see what content resonates with your audience and use this as a template for your ads.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ad formats and test the different options to see which works best for your business. Instagram Stories ads, Facebook Messenger ads and Pinterest all offer alternative advert options for you to reach your target audience.

Focus on micro-influencers

We all have seen the effects influencers can have on helping brands reach their target audience but for most businesses the stars of YouTube, Instagram and Twitter are simply too expensive. This has led to a growth in micro-influencers who are helping business owners reach their precise audience. While the huge follower count of influencers is incredibly appealing for most businesses a more targeted approach will often lead to a better return on investment.

Micro-influencers have 10,000 or fewer followers but these people are genuinely interested in what they have to say. They are much more focused on a particular niche which makes them the ideal option for helping you get your message in front of the right people. With a much lower cost for their services, micro-influencers also offer small and medium business owners an affordable way to reach their target customers.

Timeliness

Now really is the time to make sure that you are listening out for mentions on social media as well as making sure you respond in a timely manner to all messages. People expect real-time online customer service when they reach out to businesses. Chatbots offer a way to provide 24/7 support for your customers and answer common customer queries from store opening times to returns policy and delivery costs.

As well as customer service real-time monitoring provides sales opportunities to introduce your brand to potential customers looking for products or services similar to those of your business. Tracking mentions of competitor keywords and terms can help you capture a sale in-the-moment and get your brand in front of prospective customers who may not have heard of your business.

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