6 Social Media Trends to Keep Your Eye on Heading Into the New Year

Gone are the seemingly simpler days of Myspace and LiveJournal

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Approximately 2.77 billion. That’s the estimated number of people that will be using social media by 2019.

We’ve come a long way from the days of Myspace in the early 2000s and from when there were less than a billion social media users in 2010. Social media continues to change and evolve, and social networks today aren’t just where you hang out to chat with friends. Today, social media can make or break a business, and it is important to pay careful attention to social media trends as they are evolving and look for ways to key into them.

Below are six social media trends you should watch out for in 2019.

Rise in social commerce

The media went abuzz when Amazon hit a $1 trillion market cap. Interestingly, however, very little of this growth can be attributed to social media. And that’s significant because social media is a big deal, particularly in developing nations. As research by PWC and GlobalWebIndex show, a trend where users are beginning to shop heavily through social media in the Asia Pacific is laying the groundwork for social commerce to gain traction in the west. In 2019 and beyond, we can expect to see a significant rise in social commerce both in the west and in developing nations.

Social media users will have more control over their privacy

This year has been a very interesting year for privacy. GDPR became a law. Several high-profile privacy breaches on the social front came to light and have put major tech companies in a tight spot: Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook sharing user data with mobile phone makers and the Google+ data bug that became a catalyst for the shutdown of Google+. Tech giants are beginning to realize that they can no longer get away with ignoring user privacy.

Gone are the days when social media platforms will use their services to hold users’ privacy ransom. In 2019 and beyond, social media platforms will realize that they have to give users a level of control over their privacy to be able to play.

Social media will start to integrate blockchain

There has been a lot of noise about blockchain this year thanks to the crypto explosion that happened late last year and into early this year. As challenges compound for major social media platforms, they are realizing that blockchain is the most efficient way to solve some of these challenges.

Major tech giants, including Facebook, have formed a blockchain team and have begun investing in blockchain. Blockchain can be used to solve several social media problems, including fake news, access in censored regions and engagement. In 2019 and beyond, we can expect to see some adoption of blockchain by mainstream social media.

More AI in social media

Another trend we can look forward to in 2019 is a rise in the use of artificial intelligence in social media in 2019. Chatbots are already a big hit, with Facebook Messenger leading the pack. Businesses have been using them to increase sales and engagement while at the same time reducing physical involvement in customer support. In 2019, we can expect to see more proliferation of chatbots and more applications of artificial intelligence in social media in general.

Increased vetting on social media platforms

Facebook and Twitter have had to testify before Congress in 2018, and the Trump administration has suggested regulating tech companies in general. For so long, social media platforms have enjoyed the freedom to turn a blind eye without consequences but all that will change in 2019. Toward the midterms, Facebook announced that it will be deleting posts that contain misinformation aimed at elections, and it has intensified actions at removing pages and accounts it feels are spreading fake news. In 2019, you can expect increased vetting of social media posts and accounts from social media sites.

Rise of micro-influencers

Influencer marketing on social media isn’t a new trend, but brands are only just starting to take micro-influencers seriously, and we can expect to see more of this in 2019 and beyond.

Micro influencers are social media users with a following of between 1,000 and 90,000 that do not have celebrity status. Some studies have found that engagement from micro influencers is 60 percent higher than that of traditional celebrities and that conversions from their efforts can yield a 22.2 percent weekly average increase.

Not only are micro-influencers cheaper, but they are more effective. In 2019, you can expect to see micro influencers increase in prominence.