Throughout 2018, social media found itself under the hot light of public scrutiny and rarely exited those appearances with its dignity intact. Through congressional hearings and national news stories, much of the trust and goodwill given by the public was eroded away.

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However, despite the loss of trust, the number of social media users is up 13 percent in 2018. This means that businesses are poised to engage their existing customers in new ways to regain that trust, as well as reach out to new potential customers with their ongoing social media paid campaigns. Here are a few ways that can happen in 2019.

Trust, Privacy, and Authenticity

2018 was full of change within the social sphere, causing new opportunities and challenges for brands in the channels. According to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer Report, 60 percent of those polled no longer trust social media companies. Due to the lost trust in 2018, the hyper-personalized ad strategies may be less successful as they have been in the past. Consumers may find these campaigns or posts off-putting or “creepy” in today’s climate.

Consumers are also displaying a shift away from highly scripted, highly polished content to content that appears more authentic and spontaneous. This will allow brands to interact and relate with their customers on a more personal level, which can in turn foster more brand loyalty and regain trust in social media. Focusing on genuine interactions will allow brands to connect with customers on a more personal level to help foster brand loyalty and advocacy in ways that advertising cannot.

Stories

Tying into the shift toward spontaneous, in-the-moment content, Stories allow brands to display their content in a more “real-time” fashion allowing them to interact with consumers more authentically. Stories in general (including Instagram) are on the rise and have been for some time.

Tying into the shift toward spontaneous, in-the-moment content, Stories allow brands to display their content in a more “real-time” fashion allowing them to interact with consumers more authentically.

Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox is quoted in TechCrunch as saying that Stories are on their way to surpassing newsfeeds by next year. As of September 2018, Facebook reported 300 million combined users between Facebook and Messenger Stories, with an additional 400 million on Instagram Stories.

With the increase in users came the opportunity for new ad revenue. In late Q3 2018, Facebook rolled out a monetization strategy for Stories, allowing brands to add links and other monetization features to their stories.

Heading into 2019, the number of Stories users should continue to grow as will the ways for brands to utilize the feature to drive web traffic and product awareness.

1-on-1 Interactions

With a consumer focus on authenticity, 2019 will continue the trend of using social as a means to connect with businesses. In fact, 9 out of 10 people polled in a 2016 Twilio survey said that they would like to use messaging to communicate with a business, and 69 percent of those polled by Facebook in 2018 said that being able to communicate with a business through messaging helps them feel more confident about a brand.

Heading into 2019, businesses are poised to make a huge impact with their customers simply by utilizing the social channels they already use to have conversations with customers. If done well, existing customers will be further reinforced to stick with your brand, and potential customers will be encouraged to choose you over competitors as a result of the personal attention they receive through social messaging.

Utilizing social to answer questions or direct customers to a webpage or product can have a lasting impact on a person’s opinion regarding your brand or products.

Be an Early Adopter and Experiment

Just like with 2018, 2019 will see new opportunities and trends appear throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.

With social advertising becoming more crowded and more expensive, new avenues can provide a breath of fresh air for followers and for the brand.

With social advertising becoming more crowded and more expensive, new avenues can provide a breath of fresh air for followers and for the brand. Traditional social advertising will continue to grow and will continue to be the focal point of rising budgets in 2019. Don’t be afraid to try a new ad format or feature to see how your audience responds to it.

The tendency to stick to something that works and stay away from risk is a strong one. But in the ever-evolving world of social media, the need to grow and expand is an important aspect of success.

Be on the lookout for ways to improve and expand your advertising arsenal to reach new audiences and surprise long-time fans with new, engaging content. Branch into new social media channels that make sense for your brand.

For Example, Reddit

This channel is often overlooked because of ineffective paid advertising options and the “wild west of the internet” culture. However, according to Reddit’s Year in Review: 2018 report, 153 million posts were made and 1.2 billion comments were written by the 330 million active monthly users worldwide.

Reddit is a vast and largely untapped social channel with millions of users who are often conversing about your product or brand whether you’re involved or not. So why not involve yourself in the conversation?

Social Media: Now, Next, New Events Kicks Off 2019 Planning

While not all brands are suited for utilizing this social channel, those who are will find that the platform is ready to facilitate the honest and authentic interactions that customers are seeking. Properly engaging a Reddit audience can be challenging and may not provide the statistical ROI that is often required of social efforts, but it can help brands connect with their customers in a way that many cannot.

Leveraging social media for a brand to best engage its target audience in an authentic manner takes strategy and expertise. Discover how DEG connects brands to their customers by marketing to the moment on any channel.

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