Social Media in 2019: Instagram is losing likes, Facebook is turning to groups and LinkedIn is booming.
Social media platforms move a lot quicker than most people realise. Sure, you might notice a particularly large redesign or the release of a completely new feature, but you probably don’t notice the dozens of minor tweaks that Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media platforms make to their applications on a monthly basis. They are making these adjustments in line with social media trends, trying to anticipate the tools and features that users want before they even know that they want them.
That is why it is important to take a moment to reflect on social media marketing a few times throughout the year to consider what has changed on the platforms, and how we should alter our marketing strategies and techniques to reflect those changes.
In this article, I’m going to cover some of the biggest changes that business owners should be aware of when it comes to social media in 2019 and three major social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Facebook in 2019:
Facebook recently unveiled a new platform design at their annual F8 conference that favours Facebook Groups. If you’ve been on Facebook for personal use recently, you’ll be well aware that all of the activity and value for users is happening inside of Facebook Groups. The redesign makes it easier for users to locate and navigate to their favourite groups while also offering up recommendations for new groups to join.
As a business owner, the obvious question is ‘should I start a Facebook Group for my brand?’ and generally the answer to that is going to be ‘no’. Managing a successful Facebook Group takes a lot of work – not only do you have to create engaging and valuable content for the users but you also have to moderate all of the content and conversations that happen on the platform. While Facebook is looking at introducing some features that will enable group admins to monetise some of the activities in their group, it won’t be a big enough income stream to warrant the amount of time and effort it takes to create and maintain a successful Facebook group.
You haven’t missed out though – there are going to be other opportunities for business owners to jump on the Facebook Group bandwagon, through Facebook Ads. At the moment, you cannot target your Facebook ads towards Group members but it is heavily rumoured that that will change in the near future, and that many of the redesign and feature updates that Facebook have been making are specifically designed for the future introduction of paid Facebook Group advertising.
This is a great opportunity for business owners – you will be able to target your ads towards people in themed Facebook groups as well as people in local community groups.
Instagram in 2019:
Instagram is losing its likes! They are currently trialling the removal of a visible ‘like’ count on your Instagram posts. The reason for doing this is because they are trying to encourage greater levels of meaningful engagement – they want people to comment on content, to engage with it on a deeper level than just ‘liking’ it. You will still be able to see how many likes a post has received so that you can gauge its popularity, but your followers will no longer be able to see the tally.
There is a lot of chatter happening around this at the moment – a lot of people seem to be a bit panicked about it! But I think it is a step in the right direction; ‘likes’ are a very shallow metric that don’t reflect how engaged you audience are, or how much time they spend looking at your content, and hopefully removing this feature will force us to start looking at deeper and more insightful metrics to gauge the success of our content.
LinkedIn in 2019:
LinkedIn is growing faster than it ever has before. While most people have had a LinkedIn account for some years, they have mostly sat dormant, used only as an online CV. But the level of activity that is happening on LinkedIn is starting to increase greatly, as people are realising the benefits of establishing yourself as a well-known and respected thought leader within your industry.
The trick to success with LinkedIn is to create your own content specifically for that platform. Most people just post links to news articles and blog posts that are relevant to their industry or area of speciality, but it is the people who are creating content on and for LinkedIn that are seeing the most success. Whether that means writing a short ‘Pulse’ article that sits on your profile or shooting a quick little video where you discuss a solution you have for a common problem within your industry – people want more personalised content that establishes you as a thought leader, not a thought follower.
Social Media 2019 Recommendations:
In light of these social media in 2019 changes, my recommendations would be to jump onto Facebook and start looking for some groups that you might want to target future ads towards. Join the groups and start participating in the conversations and get your brand known. This will make the users in that group more open to your marketing messages when you start paying for advertisements in their group. It will also allow you to qualify the audience – to ensure that they are indeed your target market.
For Instagram, stop measuring your likes! Your likes count is largely effected by the hashtags that you use and many of the people who like your content don’t actually follow you. Take some time to look at who follows you and who is leaving comments or engaging with your posts and stories – publish more content for those people, because they are the ones that are more likely to end up purchasing from you.
And lastly, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, get on LinkedIn. Create a profile, not a resume. Yes, you should include your qualifications and work experience, but when it comes to the actual bio, try focusing on the problems that you solve for your customers (as opposed to a summary of your work history). Tell people what you can do for them in the future, not what you’ve done for others in the past!
LinkedIn will help you grow your professional network – it can put you in touch with other people in your industry so that you can share ideas and grow the industry together. It can put you in touch with potential new business partners, and it can help you establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry which can lead to other opportunities like speaking or writing gigs, awards, recognition and more.