2019 Social Media Predictions: How To Make Your Marketing Deliver The Best Results

2019 social media predictionsDoes your marketing really need social media in 2019?

Specifically are you worried about:

As a result do you wonder:

Can I invest my marketing budget elsewhere to yield better results?

Despite these worries, social media remains key to your 2019 marketing and business plans.

Social media provides entryways, visibility and engagement that you can’t get with other marketing or media options.

Further, it’s increasing share of marketing budget means social media must show results in financial terms.

So what are you going to do to keep your job? (That’s what you were thinking–right???)

Use these ten 2019 Social Media Predictions to guide your planning. They include data and actionable marketing tactics to help you succeed!

Ten 2019 Social Media Predictions (TL;DR)

  1. Consumer trust continues to erode causing lower social media use.
  2. Ever increasing amounts of social media interactions go private. reducing trackability and future communications.
  3. Social media remains a marketing necessity for audience access, visibility and community.
  4. Visual, video and audio content remain hot across social media platforms.
  5. Social media pay-to-play increases as does your social media budget.
  6. Secondary platforms gain importance, visibility and viability.
  7. US businesses must showcase offerings and provide customer service to attract prospects and sales.
  8. Social media breaks out of its business silo and gets integrated across the organization.
  9. Influencers remain relevant but businesses increasingly tap micro-influencers.
  10. Social media metrics increasingly need to show profitable results.

2019 social media predictions


2019 Social Media Prediction #1


Consumer trust continues to erode causing lower social media use.Click To Tweet


Skip the corporate-speak:

  • Your audience views social, search, influencers and owned or brand content as media.
How People Define Media -Edelman Trust Barometer -Chart (2018)

How People Define Media – Edelman Trust Barometer (2018)

According to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer:

  • 65% of respondents use social media feeds, search and news apps to get news.
  • Average trust in social media and search declined 11 percentage points to 42%.

Social Media Bottom Line:

Involve your audience and employees to increase trust.

  • 63% rate technical experts as credible. So, borrow authority from internal specialists.
  • 61% rate academic experts as credible. Tap professors and their research to validate your content.
  • 54% rate “a person like me” as credible, an all time low. But, don’t confuse “People like me” with family, friends and colleagues.
  • 47% rate employees as credible. Translation: Get employees involved to build trust.
  • 44% rate CEOs as credible.

Who customers trust


Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Safeguard personal and financial data. For 85% of US customers, protecting privacy and safeguarding personal information influences brand loyalty (Accenture).
  • Value readers’ attention and email addresses. When you enter their content inner circle, deliver high value, promotion-free consistent content.
  • Ask employees and customers to create and distribute your content and social media messages.


2019 Social Media Prediction #2


Increasingly social media interactions go private reducing trackability and future communications.Click To Tweet


This private social trend dates back to at least 2014 when one-third of shares left the social media ecosystem (AddThis).

  • 21% shared just the URL
  • 7%% used email to share content.
  • 6% printed content to read or share.

Content sharing and engagement


2 Options for private social media:

  1. Dark social shares consist of copying and pasting links into other communications. Then sharing this information independent of sharing buttons.
    71% of Social Shares are Dark

    Further based on data from GetSocial.io:

    Dark social accounts for 71% of shares and has exceeded Facebook shares since July 2018. Click To TweetDark Social Shares: Largest Social Traffic Source

  2. Messenger and closed social shares like Facebook Messenger,  WhatsApp and Slack.
    WhatsApp, Email & Messenger drive more social shares than Facebook

Social Media Bottom Line:

Private and dark social sharing understate results.


Because your information may be shared without UTM codes or content gating.

As a result you can’t capture end-user information. But it helps to add UTMs to private sharing buttons and links.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Include off-ramps to tailored landing pages at multiple points in your content. But focus all calls-to-action on one single action to maximize results.
  • Add relevant and easy-to-remember URLs to visuals, videos and podcasts. Help newbies find your content when presented differently or out-of-context.


2019 Social Media Prediction #3


Despite increasingly lower results, social media remains a marketing necessity for audience access, visibility and community.Click To Tweet


At a minimum, social media provides access to your potential audience where they spend time!

As digital time shifts to smartphones and mobile time goes to apps, businesses follow using social media apps to reach their installed base. This translates to Facebook and Google apps. (Note: Facebook’s WhatsApp has low US usage.)

Mobil Apps by Audience Penetration

Further, users focus on very few mobile apps.

As a result, you increasingly need these social media apps to reach your potential audience. On the positive side, messenger apps offer one-to-one, one-to-few and contextually relevant communication delivery through the use of AI.

Beyond mobile apps, remain visible and accessible on major social media platforms since your audience seeks answers there. In face, one-third prefer to get customer service delivered via social media (Sprout Social) Further, many expect you to respond when they ask.

People's Top Choice for customer Care

Also, you must appear where prospects seek competitors and substitute products and services.


Social Media Bottom Line:

Despite reduced performance, you need social media remains integral to your overall marketing strategy and plans.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Diversify content and communications distribution beyond social media. Build owned media and email lists. Also add content syndication and guest posting to expand content distribution.
  • Optimize content marketing for search findability.
    Remember, Google Images is the second largest search engine after Google!

    2018 Search Market Share Chart via Sparktoro

  • Send personalized communications with AI. To do this, use data tracking and analytics to transform and personalize communications.



2019 Social Media Prediction #4


Visual, video and audio content remain hot across social media platforms. Click To Tweet


Stand out in social medial streams with video and images. 


Photos and images are easier and cheaper to create.

Further 77% of businesses place video on social media. (Vidyard)

Content Format Usage

How respondents use different content formats-2018 Social Media Examiner Research


Short of budget?

Get your audience to follow you to live-streaming social platforms. For example, Madalyn Sklar gets her Twitter Chats followers to move from Twitter to Facebook Live.

2019 Social Media Predictions

Madalyn Sklar moves her audience from Twitter to Facebook Live in real time

Further, add short-form video to attract attention and shares like Aaron Orendorff, Andy Crestodina and Randy Frisch do with short video calls-to-action on LinkedIn. (Use Andy Crestodina’s 9-step guide to learn how.)

Aaron Orendorff increased social sharing by adding new LinkedIn Video to promote republished article

While audio remain under reported, when my sister who has an hour plus commute listens to podcasts and my buttoned-downed financial advisor podcasts – it’s time to pay attention!

Actionable Social Media Tactics

  • Use iTunes and Google to make audio content visible. If the audio content has related visuals consider making a short video teaser to share on social media.
  • Transform road-tested content into other social media formats to reach new audiences. Example: InstaNovels
  • Create new visual content to spotlight existing video content. 
  • Use your blog to distribute audio and video content. Add tracking to discover traffic sources.


2019 Social Media Prediction #5


Social media pay-to-play increases as does your social media budget to cover these costs. Click To Tweet


Like other businesses, social media platforms face pressure to show increasing revenues and profitability.

Why should you care?

Because social media platforms continue to reduce organic visibility while increasing advertising costs. Further, Facebook has signaled reaching the limits on advertising availability.

But these moves by themselves won’t satisfy investors. Because most social media platforms only have one revenue source, advertising. They need other  media options. Specifically, subscriptions and other ancillary products (such as conferencing.)

Media Definition - Revenue Generation-Chart-Heidi Cohen

In contrast, LinkedIn gets revenue from advertising, subscriptions, HR support and training.

Expect social media platforms to create new offerings based on the power and value of their audience data. (BTW – I predicted this back when Facebook first went public in 2012!)

Social Media Bottom Line:

  • Invest in social media advertising to supplement organic and community participation.
  • Start with test ad budgets before expanding your spend. As a result, you can modify old ad presentations and shift timing to yield maximum results.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Allocate budget for social media advertising. But focus where your audience participates.
  • Target and remarket social media advertising to improve results cost-effectively. Always seek new ways to boost advertising effectiveness.
  • Take advantage of social media platform data. Where possible, capture and download results for future targeting.
  • Monitor social media advertising campaigns in real-time. Then stop them when results fall off.
  • Include presentation and targeting tests in every social media advertising campaign. Focus on finding incremental improvements.


2019 Social Media Prediction #6


Since established social media networks keep their top positions, secondary platforms become increasingly important, visible and viable.Click To Tweet


As a result, opportunities remain for new players in well defined niches that provide community and value for participants.

The key to success:

  • The ability to attract sufficient share of audience attention over time.  To this end, provide value to your community before you generate revenues.

While major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest require tailored channel strategies, use secondary platforms for targeted marketing campaigns.

Specifically to:

  • Support content amplification and distribution. Use content sharing options like Reddit, Growth Hackers and StubbleUpon. But become an active community member before sharing your content.

    Social Media Marketing Tip - Nadya Khoja Example

    Content Distribution Case Study – Nayda Khoja

  • Broaden content publishing options. Tap into Medium’s broad audience for long form content or Tumblr for short form content.
  • Participate in communities. For example use Quora to gain visibility for answering questions.
  • Monitor and contribute to relevant rating and review sites. Depending on your business, use these sites as entryways to potential customers. For example, TripAdvisor  offers reviews and photographs to travelers.
  • Deliver and curate content and news. Flipboard, for example, has gained prominence especially for media entities.

BTW, don’t forget that your blog is owned social media. So use its social media functionality.

Social Media Bottom Line:

  • Use secondary social media platforms to fulfill specific marketing objectives.
  • Also tap targeted niche audiences for secondary social media platforms like Twitch.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Use secondary content sharing sites to support on-going content distribution. Expect this need to increase as content marketers focus on extending the life of road tested content.
  • Participate in secondary social media platforms to build audience and community.


2019 Social Media Prediction #7


While buyers don’t use social commerce in the US yet, businesses must showcase offerings and provide customer service to attract prospects and sales. Click To Tweet


70% of Chinese millennials purchase directly from social media while their US peers complete transactions on retailers’ sites.

To attract prospects and buyers be visible on social media to stay top-of-mind for competitive and substitute products.

As the data shows, customers use social media but seal the deal off-of-social media.

Since shoppers turn to social media:

  • 56% of participants follow brands on social media.
  • 55% of participants shop on social media. (Note: For many, this translates to initial purchase research.)
  • 48% participants interact with brands on social media. This includes contacting customer service.
  • 42% research new brands and products on social media. (GlobalWebIndex)


Social Media Bottom Line:

Continue to test new commerce options such as Instagram’s Shoppable Posts, Facebook’s Marketplace and Pinterest’s buyable pins. Since the first companies to succeed gain an advantage. 

Further provide purchase-related content BUT skip the sales talk. 

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Develop explainer videos and demos that work well with video and live streaming. Also transform text into live streaming content.
  • Create positive customer experiences on social media to build trust and relationships. To this end, try live video chat and “See now, buy now”.
  • Use high quality user-generated content since prospects like to see others sharing their experiences.


2019 Social Media Prediction #8


Social media breaks out of business silos and gets integrated across the organization.Click To Tweet


Social media goes across your business:

  • Marketing. Supports brand awareness, community building and engagement, content, advertising and ecommerce.
  • Sales. Sources potential leads, warms prospects and expands relationships.
  • PR and investor relations. Monitors what’s said about your firm, employees, influencers, customers and others. Since related or past issues may surface.
  • Thought leadership. Goes beyond your c-suite.
  • Customer service. Offers support across platforms.
  • Employee recruitment. Fills open positions.
  • Employee advocacy. Shares content and business messages.
  • Legal. Facilitates time-sensitive decisions.
  • Finance. Translates social media activity into business results.
  • Technology. Moves communications and data seamlessly through internal systems.


45% of participants use social media for professional networking. @GlobalWebIndex Click To Tweet


Social media supports functions across your organization. Chart via Hootsuite


Social Media Bottom Line:

Social media extends to every employee and element of your business. As a result, it requires organizational guidelines, processes and compliance.


Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Document and distribute social media guidelines. Define acceptable and unacceptable communications on social media for internal and external participants.
  • Train employees to use social media and related tools. Make them look good as business representatives.
  • Use internal communications to distribute content and product information with employees. Encourage them to share on social media.
  • Create processes to improve communications distribution and engagement. Ask employees for their input.
  • Add social media participation to job descriptions. But don’t expect employees to share company messages on personal accounts!


2019 Social Media Prediction #9


Social media influencers remain relevant but businesses increasingly tap micro-influencers, and platforms change.Click To Tweet


Take note:
Social media influencer marketing has moved from attracting attention through marcom and PR to a form of advertising.

Top social media platforms for influencer marketing (Linqia):

  • 92% of marketers use Instagram for its easy-to-consume visual/video content.
  • 77% of marketers use Facebook. Despite its challenges, Facebook’s massive reach and related data make it a viable choice.
  • 71% of marketers use blogs. Blogs offer owned audiences as well as supporting search efforts.


Take care:

While using micro-influencers and nano-influencer with deeper follower relations may appear to drive better engagement.


You still need to reach enough people to yield measurable results. When influencer agency, Activate used micro-influencers who had larger, more relevant audiences than nano-influencers. They drove 25% more impressions with less content.

Marketers’ biggest challenges with social media influencers:

  • 76% of respondents can’t tell if their influencer investment yields ROI (Linqia). So businesses still use  easy-to-measure tracking like engagement instead of financially-oriented metrics like conversions or sales. 

    Top influencer marketing challenges according to Linqia (2018 chart)

  • 49% of respondents worry about changing social media algorithms (Linqia). Note: This is consistent with 2019 B2B Content Marketing research.

Social Media Bottom Line:

Qualify influencers, their audiences, platform(s) and content to insure that they align with your company and brand.


Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Tap internal influencers such as technical experts and customers. Go beyond helping them create content, build their standing with their peers.
  • Build relationships influencers to support content marketing. As Content Chemistry author, Andy Crestodina says, “A partner in content creation is a partner in content distribution.”


2019 Social Media Prediction #10


Social media metrics increasingly need to show profitable results using the language of business. #socialmediaClick To Tweet


In case you didn’t get the memo:
There’s no longer any social media free lunch.

Social media for business runs on money.

At a minimum, social media requires budget for:

  • Employees or freelancers to be available and engage on social media
  • Quality content with multiple presentations in different formats
  • Paid advertising support and access to social network data
  • Monitoring, creation and scheduling tools for ongoing content promotion
  • Tracking and analytical support

As it gets integrated across the organization, social media drives broader business goals.

Before you jump into social media metrics, look at the metrics and data used by journalists. Learn from media experts how to track your results. (Reuters Institute of the Study of Journalism.)

Beyond managing brand reputation and averting PR crises, marketing must show improved bottom line results from social media efforts. Ideally these results translate to financial terms.

As a result, you need to:

  • Build an audience house file with contact information. Specifically create an email list where recipients have opted in.
  • Attract qualified leads that will convert into buyers.
  • Complete transactions. While social commerce continues to expand, most buyers go to a retailer’s site to complete their purchase.

So what business benefits does social media yield?

Don’t ask most businesses since almost 70% can’t measure ROI! (Hootsuite)

Social Media Bottom Line:

To support larger budgets, improve your social media tracking and measurement. Work with internal systems, analytics and financial teams to improve your results.

Further, use social media specific tools to monitor the landscape and track results.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Include a call-to-action and tailored landing pages with tracking codes. At a minimum do this for all social media advertising.
  • Add website, customer service and physical contact information to social media profiles.


2019 Social Media Predictions Conclusion

For 2019 and beyond, the social media ecosystem becomes more competitive for both platforms and businesses.


Social media has grown up.

As a result:

Top players fight to retain their audiences and stay relevant. At the same time, they must test new options to generate more and more revenues without pissing off participants.

Both B2C and B2B businesses must spend more. Their budgets not only support marketing and PR goals but also reach customers and employees where they spend time.

But social networks may change their algorithms without notice. As a result, you’ll occasionally have to scramble to adjust your plans and tactics.

Even if you follow these 2019 social media predictions and use these actionable tactics, you’ll still face uncertainty.

But at a minimum, protect your organization with social media guidelines and crisis plans.

Then put your 2019 social media plan together.

Even better, work with your peers across your organization to improve your social media results.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


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