Prolific North feature: 'What I've Learnt' with Phil Marshall, Managing Director
If we’ve learnt something in 2019 it’s that anything can happen! Our expectations for the year have well and truly gone out the window, from England winning the Cricket World Cup to that Game of Thrones ending (we’re still in shock!).
So, we’re putting social media under the spotlight to see how 2019 trends fared against industry predictions. Dive back in time with us to spot the expert calls that came through right on time and the trends that managed to catfish us all.
The ‘T word’
Trust in brands was almost non-existent last year, but 2019 has seen the ‘T word’ have a social makeover. Experts predicted a year of building brand trust and introducing total transparency for followers. They weren’t wrong, brands have gone filter-free and we’re here for it. Real, honest and authentic content is pulling it out the bags for brands, getting consumers back on side by giving them the information they’re really after. Our social team’s favourite way to strengthen transparency has to be a behind the scenes sneak peek!
The year to engage
Social gurus also scored prediction points when it comes to engagement. Brands were told they’d be spending 2019 listening and interacting with their audiences. When platform algorithms altered this year, they had to do just that. This is largely due to a rejig of what was valued by the algorithm, with more importance allocated to comments and ‘real talk’ compared to the simpler ‘likes’. With social reach now dependent on engagement, brands can’t ignore the importance of involving consumers for any longer. It’s been a year full of chatter and we love that the ‘social’ aspect of social media is now back in business.
Time to entertain
This year users demanded entertainment more than ever before and you guessed it, experts told us that 2019 would be all about saying bye to boring! Brands have been going to new lengths to capture the attention of consumers. This has made it a super creative year for social with floods of videos, animations and stories taking over our feeds. One of our favourite ways to entertain has to be using stop-motion videos – by injecting life into ordinary stills, they make fun social posts you just can’t take your eyes off. We’ve also seen live videos working wonders for brands – creating eye-catching entertainment and playing on the inventible FOMO from events!
With engagement and trust high on the list of user priorities, we knew we were in for another year where influencers would conquer. It’s no surprise that the classic styles of influencing with a picture-perfect ‘Insta lifestyle’ just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, 2019 has introduced us to the micro-influencer – users who don’t necessarily have the high follow count you’d expect from your typical influencer. Their allure is their openness, genuine relatability and authenticity which allow them to attract a highly engaged audience that brands can tap into. Our client, Stoves, is killing it with micro influencers at the moment, working with foodie and interior figures like @tart_london and @poppy_loves_london to raise brand awareness across new audiences.
Time for new arrivals
Industry insiders hinted that 2019 could potentially have some new platform arrivals to stir things up in the social media world. Sadly, they may have got a bit ahead of themselves. It seems the big players in the game are still competing amongst themselves this year, yet to face any major challenges from a disrupting platform. That said, 2019 isn’t over just yet – with talk of further algorithm changes, Whatsapp ads and the rise of TikTok, the tail end of the year is sure to be anything but predictable.
It’s been yet another year of social catfishes and curveballs keeping us on our toes. Can anyone predict what’s in store next? Send us your best guesses on social @stmcreates (we dare you).
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