5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Strategy in 2019, According to Hootsuite

Spoiler Alert: Stories are changing the game completely.

Authored by Raquel Guarino

Social media management platform Hootsuite came out with a report about the latest social trends. In their webinar "Social Trends You Can Put in Practice in 2019," they explained which strategies worked for major players and why. Based on their observations and data, they found 5 separate strategies that they believe can make a difference for your company.


1. Rebuild Trust

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was just one of the many privacy breaches to rock the social media sphere in 2018. Because of these and other incidents, 60% of global consumers no longer trust social media. In fact, trust in Facebook dropped significantly  this year.

The impact of this crisis means:

  • People are more conscious about who they’re interacting with.
  • Companies need to rethink influence and create communities with smaller, more intimate groups.
  • Traditional ideas about engagement must evolve and move away from a one-size-fits-all-networks approach.

Here's how your company can rebuild trust:

  • Partner with micro-influencers to engage more authentically with customers. This will improve the quality of your outreach and is more affordable than a major influencer would be. To find micro-influencers, Hootsuite suggests doing a hashtag search on Twitter or Instagram.
  • Build a Facebook group that targets niche interests and clearly identify the purpose of the group.
  • Run monthly Facebook Live Q&A sessions around commonly asked questions. This makes your company feel more human, authentic, and approachable to customers.


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2. Storify Your Social Media

Stories, like the ones you see on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, have blown up this year. With nearly a billion users sharing stories on social media, Facebook predicts Stories will overtake newsfeeds within the next year. This shift represents a move from text-based platforms to networks that are exclusive to mobile. Stories are growing in popularity because they capture in-the-moment experiences and feel real, immediate, and personal.

The impact of Stories means:

  • The lo-fi feel and look of Stories is on the rise. Less polished Stories generally perform better than heavily produced media.
  • It can be hard to quantify the exact impact of Stories on the bottom line.
  • Because it's hard to quantify, expect new tools in the future to better understand the metrics behind Stories.
  • Early adoption of Stories generally has a bigger payoff (based on case studies done on The Guardian and Dunkin Donuts), so don't be afraid to experiment with new Story technologies to give your followers a new experience.

Here's how you can Storify your social:

  • Create Story-specific content on your favorite platforms. 
  • On Instagram, use the Stories highlight feature to organize them by category and to keep them permanently.
  • Add UTM codes to links in your Instagram Stories to track your success. (At the time of posting, this is currently only available to verified accounts. If your account is not verified, Hootsuite suggests adding a link with a UTM code to your Instagram bio).
  • Experiment with AR and custom GIFs in Stories to enhance your pictures and grab people's attention.


3. Close the Ads Gap

2018 marked a peak of the pay-to-play era on social media, with marketers increasing ad budgets and producing more ads than ever. This ad influx has contributed to the rise of ad costs and competition. Facebook increased their click-through rate costs by 61% and their cost per impression saw a 112% jump. On top of these obstacles, many millennials use ad blockers, so they can't view your ads anyway.

The impact of the ads gap means:

  • You need to invest in creativity in order to rise above the noise--only engaging ads will convert.
  • Ads should be personal but not intrusive or creepy. 
  • It's important to master new social advertising formats that don’t annoy users.

Here's how to close the ad gap:

  • Understand and target the right audience. Each campaign you have should target a group based on interest.
  • Invest in high quality content. If you're unsure what's high quality and what isn't, repurpose concepts from top performing organic content.
  • Embrace new ad formats. Doing this can tap into customer curiosity and prevent ad fatigue. Plus, the early adoption of new formats can have a great payoff for your business.


4. Understand the Social E-Commerce Market

Social shopping technologies are helping to bring social media and e-commerce together. This is especially true for younger buyers who like to shop online. Instagram's shoppable posts let users buy products without ever leaving the app, while Facebook's Marketplace is being used by more than 800 million people in 70 countries.

The impact of the social e-commerce market means:

  • Instagram's shoppable posts are playing a new role in the e-commerce sphere with the advent of mobile video shopping. In one report, 74% of viewers drew connections between a social video and making a purchase.
  • Social e-commerce should be live, interactive, and seamless. Livestreaming is a popular way to simulate this experience.
  • Videos can help customers make informed purchases without going to a physical store.

Here's how to take advantage of this growing market:

  • Set up your Instagram account to create shoppable posts. High quality images and videos can help potential customers browse products.
  • Share your products in action and in different scenarios so customers can get a feel for how the product would fit into their lives.
  • Livestream your product demos on both Facebook and Instagram.
  • Experiment with AR to showcase your product and capture attention.


5. Get Into Messaging

In 2018, customers demanded better one-on-one social experiences. The top messaging apps now have a combined total of nearly 5 billion monthly active users, and there are more messaging app users than social network users worldwide. This data captures a shift of people moving from public to private spaces, and it means consumer expectations from companies are changing as well. 90% of customers say they would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses, while 69% of U.S. customers say that directly messaging a brand made them feel more confident in that brand.

The impact in increased messaging means:

  • Consumers are retreating to private spaces and prefer to have higher value conversations. They also want to avoid ads if possible.
  • There is an increasing need for companies to have unified inboxes (if you're interested in a platform with a unified inbox, check out Help.com's customer service software).
  • AI and bots are on the rise, which gives humans space to focus on high value exchanges.

Here's how to penetrate messaging:

  • Use messaging apps and a unified customer service platform to streamline customer service queries into one place.
  • Post support hours and time zones in your bio when communicating on social media so customers don't get disappointed if you don't answer them immediately.
  • Set up bots or in-app assistants for frequently asked questions or transactional exchanges, but don't expect them to replace people. 
  • Run creative social media campaigns that incorporate one-on-one messaging.


Are you using any of these strategies already? Which do you think will

have the greatest impact on your social media presence?

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