If you’ve worked in communications for more than a hot minute, you’ve discovered that technology doesn’t wait for you to catch up.
As soon as you think you’ve figured out how to engage effectively on social media or how to get your website to score well on search, the rules change.
That’s especially true today, as online and mobile technology continues to evolve. If you’re not keeping up with the changes, you’re likely to be falling behind.
Here are 5 trends that we’ve been paying attention to that are likely to impact your communications in 2019:
1. Facebook's Faceplant?
If you use Facebook Pages as part of your social media marketing strategy, you’ve likely noticed that it’s a lot harder to get people to like, comment, and share your posts.
The reason isn’t you. It’s Facebook.
A study by Buffer found that top Facebook Pages have seen a 50 percent decline in engagement over an 18-month period — despite the fact that most top brands are posting a lot more regularly to their pages.
That alarming decline in engagement is largely the result of changes made by Facebook to its algorithm that gives posts from your friends higher value than posts from brands.
Algorithms aside, though, I see this as just the start of Facebook’s diminishing value to communicators. Facebook is losing trust — and users — and I don’t see that trend reversing itself.
With that in mind, we’re advising many of our clients to put fewer eggs in their Facebook basket and instead place them elsewhere.
2. User-Generated Video for Grownups
It’s no secret that authentic, user-generated video is often much more powerful than the big-budget, carefully-created videos that are often created by nonprofits and businesses.
And it’s getting easier for organizations that don’t appeal to younger audiences to encourage their supporters and customers to create accessible, sharable videos.
New tools such as Gather Voices are helping nonprofits and small businesses encourage their supporters and customers to shoot and publish short videos right from their phones — and you don’t need fancy editing skills to get them processed and posted.
We’re testing Gather Voices as part of a contest for the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum — and we are looking forward to sharing what we've learned later this winter.
3. Livestreaming Goes Mainstream
An estimated 150 million people are using Twitch each month to watch people play video games, make crafts or engage in activities like singing and dancing.
And lest you dismiss Twitch and other live streaming platforms as playgrounds for the young, consider this: nonprofits like Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America are using live streaming to raise millions.
If you aren’t yet exploring live streaming as a communications channel, it might be time to start. It’s a great place for nonprofits and companies alike to build partnerships that can help bolster their bottom lines.
4. The Changing Face of Search
If you’re only using traditional SEO tactics to help drive visitors to your website, you might be missing out a on major shift in how Google is serving up search results.
Google My Business — a free tool that integrates with Google Maps and is responsible for most of the “above the fold” results that are served up to users when they conduct searches.
This shift is especially important for businesses that have physical storefronts and rely on location-based searches to drive customers into their shops.
As you build your online and mobile strategy for 2019, it’s time to assess whether you’re leveraging Google My Business, and whether it might be worth investing some of your resources in building your listing or investing in a service like ASAPMaps.
5. Unlikely Content Marketing Channels
Finally, as we pursue content marketing and earned media strategies for nonprofits and businesses, we’re increasingly finding great opportunities with business-to-consumer and business-to-business web channels.
For instance, a number of national brands such as American Express and Progressive Insurance produce regular, how-to content aimed at small business owners. And they’re regularly looking for expert sources who can provide insights on topics of interest to these markets.
If you’re looking to build your own thought leadership presence, it’s worth going beyond your own channels and traditional media outlets and finding niche channels that might help you connect directly with your target audiences.
What trends are you watching in 2019? I’d love to hear what has you excited as we head into the New Year. Shoot me a note to chat!