8 social media trends for government communicators in 2019
8 Social MediaTrends
to Watch in 2019
Arik C. Hanson
Oct. 11, 2018
• 20+ years experience;
solo since 2009;
• Blogger, podcaster,
e-newsletter maker, board
member, event organizer
It’s (almost) social media trend season!
Most will talk about:
• The importance of video! Yes, THAT video!
• The rise of AI
• Chatbot this, Chatbot that
Instead, today we will:
• Discuss 8 pragmatic social media trends for 2019.
• Talk about how those trends might impact YOU!
• Ideas on action steps to take as a result
Trend #1: Instagram will take over
Facebook as the new social home base
Numbers tell the story.
• Instagram just surpassed 1 billion users. The only
other platform not named Facebook to do it.
• 71% of U.S. business now use Instagram
• Instagram is THE platform for influencers–80%
prefer the platform for brand collaborations
• 59% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram
Meanwhile, over on Facebook…
• Facebook saw a 5.6 percent decline in
users between 12 and 17 years old.
• They also saw a 5.8 percent decline in
users between 18 and 24 years old. This is the first
time Facebook has seen a decrease in users since
• Facebook usage dropped–for the first time ever–
from 67% to 62% among Americans 12+ years
Numbers don’t tell the whole story:
• Facebook is an increasingly toxic place for many
users. #DeleteFacebook is real.
• Facebook has taken a beating in the media over the
• Facebook has lost it’s “cool” factor.
Facebook: 105 engagements per post
Instagram: 10,713 engagements per post
Facebook: 445 engagement per post
Instagram: 4,866 engagements per post
Facebook: 707 engagements per post
Instagram: 23,255 engagements per post
What about a more relevant example?
13.2 engagements per post (last 10 posts)
54.3 engagements per post
(last 10 posts)
That’s a 400 PERCENT increase in
engagements from Facebook to
• Review your Facebook and Instagram numbers—
where are you seeing the most “bang for your
• Consider experimenting with Instagram ads, if you
• Consider shifting more time/energy to Instagram—
but remember who’s spending time there.
Trend #1a: Instagram will increasingly
become all about Stories
Again, consider the numbers:
• By last count, Instagram Stories now has 300 million
daily active users. That’s more users than Reddit,
Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn.
• Stories have also reportedly increased the time
users spend on Instagram, with an average of 32
minutes per day for those users under 25 years old,
and 24 minutes for users 25 and older.
And, Insta continues to invest:
• “Story Highlights” – create branded graphics for your
page and save your stories permanently by
• “Swipe up” – for verified business accounts with
10,000 or more followers. Gives brands the ability to
drive traffic to owned web properties and sites.
• Enhanced metrics – Host of in-app metrics for
Stories including impressions, engagements, taps
forward, taps back and exits.
Why haven’t brands jumped in yet?
• Staffing and resource challenges.
• Brand governance processes don’t allow for fast
• “Engagement” looks different on Stories.
• Experiment, learn, experiment some more.
• Track results: Impressions, click forwards, click
• Consider involving others (i.e., takeovers, other
staff, local influencers)
Trend #2: Scrutiny over video metrics will
ratchet up a notch
• First: Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.
• Second: Current view metrics on Facebook,
Instagram and LinkedIn are pretty soft
o Like, 3-10 seconds soft (on Facebook and
o Auto-play is in play
• The pressure for social ROI will increase
Case in point:
8,200 engagements = .0008 engagement rate
• Consider: Is the cost to produce more video in 2019
worth it? Are 10-second view metrics enough?
• Focus on more meaningful video metrics:
o Average watch time
o Post engagements (likes+comments+shares)
Trend #3: Private social networking will
start to impact 2019 plans
The stats tell the story: Messenger
use WAY up
WhatsApp users have doubled in just
At the same time: Facebook engagement
has declined 50% in last 18 months
• Instagram investing more in its direct messaging
o Video chat
o Poll functionality
o 250,000+ active users (as of 2017)
• Facebook testing the notion of deleting the
For now, ask yourself these questions:
• Do I start to adjust expectations with internal
stakeholders re: engagements? Should engagements
be a key metric in 2019?
• Should I explore the possibility of using more
automation to respond to more inbound private
messages? Should I look at chatbots more closely?
• What do I do about organic social media? Do I care?
Does this impact my content strategy and
Trend #4: More focus on overlooked and
niche social media sites
The “Big Four” still dominate, but…
o 190M users
o 400,000 topics now exist on Quora
• Pinterest user totals
o 250M active users
o 175B+ pins
o 1 in 2 millennials use Pinterest every day
The “Big Four” still dominate, but…
o “Front page of the internet”
o 300M users
o 853,824 subreddits
o 58M daily votes
o Average visit: 15 minutes, 47 seconds
Reddit not for government?
Minnesota subreddit full
of opportunities to add
value and engage with
And then there’s this social network
• 200,000 active
• More than 17M
• 90% of U.S.
neighborhoods are active
City of Minneapolis actively (sort of)
• Don’t over-rely on the major social networks—
constantly explore new networks where your
audiences may be spending time.
• Nextdoor: Could you start your own page? Could
you resource it effectively?
• Reddit: Is there an opportunity for you to add value?
• Quora: Are there questions out there you and your
leaders could answer?
Trend #5: Twitter officially dies as a brand
Unfortunately, this is all too common…
Most tweets have
4 big reasons
• It’s increasingly not a safe place for users.
o See slew of events and backlash over last
• It’s not an easy place for new users.
o Twitter growth has stagnated in recent years.
Instagram’s numbers now dwarf it.
• It’s not why people are going to Twitter
o News, politics, sports--these are the reasons
people are spending time on Twitter.
• It’s not a traffic driver
o Shareaholic survey claimed that Twitter drove
just 1/15 the amount of referrals to publishers as
• Revisit your approach—maybe Twitter isn’t a part
of your social media strategy AT ALL in 2019.
• Twitter is still an EXCELLENT research tool
(think media and influencers)
• Twitter is still a great way to connect with, and
keep tabs on, media.
• Twitter is still a great way to serve constituents,
taxpayers, stakeholders (and watch and observe
Trend #6: Leaders/employees will drive
more social engagements than brand
Call it an (educated) hunch
• Brand messages are re-shared 24 times more
frequently when distributed by employees’ vs the
• Content shared by employees receives 8X more
engagement than content shared by brand
channels (Social Media Today)
• CEOs, board of directors and government officials
saw biggest jumps in trust levels (2018 Edelman
• Engagement levels nosediving—as much as 50%
drop in some cases
Even more than corporate America,
you have a HUGE opportunity!
8 engagements per
post (in last 10)
182 engagements per
post (in last 10)
13 engagements per
post (in last 10)
22 engagements per
post (in last 10)
• (if you haven’t already) Identify leaders on your team
with existing social footprints.
• Work with and coach leaders on types of content to
capture and share via social media.
• Compare results for three months—then, see if that
might alter how much content you share on branded
Trend #7: Emojis, GIFs and stickers > text
Yes, even the government can have
fun with emojis
But seriously though...
• More than 50% of all captions and comments on
Instagram contain at least one emoji.
• More than 700M emojis are used in Facebook posts
• 25,000 gifs are sent PER MINUTE on Facebook
• Stickers are EVERYWHERE on Instagram Stories!
Where does this show up most?
• Instagram posts/comments/stories
• Facebook comments
• Facebook Messenger
• WhatsApp messages
• Basically, all over the entire internet.
What are organizations doing with
emojis, stickers and gifs?
Curate user-generated content across
• Are you posting too much? 8-12 times a month is
more than enough for most organizations.
• Could you using live video to ratchet up
engagement and capture more local events?
• Could you identify your local content producers and
curate content for all your social platforms?
• Could you supplement coverage of live events more
with Instagram Stories?
8 (and a half) Social Media Trends
• #1: Instagram will take over as brands’ social home base
• #1a: Instagram will be all about Stories
• #2: Scrutiny over video view metrics will ratchet up
• #3: Private social media will start to impact 2019 plans
• #4: More focus on overlooked and niche social media sites
• #5: Twitter officially dies as a brand engagement tool
• #6: Leaders/employees will drive more engagement than
• #7: Emojis, stickers, gifs > text
• #8: Organic reach is dead (or IS it?)
arikhanson.com (sign up for Talking Points)