Social media has become an integral part of any brand’s strategy, but with the frequent changes to the landscape, it can be hard to keep up. Now that we’re a couple of months into 2019, here are some of the social media tips and trends to keep in mind this year.

Quality Trumps Quantity

We recently talked about reducing posts and getting back to providing value through your social media content. Be selective about your posting and evaluate whether something is truly share-worthy. That blog recapping an industry conference? Share it. The latest diversity stats for your University? Go for it! Your latest explainer video? Sure. A picture of that text-heavy product info sheet? Maybe not. Ensure the content you’re providing is valuable to your audience, not just your brand, and focus on optimizing your posts for success on the individual platforms.

Authenticity is Key

Build relationships and connections with your audience and put the social back in social media. Not everything you post has to be professional quality if it helps tell your story. Reach younger audiences and help give folks a peek behind-the-scenes with Stories on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Join in relevant industry conversations on Twitter to show you know your stuff. Curate user-generated content and work with influencers to share the perspective of your audience first-hand. Utilize live video to show what’s happening in real-time and use chat functions to have those all-important one-to-one conversations.

Renewed Focus on Transparency

Amid privacy and fake news concerns, Facebook rolled out an “Info & Ads” section for all business pages to promote transparency for users last year. This gives information on the date the page was created and any name changes and showcases images of any ads the page is running on the platform. And in late February, they began rolling out more visibility for users into why they’re being targeting for a particular ad. So what does all this mean for brands? It’s more important than ever to be open and honest with your audience when communicating online.

Make Paid Social Media a Priority

We’ve said it before, but as the platforms continue to refine their algorithms to provide more value for users the social sphere becomes more of a pay to play arena. In 2019, incorporating paid campaigns, even with a modest budget, into your strategy should be high on your list. The platforms continue to make this more turn-key for brands with features like dynamic creative, machine learning, and objective-based buying to help drive results. Not sure where to start? Consider your audience, and go where they’re most active with a message targeted to them.

Changes to Targeting Abilities

Facebook made some big changes, removing many of its third-party targeting options last summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t effectively reach your audience. Most platforms now have pixels or website tags to help you track how users referred from social media behave on your site. You can also use these pixels to build custom audiences and retarget folks who have already been to your site with a message tailored to their position in the customer journey. Have a list of prospect emails? You can upload it and target these users too if you find enough matches.

Mobile First-Creative

When it comes to your social media posts (both paid and organic) remember that this is an increasingly mobile audience. Don’t just run the same creative as other mediums, like TV. Get the internal buy-in needed to tailor your creative to the appropriate platform and placement to see the most success. Consider square or vertical images (and not just on Instagram), keep videos short for waning attention spans, and add captions for accessibility and viewers watching on mute.

Increased Opportunities for Ecommerce

Look out Amazon. The social platforms are expanding on-platform opportunities for ecommerce…and not just in Facebook marketplace. While Instagram and Pinterest have had shoppable content for a while, it previously required a pop-up window for the retailer’s site, which disrupted the user experience. Not anymore. Instagram has recently announced the rollout of in-app checkout and the other apps (especially those in Instagram’s Facebook family) are sure to follow suit.

Say Goodbye to Social Media Vanity Metrics

If you haven’t already it’s time to say goodbye to those so-called vanity metrics. While things like follower count are still an indicator of a strong presence, in 2019 it will be important to update your measurement plan and shift your focus to metrics that make a bigger impact on your bottom line, like engagement and conversions.

Track Everything + Prove ROI

As social media platforms continue to evolve, marketers will have access to more and more data about how users are behaving both on the platforms and off. And you’re not limited to the metrics provided by the social media platforms themselves. Use UTM tagging to track traffic from social media and integrate with Google Analytics and other efforts to track the entire journey, optimize your efforts, and prove that ROI.

In the world of social media, there’s always something new but one thing’s for sure we’re looking forward to all the opportunities the rest of 2019 will bring.