Part way through my career in fashion, I landed a job in trend forecasting. It was literally my ideal job: I was being paid to travel the world, shop international high streets during the work day, read fashion mags at my desk and spend my days browsing through runway show images and style blogs. My brother even said to me “your friends must hate you!” HA. That period will go down as one of the best times of my adult life.
It fostered in me a real keen interest to piece together the current to see how it would all come together in the future. If this is the key colour for the season, what does that mean for next season? If these sleeve shapes are trending now, how will they evolve over the next few months? Even seemingly random pieces of information could inform big fashion movements: staring down the barrel of an economic downturn? Expect minimalist shapes and muted colours.
I felt like Sherlock Holmes, largely because when my predictions came true, I felt like I’d sleuthed my way to a fashion breakthrough. There would be a period of trend validation and tweaking, but soon I’d be on to the next big retail forecast.
And to this day, I still get super excited by the future shape of things, which is why lately I’ve been turning my attention towards figuring out what’s next for digital marketing and social media.
While small steps in some areas are inching things forward, other disciplines are seeing more dramatic shifts. So here’s how 2019 will play out:
FACEBOOK GROUPS WILL OVERTAKE BUSINESS PAGES
I reckon our FB business pages are set for a shakeup. With engagement down and audiences growing increasingly weary of sales pitches, we’re going to see a dramatic shift in how people let businesses in. You’re going to have to pay up for those likes and adding value will be your currency. A group page is the ideal platform because it allows the audience more opportunities to join or start the conversation, rather than just being an observer or bystander.
USER-GENERATED CONTENT WILL BE MORE VALUABLE THAN INFLUENCER POSTS
And I’m totally happy for this one. I purposefully don’t follow celebrities anymore because their feed has become a veritable billboard of random brands and product solutions: they’re making money off of these posts and we’re just lapping it up. It’s inauthentic and irritating. Where customers HAVEN’T been paid to recommend products and services is where the real nuggets are. They’re taking the time to share things they’ve found for no compensation and so you’re more likely to find genuine recommendations and nods of approval. In the same vein, you’ll find honest feedback that is perhaps more balanced than paid reviews. Encouraging your following to post their experiences with your brand will help you tap into networks that you currently aren’t privy to: genuine content wins every time.
BRANDING AS ART
We’re also heading into a super-exciting period of branding and marketing materials that are pieces of art in their own right. From 3D design (that makes 2D look soooo 2018), to refined colour gradients (meaning you wont be seeing flat single colours in the backgrounds) and dramatic asymmetric layouts - the visual components of a brand’s makeup need to be beautifully presented to stay relevant in 2019. I’m working with a slew of clients to shake up their newsletter design and it’s proving to be a big growth area.
And because we’re talking about allowing the conversation to flow both ways between brand and audience, it’s important to look for interesting ways that we can make that happen. Going LIVE on FB and Instagram is a brilliant way to ensure that your audience is involved in the conversation - and the reason is pretty simple. It affords the viewer an opportunity to ask questions that can be answered by the brand owner in real time. Commenting on static posts is great, but in a world where immediacy is king, doing LIVE broadcasts affords you that immediate response. I have it diarised to go live every week, that way it’s a part of my weekly workflow. I love this platform for services (you can talk up how your services work, the benefits, learnings, any interesting tips you have to share) as well as for products (especially for the launch of a new product, to share behind the scenes of you making it, their benefits, etc).
2019 is looking SO good. Have you uncovered a trend that may impact how your digital marketing unfolds this year?