Without question, social media has dominated the Internet over the last decade, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. Last year was a whirlwind—from data breaches to failed social media app updates—and users are always looking for the next best platform.
The best new social media platforms take lessons from established platforms to refine the user experience and stay on pace with trends. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most promising social media platforms to watch in 2019.
Facebook for Creators
Almost everyone uses Facebook for business or personal networking. In the coming year, the pros at Facebook are taking things a step further by offering a platform specifically for people who produce digital content. Facebook for Creators will allow producers to make higher quality videos and connect with their audiences through interactive content. The platform will also enable users to manage various social media channels like Twitter and Instagram from one place, while providing valuable insights on audience engagement.
Designed as an alternative to Twitter, Mastodon.social is gaining recognition for its innovative approach to social networking, which involves no ads, data mining, or walled content. Its active users have increased over the past year, and as more people become acquainted with the platform, these numbers are expected to rise further. Though it’s similar to Twitter, Mastodon.social is an open-source platform that supports the creativity of developers. The ability to create Mastodon clients and tools gives developers free rein to create compatible apps for personal use. Mastodon.social also offers a chronological timeline, which is a welcome change compared to existing social media platforms.
An alternative to the popular forum site Reddit, Steemit is a great way for frequent commenters to get paid for their content. Using blockchain technology, Steemit’s contributors are paid via STEEM cryptocurrency, providing a seamless way to reward frequent and valuable forum posts. People who post frequently on Steemit earn STEEM tokens in several ways, including voting on other posts and making content go viral, as well as by getting upvotes from other Steemit members.
Based on an idea similar to Instagram, Vero is an up-and-coming social media platform for sharing several forms of media, including books, TV shows, music, photos, and links. Each user has what’s called a collection that brings all forms of media together. Unlike Instagram, however, Vero is a content-only platform, meaning there are never any ads. People can filter their media to share with all followers or just specific followers, increasing the level of privacy. Vero has generated steady buzz since its launch in 2015, but went viral in February 2018 and tripled its user base that month. Vero is currently free, but the platform could be subscription-based in the future.
Instagram’s Standalone Shopping App
In September 2018, TheVerge.com reported that Instagram was developing a standalone shopping app, possibly called IG Shopping. Though the project could be scrapped before it launches and the details aren’t firm, it looks as though the app would allow people to browse products from merchants they follow and make purchases within the app. The app could be a real winner for Instagram; 25 million businesses already have Instagram accounts and 80% of the app’s users follow at least one business. The app would provide a dedicated space for something that many users are already using Instagram for: finding products they love and buying them. It would also represent a significant new source of revenue for the company.
Social Media Forecast for 2019
Aside from the latest and greatest social media platforms, industry insiders are predicting some exciting things. More influencers and digital marketers will begin to use social media as a direct sales channel. Tried and true favorites like Instagram have seen a positive response from influencers, thanks to the app’s inclusion of sales tools that allow users to browse and buy without leaving the platform. (Its separate shopping app would be the logical conclusion of this idea.) In addition, as smaller social media platforms grow, it’s likely they will also follow this trend, giving marketers even more ways to reach consumers.
Another trend to watch is the proliferation of live videos. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have seen firsthand how users respond to live video, and the number of streams may double over the next year on YouTube alone. Smaller platforms are likely to follow suit as their user numbers increase.
These are just some of the social media trends that are anticipated in 2019, but other patterns will undoubtedly emerge as well. If the past few years are any indication, the social media industry will only continue to grow by discovering new ways to innovate and improve the user experience, and by monetizing content. As it stands now, 2019 is poised to be an exciting year for social media developers, marketers, and end users.