In this post, I’m going to cover Four Instagram Trends for 2019 and Tips to Stay Ahead of the Game! As a social media strategist and digital marketer, I eat, sleep, and breath social media. When I’m networking with other professionals or just trying to grow my own personal brand, I always come across the same type of questions, which are mostly a version of, “why is my Instagram not growing?” There may be a plethora of answers to this question; however, the most frustrating are the ones that seem to blame something. Here are some comments I constantly hear:
- The Instagram algorithm changed so no one is seeing my content.
- I follow a bunch of people, but then they all unfollow me.
- Instagram hashtags don’t work the way they used to.
- Everyone is buying their followers anyway.
Honestly, it’s all a bunch of b.s.
… like remember when social media was fun?
Now, it seems like a daily hassle to keep up with all this technical mumbo jumbo that 90 percent of people are just making up for click-bait.
What 2019 Will Look Like for Instagram Trends
From now on, we can definitely expect influencers to have a dominating presence on the visual platform; however, “micro-influencers” are the “new” thing. (I put new in quotations because they aren’t really new, it’s just going to be much more common to scout accounts with a smaller, more engaged following.)
- More brands will reach out to smaller micro-influencers AND content creators.
- Content will rule everything else. period.
- Less emphasis on follower count and more emphasis on QUALITY of content
- Treating Instagram like it’s Facebook (cause it pretty much is now).
Since eCommerce has made it easier than ever to own and operate a store in hours with sites like Shopify, more people are going to be entering this space and looking for influencers to support the products that the online store is selling. Additionally, the brand’s target audience will likely be more swayed to purchase their product if someone similar to them has purchased it as well.
Let’s Break This Down
- Someone starts a Shopify store and uses AliExpress for drop-shipping, in order to not carry any inventory. The upfront costs are very little, so basically anyone can do it– especially those running on a low budget
- This person operating a Shopify store doesn’t have the funds that large mega-influencers are asking for these days (upwards of thousands of dollars for a single post). Therefore, by simply offering a discounted or gifted item, a “normal” person would be happy to share that product with their friends and family members.
- Microinfluencer / content creator posts a picture with this item, then the store can then use the images for their own use on their website and social channels.
Basically, this model is more sustainable for a small, up and coming brand because in exchange for a clothing item, they are able to obtain awesome quality content without having to pay that larger influencer for her audience. The whole point of social media influencers was to come across as real and authentic; however, that’s completely out the door now, as influencers are today’s celebrities and thus, no one can actually connect to them either.
Aside from this, I highly doubt anyone’s booking a trip to the most expensive hotel in Dubai because of a week long Instagram campaign that someone with 5 million followers posted. The whole point of using social media influencers was for a brand to come across as real and authentic; however, that’s completely out the door now, as mega influencers are today’s celebrities and thus, no one can actually connect to them either.
Are We Really Even Influenced?
Which brings us back to the first point: brands will reach out to accounts that may have a smaller, more loyal and engaged following. Think about it: if some random account you follow with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers posts something that you find interesting, are you seriously going to DM them asking more about it before making a purchase, or are you going to keep scrolling? You’re probably not going to inquire about anything because chances are, they aren’t going to answer! Most likely, you assume that she receives thousands of messages a day and thus, you can’t really relate to her all that well.
Instead, reaching out to authentic supporters of a product or brand is the only way to go. People who know and trust these micro-influencers are going to reach out to them directly and ask more questions because at the end of the day, word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool.
…and for the brand?
Content is Queen.
not king. queen.
This brings us to our second point that content is queen. Who you are outside of the social media world is, and always will be king. Most of the people with a crazy large following are either singers, actors, supermodels, athletes, etc. AKA, they have lives outside of social media that involve people already watching them, so social media really paves the way for people to watch them….even more. Which is why content is queen.
If you aren’t already famous for something,
you better have dope content.
Let me preface this with saying that if you seriously don’t give af about your Instagram game, then your content can just be you doing average, everyday things. But don’t complain when brands aren’t reaching out to you if your last post was your dinner from last week.
Content Checklist Starter Pack:
- Niche down. Then niche down even more. If you are a fashion blogger, take it one step further and be a PETITE fashion blogger. I guarantee “drug store beauty blogger” will gain a more loyal audience than just “beauty blogger.”
- Be consistent with posting often. Aim for 3 times a week at minimum.
- (But don’t just post random things to qualify for that 3 times a week rule).
- Make sure each picture is cohesive to some sort of theme. There’s tons of apps to schedule and preview your photos and see which look best side by side. I honestly love moving photos around; it’s fun to be aesthetically pleasing.
- Lighting, Lighting, Lighting. It’s honestly everything. Especially for someone like me, who operates with just my iPhone camera 🙂
- *CAPTIONS* Say something you mean! And mean what you say. People, and especially you, can tell if what you’re portraying is really you on social media. So dig deep and think about what it is you want to say. If you were to die in a week (sorry, I know, morbid), everyone would be looking at your social media posts, reading your last captions. Do you want the captions to say rap lyrics, or something from the heart? If you can’t think of anything, don’t stress. Just be real and tell a story about taking the picture. It’s okay to be vulnerable and put yourself out there.
Instagram Trends: Forget about your follow/unfollow sh*t
I hear this all the time. People are always wondering if they should go on a mass following spree to increase their number of followers and maybe that worked in the past, but there is no point anymore. In my opinion, it’s almost a downfall that we can see each other’s follower/following count because so many people get so hung up on that, that they forget to tell their own story in the process.
A huge benefit of YouTube is that you can’t see how many accounts someone is subscribed to, which leads to people freely subscribing to accounts that they actually genuinely enjoy. On the contrary, people are so obsessed with having this “ratio” on Instagram, following less people than the amount of followers they have.
We’re all guilty of this; however, following a ton of accounts just to unfollow them doesn’t grow your account… and hasn’t since like 2015.
Instead of wasting time doing this, focus your energy on creating content or genuinely engaging with the followers that you already have. At the end of the day, it’s social networking
which means you have to be social.
In the real world, if you would just go up to someone in public and give them your number, then block the number, people aren’t going to trust you…and you’re going to look really weird.
Buuuut. If you were to compliment someone, then start a conversation about that similar interest, there you go. You have just made a friend.
As childish and elementary as this sounds, it really works this way on social media, just as it does in real life. Don’t be snooty. If you really love someone’s content, just tell them.Hopefully that person actually responds and a mini social media relationship can form from it.
In 2019, less emphasis will be put on the amount of followers an account has, for reasons mentioned before, but also because… well, Facebook bought Instagram.
Instagram Trends: Closer, More Meaningful Relationships
Since people are able to buy followers, buy fake engagement, and join spam groups to spam each other, the best trend of all will be to focus on forming true, genuine relationships with people online.
There’s been a backlash on Instagram and a lot of people aren’t happy about it. If you think about it, when Facebook bought Instagram, changes were already put in place. The algorithm changed, making it so you would see posts from the accounts you actually engaged with and recently followed, and pretty much eliminating all the rest from your life.
This leads to the Instagram trends of larger influencers receiving less engagement on their posts since the people who have been following them for years (loyal fans) are seeing less of their content.
As a result, Facebook owners are striving for the platform to behave like more of a close, genuine network instead of a platform for stalking celebs and feeling bad about yourself.
Update: At the end of the day, these platforms want all the ad revenue they can get. This is why accounts see diminishing engagement; Facebook and Instagram OWN your content and can thus determine how many people from their audience they are going to show your content to. Unless you pay for a sponsored post, your content is only going to be shown to about 2 percent of your audience at a time until that piece of content tells the algorithm that it’s worthy of being shown to more. (I know, this stuff is crazy.)
The algorithm knows all
Therefore, it becomes all the more important to connect with people you genuinely enjoy listening to on social media. Share your true thoughts with them, and they will in turn engage with you. We make it so complex sometimes when really, it all just boils down to a friendly conversation.
To wrap it up:
2019 Instagram trends are all about creating quality content. All you can really do to grow a personal brand is focus on creating high quality content that benefits your audience in some way.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out tips for posing in your Instagram photos! http://torinucci.com/2019/02/05/photo-pose-tips/
Thanks for sticking around this long, if you’d like some insider tips for Instagram success, subscribe to my newsletter!
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