Happy January! With the New Year upon us, it’s time to look ahead and see what’s in store for cause-driven social media marketing in 2019.
Exciting, and perhaps a tiny-bit-scary, opportunities await us in 2019. Here’s what we think the year ahead will hold for social media.
1. Growing use of in-platform donations on Facebook
Here’s something that won’t surprise you: Facebook continually tweaks their design to keep users on platform. As an ad-supported product, they prefer users to not follow links off to other websites, but to stay within the Facebook ecosystem.
Take, for example, Facebook video.
Just a few years ago, it was common to link to a YouTube video in your feed. Then, Facebook improved the product so you could watch an embedded YouTube video from within the app. But now? Facebook no longer supports YouTube embeds, and the algorithm vastly promotes Facebook video. The end result is more users spending more time on the platform.
That same process is happening with events and ticketing, classified ads (Marketplace), offers and jobs.
Facebook’s in-platform fundraising tools haven’t seriously been embraced by most not for profits yet, in part because the users are given the option to withhold their contact details from the charity.
But if history is any guide, 2019 will make in-platform giving a more tempting option as Facebook continues to tweak the algorithm to reward early adopters with attention – and traction.
2. Video, video, video
Without a doubt, video is the fastest growing content-type that brands are focusing on and users are consuming, especially on social media. The challenge for organisations is keeping up with the demand.
Investing more in professionally produced content is one way to build your video suite of content, but it’s not the only way. In 2019, we’ll see not for profits get creative with video production.
Text-driven narrative videos are easy to produce as they rely on repurposed video clips and photos.
Live-stream video is growing in popularity, and gives an authentic, behind the scenes look. Super short (5-10 second) videos are amazing at grabbing attention, and can deliver a message in a fraction of the time and budget.
In 2019, NFP’s will learn to produce more – but shorter – video content.
3. Brands will embrace authentic content… or get left behind
Since the widespread adoption of Instagram stories, and the rise of Facebook Live and Instagram Live, there’s been a shift in the way people consume social content.
“Real time” storytelling is becoming more popular. And that’s a challenge for many brands, especially risk averse NFPs.
Most companies prefer multiple levels of editing and signoff for any message they send. So these new mediums challenge the way marketing messages have traditionally been composed.
Meanwhile, individuals (and brands with forward-thinking strategies) are embracing live video and real time updates to create deeper connections with their audience.
Just like when social media first hit the scene, we’ll see NFPs struggle to adapt to these new marketing challenges. However, those who do persevere will better define their brand voices and personalities, and grow their connections with new audiences.
4. It will get more difficult to run successful social ad campaigns
As more brands shift their ad budgets to digital, competition is driving prices up. Social ads are no longer the cheap channel they once were.
With ad placement prices rising, marketers must be ready to embrace the technical aspects of ad campaigns like testing, targeting, micro conversions, and automation.
Facebook has done an excellent job of creating new ad types. Specifically, we’ve seen huge successes with Lead Ads and Instagram Stories. However, there’s no doubt that the complexity of setting up a campaign is growing more difficult. I predict this barrier to entry will continue to grow.
5. A larger focus on partnerships
Social media was never built for companies… it’s always been about connecting people. In 2019 I predict we’ll see more partnerships developing between NFPs and their tribes.
Unlike pay-to-play influencer campaigns, NFPs have the goodwill and opportunity to ask supporters to help them promote their work. In the same way that major donors get special attention from fundraising department, I predict we’ll see NFP marketing teams working closer with supporters and brands that want to use their influence for good.
While the marketing tactics you use will no doubt evolve in 2019, you can be reassured that many things will also stay the same. Your donors will still want heartwarming impact stories, a feeling of belonging, and clear ways they can support your missions.
The same reasons that social media is so compelling – curiosity, connectedness, and the fear of missing out – will continue to drive users to social media platforms. With solid planning, compelling storytelling, and a clear strategy, you’ll be ready to use social media to raise funds and awareness for your cause!