Social media trends into 2019

Social trends into 2019

I’ve been doing some reading around what’s big in social media this year. The media that doesn’t stand still, and never sleeps. I had to deliver a couple of talks on the topic, and I’m glad because you can consider my mind focused. Much of this stuff you’ll have a feel for and sense of if you spend much time on social platforms. But the stats are mind boggling, and make a compelling case for where to invest your social energies in 2019.


If you investigate social media trends for this year and beyond, you will fast find that video looms larger than anything else. Mark Zuckerberg has called it a “megatrend”.

It’s estimated that by 2021, 80% of internet traffic will be video. Already, 100 billion hours of it is watched every day every day on YouTube alone (as a parent of young children I feel like a good proportion of that is happening in my house).

It a world awash with social media posts, blog posts, podcasts and images, video stands out as the easiest way to engage your followers. It informs, entertains, and keeps people on your account or website for those vital few seconds longer than a simple photo. If you are in business, study after study will tell you that it influences purchasing decisions like nothing else online.

Harnessing the power of video

What does this mean for individuals humbly using social media on our phones? The good news is that none of our videos need to be professional-quality-perfect. Casual, authentic, live and rough around the edges filmmaking connects just fine with audiences on social media. The Guardian (who have a mighty 1.4 million followers on Instagram) researched this and found that less polished video performed better for them on Instagram Stories click here to read more about it.

It has never been easier for us to get involved in creating films on our phones. This is a video I made about editing on one of my favourite apps, InShot. 

My friend, the filmmaker Lottie Stevenson is a fantastic video coach. She has just launched an email newsletter providing free content on filming techniques, editing, useful resources, content ideas and kit suggestions and more. Sign up here.

You can also click here to read a blog post we wrote together about creating vertical video for IGTV.


In 2019 “the Stories format will surpass news feeds as the primary way people share” Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Facebook

2019 seems likely to be the year that Stories surpass the newsfeed as a way of sharing our photos, videos and general random thoughts on both Instagram and Facebook. Everyone has fallen in love with these whole-screen slides that disappear after just 24 hours.  

They were first seen on the social media app Snapchat, before being adopted by Instagram in 2016 and then Facebook. On Instagram, they are used by more than 400 million people every day. Users now typically spend half of their time on the platform looking at Stories content, and the other half on the main feed. 

“The consumption of vertical ephemeral Stories slides on social has increased by 842% since 2016” Blockparty

If you are in the business of planning your social media content, Stories should be part of your plan, not an afterthought. Use them to meet people’s appetite for friendly, off-the-cuff, real life pictures and video. 

Here’s a blog post that I wrote with some suggestions for what you can post to Stories if you are struggling to get involved.

….and keep it real

The rise of casual storytelling and video on Stories seems closely linked to the next trend, authenticity. Although thinking of authenticity as a trend, rather than a preferable way of being, at all times, seems a bit odd. So let’s call it a buzzword.

The thinking here is that in 2019 people are less captivated by picture-perfect social feeds and have lost trust in the major apps and how some brands do businesses on them. Big thinkers in social media are urging all companies and influencers to focus on transparent and meaningful engagement. Undoing the damage done by fake followers, fake news, fake engagement and less-than-transparent product placement.

So expect to see forward-thinking social media participants (to coin a phrase?) being more honest. It’s already common to see influencers talking openly about the terms of their paid advertising work, and even thanking followers for supporting it. 

Down the food chain

I like to interpret the emphasis on authenticity for the average social media user as a cue to allow your feed to reflect what is 100% you. So much of what you will read about succeeding on social will ask, what does your audience or typical follower want? I’ve asked those questions myself. But perhaps this is the year to share what you want? I’d like to bet that it will resonate. 

& let’s get anti-social

Have you heard of dark, or anti-social? These are the terms marketers use to refer to the growing tendency for chat and conversations on social media to take place off the grid. In direct messages and closed groups. Read more about it in this Instagram report from Battenhall, a social media PR firm. Everyone who’s anyone is going to be sliding into your DMs this year. Is that where you are lurking?

What's your View?

19 comments on “Social trends into 2019

  1. Jo charlesworth on

    Thanks Helen xxi love stories and am happy to blather away all day with photos and words but cannot take the step to actually chatting on video xx I’m in the north west of England , an hour from Manchester x do you know if any good Instagram courses?

  2. Mostlyfoodandtravel on

    Thanks Helen for this. Very interesting- I have starting trying to work on InShot videos a bit more. It is fun but I have to remember to do it. I am all for authenticity- we have to keep it real or else we are gonna be living a bubble.

  3. Harriot Lane Fox on

    Thanks for this Helen. Very relieved to see that rough and ready authenticity rocks! That’s defo me, and what I found doable for a long-distance client with few obvious resources to base stories on – at least that I had access too. Being a bit on the hoof, made mostly in the app not in a graphics package, did seem to work with the brand personality very well.

  4. Helen on

    Hi Jo, maybe dip your toe in by shooting a few bits of video that you don’t appear in? Or where we just see your hands and feet. I’ve had a few people messaging me since I published this saying they are ‘freaked out’ by video. DON’T be, it only needs to be a few seconds long. People have very short attention spans!! Hx

  5. Helen on

    It’s just a pretty soul destroying idea to spend time online trying to be someone you are not. Authentic in 2019 for sure! Thanks for reading Neha x

  6. Helen on

    Gosh, I could have written more but I thought everyone might fall asleep reading it! I think the way forward it to play around with tiny bits of video, just a few seconds long and work our way up from there. But yes, connect up with Lottie, she’s awesome x

  7. Helen on

    Hey Harriot, I think it can be difficult for us to get around just how much people DO NOT CARE about polished and professional content. We love things that are a bit messy and real. And it’s much better for our self-esteem too. Thanks for stopping by x

  8. Helen on

    And Jo I’m sorry I don’t know of any Instagram training in the north-west I’m sorry, but I feel like there MUST be things going on in Manchester as it’s such a media hub now. There are lots of online courses, you could try the free one from Sara Tasker @me_and_orla? I did a Guardian Masterclass in London to get me started. I don’t know if they possibly run them elsewhere? Try Google or asking on your Instagram Stories.

  9. Molly Mead on

    Helen I just love you for what you do. By hook or by crook you keep me abreast of what’s happening in a world that is a little alien in one sense and constantly changing, which is fun but by Jove hard to keep up with.
    Thank you for sharing at least I can pretend I know where the tech world is heading ….now I just need to find the time to take that leap. Forever inspirational and telling it how it is. Thank you Xx

  10. Helen on

    Hello Molly, what a lovely comment to leave I’m so flattered, thank you. I’m so pleased if people find what I write a little useful, it makes it all worthwhile! Helen x

  11. Helen on

    Ah S, there will always be the written word. Mightier than the sword or video!!! Lovely of you to stop by x

  12. Juliana Sylvester on

    Love this blog post Helen. I’ve heard for a while that video in any shape or form is going to be big, but this is massive! I can totally understand how stories makes for a more authentic experience too. It seems as though our kids fascination with YT and video content is not just for kids after all!! I think the one thing holding me back from making more video content on my feed has been the perceived time it takes, but I know that you have touched on this on stories with 5 second vids and the “15 seconds of my day” suggestions which are brilliant. If you have any other ideas this year about how to work with video please let us know! And I LOVE your new blog style btw, could literally read for hours, but I have to do the school run!!

  13. Helen on

    Thank you for noticing changes to the website Juliana, this post has given me lots to think about because it’s been a big hit! My most read (initially at least) by far. It seems there is an appetite for news and analysis. And yes, video, mind-blowing! Great to hear from you, and I hope all is well with the family, Hx

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