By John Turner, founder of SeedProd

Now more than ever, businesses are utilizing social media to further their reach, actively engage with consumers and increase brand awareness and sales. It's important to keep up with the trends of the times because all of it is moving forward at a rapid pace.

As time moves forward, the importance of social media on businesses has skyrocketed. Pew Research found that a fourth of adults in the U.S. -- roughly 26 percent -- are almost constantly online browsing the web and filtering through social media.

It's easy to put two and two together: Social media trends directly affect if businesses will sail or sink. Let's look at three social trends that are predicted to have some of the most impact in 2019.

1. Video content will reign supreme.

The idea behind using video to reach consumers and build a following isn't new. Its importance in the social media world, however, is steadily soaring to the top.

Video allows you to engage with your audience in a personalized, meaningful way. It builds trust between your brand and the consumer. In fact, a study by E-tailing found that 57 percent of consumers say that videos led them to make an online purchase because they felt more reassured and confident in what they were buying.

Video is one of the easiest ways to interact and engage with consumers because it takes little to no effort for them to press play and watch. In Wyz Owl's latest video marketing survey, businesses who used video on their social media channels saw a 76 percent increase in traffic and sales -- that's a big number.

2. Live is on the rise.

Livestreaming is when media is recorded and broadcast simultaneously, allowing viewers to watch it in real time. Livestream and New York Magazine conducted a survey that found that 82 percent of consumers prefer brands using live video over any other medium in their social strategies. The impact of live streaming has only just begun.

Live video is slowly but surely altering the way businesses interact with consumers. At the click of a button, users can look at a product, view a demonstration and decide whether or not they're interested in making a purchase. Viewers reportedly spend longer on live streams compared to regular video, perhaps because no other form of social media allows for such immediate communication.

Most live streams allow users to comment or react with emojis for even further connection. Search Engine Journal did an entire study on live video using its own audience and found that there is 178 percent higher engagement when it incorporated live streaming on Facebook videos. If companies aren't using this feature as part of their social media strategy to bring in more traffic, they're missing out on revenue.

3. Augmented reality is changing the social game.

Augmented reality is changing the face of social media interaction. Its technology uses computer-generated images to "augment" the reality of the user by adding realistic graphics, sounds and images.

As shorter attention spans and time spent on social media increase, companies are putting their focus more on millennials and, particularly, Generation Z. The younger population's wants are becoming more important as technology advances.

A popular example is the gaming app Pokémon Go, which launched in 2016. Its technology allowed players to collect Pokémon characters at nearby locations on lawns, street corners and public places. At the height of its popularity, it garnered 65 million users a month.

When it comes down to it, social media will continue to affect markets more and more as time goes on. Social media trends are becoming more consumer based and communication focused. People no longer want to read long, boring text posts about a company's new features. They'd rather watch a video or view a live stream of the things they're interested in. It's through these new social media features that businesses and consumers can meet in the middle and stay happy.

John Turner is the founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.

Published on: Dec 26, 2018