The social media landscape experienced some significant changes in 2018. Privacy concerns and data misuse put Facebook front and center, while Instagram and Twitter cracked down on fake profiles and bots used to spread misinformation. There’s no doubt 2019 will be a transformative year for most, if not all, social platforms. Experts have shared numerous predictions for the upcoming year. Here are three that I think will be the most crucial for social media marketers:

Platform demographics will shift.

It goes without saying that the privacy concerns brought forward in 2018 will make trust more important than ever. Facebook has long been social media’s biggest player, but many users are becoming uncomfortable sharing their data and the #DeleteFacebook movement is growing larger. I’m not saying Facebook will disappear anytime soon, and ad spend on the platform will still be prevalent, but brands will want to consider investing in other platforms to reach their audience as well. As the age old saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. My thoughts on where to look? Obviously, it depends on your audience and message, but I think Instagram and LinkedIn will both see significant growth this year.

Chatbots will grow in popularity.

Chatbots have been around for a long time, but have been rapidly evolving over the past year. Many brands have started using them to communicate with their customers on social media, creating a better user experience by providing 24/7 support, thus increasing engagement rates. While customer support is an obvious way to use chatbots, some brands are getting especially creative with them. Spotify uses its chatbot to assist users in creating a music playlist directly from Facebook, while Whole Foods offers the ability to search for recipes using emojis. Chatbots can also be a fun way to announce a product launch or run a giveaway. If you haven’t already, 2019 is the year to get in on this growing trend.

The use of stories and short video will continue to rise.

When Instagram first launched the Stories feature a few years ago, they were met with criticism. It was a bold move, after all – they blatantly copied Snapchat, a direct competitor. But this shameless move was also one of their smartest. At the time, the bar for what was “Instagram-worthy” was set so high that users were becoming intimidated, which meant they were sharing less. Stories, which disappear after 24 hours, gave users the opportunity to share more casually with less pressure. Now, there are over 400 million Instagram Stories shared every day, with a third of the most viewed Stories created by businesses.* The Stories feature has forced brands to embrace authenticity over polished, big budget videos, leveling the playing field and making it easier for small businesses to compete. Watch for more small brands to take advantage of the feature this year, and consider tapping into Stories yourself.

One thing is for certain as social media marketers – the industry is going to experience some significant and exciting changes in the year ahead. Staying up to date and adapting quickly will be key in creating a content strategy that resonates with your audience.