In 2018, Facebook invested new features into Facebook Groups, such as being able to participate as a business Page, updating with Stories,
posting Live videos within the group and creating social learning units.
Groups took off in 2018 as a way for brands to directly connect with fans without the algorithm affecting their posts. They’ve been used to not only garner quick feedback about products but also as an additional engagement tool.
Some influencer accounts have turned to creating private Instagram accounts to avoid the Instagram algorithm. Brands also followed suit by creating private alternative accounts to drive up interest. In an article in the Atlantic, Sonny, who runs several meme accounts on Instagram, said he flipped four of his accounts to private. The return has been tremendous, noting that the “growth on those accounts has far outpaced anything he’s been able to get from making it on Instagram Explore.” It will be interesting to observe if this trend continues in 2019.
With the addition of the Close Friends feature in Instagram Stories, brands could choose to create a more “insider look” feature for their accounts. New Stories features will likely include more friend groups, similar to Facebook’s own Friend Lists.
All of the above features combine to create feelings of envy and fear of missing out rooted in human psychology. 2019 will be the year that brands take advantage of this through private groups and accounts.
Some users have quit Facebook altogether, which leaves marketers wondering what’s next for social media. It’s a ripe time for a new network to be built with transparent data practice usage and their customers in mind. It’s best to keep an eye out for new channels in case one of them could be useful for your brand. Sprout’s recommendation is to reserve your brand handles on emerging social networks just in case a network becomes big in the future.