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There were 2.5 billion social media users worldwide in 2018, and that number is expected to pass 3 billion by 2021. With that many people swaying the way social is being used, and platforms updating their functionality every month, it can be difficult to stay on top of social media marketing trends and updates.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few key updates and trends you need to know starting with LinkedIn, which has seen tremendous growth since launching in 2002 and now averages two new members per second.

New LinkedIn features

In November 2018, LinkedIn announced that it would launch LinkedIn Events — basically, think Facebook Events for your professional interests. Event organizers can create an event from desktop or mobile, add important details, invite their professional network, converse with fellow attendees before and after the event, and even create a unique hashtag for people to follow and share their content. The Events feature is being piloted in New York and San Francisco, but LinkedIn plans to roll it out to all users later in 2019.

What’s in it for you: With LinkedIn putting more emphasis on a positive experience for Page Admins, as well as testing user experience enhancements like Stories, the platform will become increasingly useful for marketers in many industries. Keep it on your radar, and test the new ways to engage your LinkedIn audiences.

Twitter platform updates

Twitter, a platform that’s constantly combating rumors of its impending death, is rolling out a number of updates to become more user-friendly and spark genuine conversations. Starting with design features, Twitter will color-code replies to distinguish between people you follow and people you don’t. They’ll also remove the “favorite” button from the actual feed, requiring users to click into the tweet to engage with it (an attempt to simplify the platform layout).

On the algorithm side, Twitter will sort replies to show your friends’ and most relevant comments first. They’ll also test “icebreakers” in the feed, allowing users to start conversations with a status update field similar to Facebook.

What’s in it for you: With all of these updates slated to roll out in 2019, look for users to flock back to the platform, making it a useful part of your social media marketing strategies again.

Facebook page admin tools

On the heels of losing nearly half of their monthly page visits in the last two years, Facebook launched three important updates for content creators and publishers: Top Fans, Premieres, and Video Polls.

First, “Top Fans” is now available to all eligible Pages globally. This feature allows visitors to get a “Top Fan” badge next to their name, which they can earn by being one of the most active users on the Page (i.e., watch the most videos; react, comment, and share content).

Second, Facebook launched Premieres, a (seemingly) live video tool. Premieres takes on the look and feel of a live Page video, but rather than risking a livestream slip-up, Pages will prerecord and schedule the video in-platform. Premieres can be scheduled up to a week in advance, and Page followers will be notified of the upcoming live video with a “Scheduled Live” post. Those users can subscribe to the Premiere to get reminders as it approaches and share the post with their friends. Once the Premiere goes live, it appears as a normal livestream (with a “Premiere” badge), allowing users to engage with the video in real time.

Finally, with more emphasis on video content, Facebook rolled out Video Polls late last year. Available to all Pages for live and on-demand videos, Video Polls allow publishers to further engage with their audience during a video. By adding polls to video content, creators will be able to gather user opinions in real-time, and other users will be able to see and discuss the results with one another in the comments.

What’s in it for you: Consider how “Top Fans” could work with your customer loyalty programs, and test the new video tools to re-engage with your Facebook audiences.

Pinterest to connect with dads

Pinterest, which has risen to demographic changes to become the third most used social media platform among US adults, is beginning to see an increase in male users. Previously dominated by women, men, particularly fathers, are becoming more receptive to pinning their favorite recipes and hobbies.

In May 2018, Pinterest shared that 40 percent of U.S. dads are using the platform. Why dads? According to Pinterest, it’s because they need a place to store all those projects that dad takes care of. From 2017 to 2018, Pinterest saw a 450 percent increase in dads searching for DIY projects. Compared to 50 years ago, dads are spending double the amount of time doing household projects and triple the amount of time on childcare, so we can continue to expect men to sway the Pinterest demographics in 2019.

Pinterest is also becoming a more shopper-friendly platform. In March 2019, the site announced a new functionality: Catalogs. Brands can now upload their full catalog to Pinterest, easily turning their products into dynamic Product Pins that mean more shoppable Pins across the platform.

What’s in it for you: With a wider audience to reach and more tools to help shoppers discover your products, it may be time to reconsider Pinterest for your brand. With these updates, Pinterest may turn into one of the top social platforms by the end of 2019.

The rise of Stories

Across all social media platforms, the use of Stories has increased exponentially. What initially started as a small update to Snapchat in 2013 has blown up to be a widely used feature on most social platforms. Instagram now leads all platforms with 400 million users posting Stories daily, with Facebook just behind at 300 million daily users. Other platforms, like LinkedIn and YouTube, are now beginning to dip their toes into the social Story water.

What’s in it for you: Stories target the decreasing attention spans on social media. While certain long-form and organic pieces of content are beginning to perform worse cross-platform, brands are increasingly flocking to Stories to share their content with an audience that will actually view it. With social media influencers leaning heavily on Stories, and daily user counts increasing rapidly, it’s likely that Stories will become an integral part of your social media marketing strategies this year.