If there’s anything constant about Social Media, it’s that it’s always changing. That’s why if you want to stand out from the masses and meet your social media marketing goals, it’s absolutely critical to stay ahead of these changes. To help you know where to start, our team has compiled a list of 7 Social Media Trends you can expect to see in 2020. As you plan your marketing strategies, these features, behaviors, and capabilities will go a long way in helping your team achieve your 2020 marketing goals and make your business stand out from the rest:
Instagram has been rolling out quite a few new features in the past year, including Augmented Reality (AR) to its Stories and the ability to check-out within the app. That’s right, shoppers don’t even have to navigate to a website to make a purchase now! A big bonus that has come with these features is that Instagram has seen that time users spend on the application has increased, meaning more time shopping and more time spent making use of all the new features.
Which brings us back to Augmented Reality - with the latest implementation, users can essentially ‘try on’ products digitally. You know the Snapchat filters where you can appear to have puppy dog ears or look flawless with no makeup? It’s similar, but blows the concept out of the water with ultra-customizability for specific products. From lipstick to sunglasses to the chair in the corner by the reading nook - users can envision what the product will look like and how it will appear. These filters can then be linked back to the product to, you got it, make a purchase within the app. And just in case you need any more convincing that shopping is the next greatest thing on Instagram, studies have shown that 70% of Instagram users have purchased a product on the app¹ and 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.²
Soon after launching in 2016, Instagram stories averaged 100 million users per day. In 2019, over 500 million users engaged in Instagram stories every day.³ It’s no surprise, that following Instagram’s success, Facebook introduced its own stories feature in 2017. By 2019, an estimated 300 million users engaged there every single day!⁴ This may be significantly less than Instagram but considering its exponential growth, Facebook features is not something to be discounted!
We knew that stories would be big in 2019 but as platforms continue to invest in major upgrades and improved capabilities, you can bet we’ll see trending changes surrounding both Facebook and Instagram stories. If your business doesn’t utilize stories as a part of your strategy, read our blog post 6 Reasons to Add Stories to your Social Media Strategy.
You may recall the irresistible Basset Hound YouTube commercial promoting Facebook groups in 2019. Or possibly our favorite, the Military Mama Facebook groups ad that really pulled at your heartstrings. We’re willing to bet that if Facebook is investing creative and media buys for a specific feature, it’s bound to be the next big thing. In an effort to create niche spaces and more connected relationships, groups are a growing tool for Facebook users.
In 2020, you might consider joining, engaging or even creating groups centered around the services you offer your customers. As the algorithm changes, this has allowed group owners to receive notifications about who is interacting with their content or who is trying to join. This has dramatically changed the dynamic and subscribe-ability of groups and, as a consequence, has put the page owner, or business, back in the driver’s seat with determining who can see their content. This is a great feature, as it allows the page owner to build a highly specialized audience that is more willing to interact with and appreciate the content a page owner is producing.
As expected in 2019, the popularity of videos increased, but we’re naming it as a trend in 2020 because it’s not expected to leave anytime soon. With the rising popularity of subscription video platforms (such as Disney+ and YouTube TV) you can bet social media won’t be left behind. With tools such as Facebook Watch and IGTV, they’re in the middle of the fight for capturing larger audiences.
Now, you may be asking, how is video content any different than stories? To put it simply, longer content allows a brand to build loyalty. While stories are great in that they provide relevant, authentic, and real-time content, longer video content fulfills a different purpose: viewers typically sit back and relax to watch video (rather than skipping quickly through) because they are expecting longer content. This means you can really dive into deeper messaging with your content and focus on messaging that is more meaningful and engaging. Because of this, companies should consider sharing things like the process of how your product is made, how-to's, and intimate interviews, to name just a few of the countless topics out there.
It’s fair to say that with longer content, the current average use time of 38 minutes per day is bound to increase. This means more opportunity for social media platforms to keep their users on site longer, meaning more time to capture ideal audiences. Plus, 64% of consumers say watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision of theirs in the last month.⁹ Turn your followers into consumers by incorporating video into your social media strategy!
The future of Facebook is personal.
Of course, the word “personal” may lead you to wonder, “what about all of the privacy topics in the press?” But that’s exactly it! By giving back the power to the users, people are more in control of what they see than ever before.
So how do things get personal without getting weird?
In August of 2019 beauty industry leader, Estee Lauder’s chief executive, Fabrizio Freda stated, "75% of our investment now is in digital social media influencers and they're revealing to be highly productive." Holy Smokes! 75% of the company’s full budget on influencers!
Of course, you may be wondering how you can afford to work with influencers that have millions of followers (and expect to be paid in a way that reflects that follower count), but that’s the benefit of working with micro-influences (influencers with a much smaller audience size). While there is a misconception that in order for influencer marketing to be successful, the influencer you are partnering with must have a ridiculous amount of followers, a study by Fohr & Later actually revealed that what they are now calling “micro-influencers” actually had higher engagement rates!
The phrase ‘quality over quantity’ certainly applies in the influencer world. Businesses should note that influencers with smaller followings are often more cost-effective to engage and partner with and can yield higher KPI, depending on objectives.
The other side of this equation is, of course, User Generated Content. User-generated content (UGC) is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by customers, rather than brands. And brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels.
So what about user-generated content makes it so important? First and foremost, it is a completely authentic source of content. Now, if you’ve noticed, we’ve used the word “authentic” a few times in this blog post alone, but that’s because it’s important! Authenticity is becoming as much a trend as working with micro-influencers is, and is integral to creating a marketing strategy your customers will believe and want to engage with. To put it simply, with an influencer marketing strategy, you’re looking to engage the person’s existing audience (that should also correlate with your ideal audience). Utilizing user-generated content in your strategy essentially creates a reversal of roles, where your business is seeking content from users to share on their own profile.
Sticking with the theme of authenticity and genuineness, companies should consider revisiting the ‘why’, or the purpose, of their business in their 2020 marketing strategy. It is becoming more and more critical that the “why” of a business be reflected in both marketing initiatives and throughout operational strategy. With competition increasing, brands must create a reason for consumer loyalty. Both Gen Z and Millennials are notorious price shoppers, but at the same time put a lot of stock in authenticity, local sourcing, ethical production, shopping experience, and giving back to society.⁷
Aerie, American Eagle's lifestyle and underwear brand, is a good example of the response to authenticity. In 2014 it banned the retouching of any photos in its ads. This has shown up in its financials: in early June, the company reported earnings for the first quarter of 2019, where same-store sales at Aerie were up 14%, marking its 18th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.⁸
Businesses can use this for so many different topics and content but we also want to mention why this is important for employee retention & recruitment. With the unemployment rate hovering at 3.6%⁶, finding and keeping great employees is both as challenging and important as finding loyal customers. We won’t get into creating culture or relationships in the workplace but we will say that your current (and potential) employees are interacting with and building impressions of your business on social media. It’s no longer only about communicating with customers, so its important to create content that appeals to employees as well.
If we’ve learned one thing this year, it’s that the role AND rules of social media are constantly changing, but one thing isn’t: businesses NEED to be on social media in order to find their clients and find new growth opportunities. It should be a top priority for your business, whether big or small, to make sure you stay on top of the trends and aware of how you can best serve your customers through your social media marketing strategy. So make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram so that we can keep you up to date as trends change, new features are added and purchasing trends change!