2020 social media trends – what do you need to know? The various trends in the world of Social Media are forever-changing. At Surf Social, we often look back as little as two years ago, and laugh at how insignificant some of the updates seem now.
The big-ticket headline for brands heading through 2020 in the world of Social Media is re-evaluating what success looks like for them. In a time where a lot of us have a bit of spare time on our hands, now is as good a time as ever to reflect on how our companies approach Social Media moving forward.
Below is Surf Social‘s breakdown of 2020 social media trends based on our research and news in the social media world. No matter what your company is selling, these trends must stay in the back of your mind as you put together your social strategy moving into the new financial year (how exciting)!
1. Brands re-assessing the KPIs that actually matter
Social media marketers (like us) are looking at a whole bunch of different KPIs (key performance indicators) to find out what’s working and what’s not. The removal of Facebook and Instagram likes tells us that this metric may not be as important as it has been in the past. Public engagement rates have always been a selling point for users like influencers, and brands as well.
Even if likes don’t disappear completely, this does signal the need for brands and influencers to look beyond publicly perceived data. Diving into conversations and sentiment analysis (“what people are talking about”), social media marketers are becoming more focused on what’s being said in the comments section rather than how many people are simply ‘liking’ some content.
In a nutshell, social media marketers need to start thinking about what’s driving conversation among their community, rather than seeing which posts are simply receiving the most likes.
2. Private groups are powerful
As somewhat mentioned in the last point, marketers are striving to make more meaningful connections with their customers. Users are becoming more accustomed to the ability to directly message a company on their chosen platform, and chat to a real person.
Another good example, and the one you’re probably thinking of, is private Facebook groups. Highly personalised communities, in which all users feel more open to discussion because everybody in the group has a valid reason to be there. They haven’t simply ‘liked a Facebook page’, they’ve had to answer specific questions and go through an approval process to gain admittance to the group.
For marketers, this can be a goldmine of information about their customers, and what they think of their products, services or brand in general. Every user is honest, real people who are giving genuine feedback – to access this data for free is an excellent tool for marketers.
3. Advanced, dynamic and direct social ads
Companies are investing heavier than ever into social advertising. Why? Because people are becoming used to shopping through their social channels! Social ads are becoming more advanced after every update, which makes it even easier for brands to sell to their target audience when coupled with the first point.
A good example: Facebook’s recent roll-out of their new personalised ad experiences shows products dynamically to customers, changing formats (carousel, collection) and calls-to-action based on which customer it’s being served to.
At the same time, the introduction of Instagram’s direct shopping option also shows the increased of social selling on all your favourite platforms. The direct shopping option basically allows users to checkout directly from the Instagram platform rather than clicking through to an external website.
Brands really don’t need to be timid about using advertising to sell in 2020. They have more options than ever, and consumers have never been better accustomed to not only responding to ads on socials, but shopping through them as well.
4. Brands are becoming more choosy with their influencers
Influencer marketing has been very well documented in the last decade, and rightly so – it still remains one of the best ways to market your brand in 2020. They may not be going anywhere, but brands are definitely thinking a little harder when it comes to who they choose to become an ambassador. The rise of fake influencers and the fact that ‘likes’ are becoming less significant than real customer engagement signal that influencers will no longer be chosen purely for their size and popularity.
‘Micro’-influencers’ are becoming more and more popular. These are real people with only a couple of thousand followers – meaning their followers are more likely real people as well. The people with millions of followers almost certainly have a larger portion of inactive (if not fake) accounts compared to these micro-influencers. Not only that, but their reach rate is much larger as well (not their total reach, but percentage-wise for sure).
We encourage marketers to do some solid research on the influencer they’re looking at working with – you don’t simply want someone who’s got a massive reach, but someone who’s incredibly influential for their audience size.
5. Stories aren’t slowing down
Stories have been one of the biggest social media trends of the past couple of years and it doesn’t look like anything is changing toward the back end of 2020. The incredible dominance of Instagram Stories are the proof in the pudding. Facebook Stories are on par in terms of engagement – with approximately 500 million daily users.
Interactive Stories and polls are excellent exercises to go back and forth with your followers, making your content feel more important to them. Along with Instagram’s new business features including Growth Insights and “Stories About You,” expect to see even more from Stories in 2020.
6. Video content continues to boom
Videos of all lengths are sitting among the most-shared content on social media. YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of active users, which is an important statistic. Right now, Instagram may be regarded as the most-used platform for influencers, but more and more brands are jumping on YouTube – in big numbers. Meanwhile, Instagram is still trying to freshen up IGTV. With IGTV introducing landscape videos recently, we’ll have to wait and see how brands use it – this could make it easier to re-use from their other platforms.
And of course, we need to talk about the elephant in the room, TikTok. This may be a tough one for brands to figure out right now, but the fact that more and more young people are jumping on the platform every month speaks volumes. TikTok currently boasts well over 1.5 billion users, which means labelling the platform as a needle in the haystack would be premature. Marketers really need to stop wasting time not using video. There are so many options between ads and organic video, the barrier to entry is lower than ever when all you need is a smartphone and a positive attitude.
7. Bring your audience into the strategy!
Experts predict that user-generated content would be among the top social media trends of 2020, and they couldn’t be more bang-on! This again highlights the need for marketers to gain authentic connections with their community via customer-focused content. By doing this, not only is your brand building relationships but this also encourages a constant stream of content from your followers. For example, brands like Zenni use their #justgotmyzennis hashtag to showcase satisfied customers and show off their latest products.
Consumers these days are more than happy to comply and to have brands tell them how and what to post. Encouraging user-generated content and customer owned photos is an excellent move for engagement and for the sake of social proof. With so much competition on social media in 2020, anything you can do to create customer-focused and produced content is a big win for you.
8. Re-assessing the social platforms that are important
As you may have clocked-on to, a common theme of our 2020 social media trends is the need to re-assess and reflect. So which social media platforms died off in 2019? Well, none! Despite what you may have perceived, no platform is actually “dead.” Which means, brands and marketers need to rethink where they spend their valuable time and resources, and try to bullseye the platforms where their audience is spending their time.
As an example, LinkedIn is seeing incredible growth for B2B marketers. SnapChat then saw an overall increase in daily active users in 2019, even with the updates to all your favourite apps as well as the emergence of TikTok. Plus, Pinterest is driving serious revenue for consumer brands versus other social networks (which is why their ads are so darn expensive and exclusive).
What this all means? Well, it’s critical to understand how you’re spending your valuable time on social and whether or not you’re getting the biggest ROI you can. E.g – can you clearly point to the ROI of your Facebook or Instagram presence? This is where it’s important to fully understand the real meaning behind your social media KPIs: don’t just chase vanity metrics on the biggest platforms for their own sake. Think about where your brand can really stand out the most, whether that’s through long-form articles on LinkedIn or visual-first content on photo-heavy platforms.
9. Marketers are 100% accountable for their performance data
According to experts, 63% of marketers regularly report social data to their bosses. Getting social media a seat at the executive table means being able to “prove” what your presence is worth. This means monitoring conversations, engagement and growth and making that data readily available to your team – no matter what level social media is reported to.
Which 2020 social media trends will have the biggest impact on your brand?
As always, social media is ever-changing. Is your company keeping up?
The good news is that none of these trends require you to start your social presence over from scratch. Ideally, these findings can help you reflect on what’s working, what isn’t and what you can do to make 2020 your year.