Technology changes and social media evolves. We see it all the time! The days of a platform being just for family and friends to chat, share photos, or post funny videos is long gone. Social media is crucial for marketing business brands.
Marketers are under significant pressure to not only improve their own social media presence but to also be up to date with the latest marketing trends and then apply them to business.
In business, the relationship between social media and marketing is concurrent, and as we approach mid-2020, We have identified the top social media trends for the year.
This list is based on data we have analyzed from previous years, where we have determined the trends that had a steady slope and noted the new developments which had a significant impact after their launch. Since these trends are likely to dominate the industry for the coming years, you must stay updated on these trends to help you improve your business online.
1. Thriving Live VideoIn 2017, live video content became a huge hit. Since then, Live Video has taken the internet by storm in 2020. In one of my previous blog posts, I explained why you should jump on the live video bandwagon.
According to a recent study, this trend has become so popular that an estimated 95% of brand executives plan to incorporate it into their marketing strategies.
Consumers love it. Research shows that 80% of the audience opt for live video over reading blogs. Another 82% indicated that they'd rather watch the live videos than read social media posts.
Consequently, most of the popular social media platforms have integrated the live streaming options in their system, allowing Brand marketers to take advantage of this.
Facebook has led the way in live streaming, according to a report from Buffer on the state of social media in 2018. Unlike 2017 where only 31% of businesses invested in live videos for brand promotion, my expectations are high this year for better performance.
This live streaming fever hasn't only affected marketers, but regular people also. There has been an increased number of live video interactions between friends and family across social media.
The popularity of this trend should be a wake-up call for all businesses to understand the benefits they stand to gain from the direction and invest appropriately.
The trend will help improve interactions with your followers by going live and responding to real-time customer comments.
As a result, you'll maximize your customer reach and generate new leads for the business.
2. The Rise of ChatbotsInternet chatbots have dominated the internet for a while now, since the days of the AOL instant messenger.
As technology changes, chatbots are not left behind, most social media platforms have integrated them in their systems, and businesses use it to smoothen communication with clients.
The trend is rapidly growing, as is the case in the first year of the new Facebook Messenger platform, where the number of chatbots rose from 33,000 to over 100,000.
The chatbots offer endless opportunities to businesses as they recognize word phrases sent by users and generate responses based on their programming.
A good example is Pizza Hut, and how they use the chatbots to simplify the process of ordering food via social media. As a result, the bots can be used to drive more sales to the business and increase the revenue streams.
By the end of 2020, I believe that more businesses will adopt these tools. According to a recent survey, an estimated 80% of marketing executives are likely to choose the bots by the year 2020. This trend has proven cost-effective by saving businesses the cost of paying real customer support representatives.
By the year 2022, it's estimated that the bots will save the healthcare and banking industries a screaming $8 billion per year, compared to the $20 million in 2017.
Although the human touch may seem hard to replace, the chatbots may as well be the next best thing for your business.
Organize your social media ideas in one place across all the document apps you use.
3. Evolving Influencer MarketingDespite Influencer marketing being an old trick in the book, it's implementation in social media has changed in 2020. This is mostly due to the companies partnering with micro-influencers to increase their credibility. If you're wondering who micro-influencers are, they are people on social media who have a big following but aren't celebrities yet.
While there's no defined number of followers, anywhere between 1,000 and 90,000 may be enough to identify you as a micro-influencer. With followers above 100,000, you become a macro influencer, and then later on a celebrity.
Some of the top reasons why brands partner with influencers include:
- According to research, micro-influencers offer a 60% higher engagement rate than celebrity influencers. This means that you can expect a 22.2% increase in average weekly conversions from this trend.
- The micro-influencers are also more cost-effective to the brands as they don't have a standardized pay scale for the influencers.
- It's thus cheaper than other advertising costs. Some influencers don't actually get paid! They, however, get free products from the brands for social media posts. However, as the year matures, I expect the micro-influencers to demand better pay for their services and that business brands will also be more prepared to budget to influencer marketing.
4. Paid Advertisements for BrandsSocial media has opened up numerous opportunities for businesses in 2020. Many companies are opening accounts on various platforms and investing in improving their presence.
While this is crucial, it may not be enough as a marketing strategy. Investing in paid advertisements is essential for companies that want to dominate the market and is a vital aspect of social media marketing strategies.
Facebook has recorded over six million advertisers on its platform, while Instagram hit over two million monthly paid advertisers in September 2017.
These platforms attain these numbers as they can set up ads targeting specific demography, hence, an opportunity most businesses can't turn down.
For Facebook, creating an ad has been simplified for marketers as stated below:
Besides choosing your preferred target audience, Facebook also allows you to set your budget to whatever works best for you, daily or weekly. You can even manage your budget based on the lifetime of each ad.
With the many options available for the types of ads you want to run, it's easy to experiment and see what works best for your company based on your target demographic.
Research shows that by 2020, social media adverts will surpass newspaper ad spending.
Therefore, I anticipate more companies will allocate larger marketing budgets to be paid for social media ads in 2020.
5. Social ListeningBelieve it or not, social media platforms listen to your conversations.
You may have noted this from some weird conversations you had with your friends, then the next day, you find a similar advertisement on social media.
Although this may sound disturbing, it's something that's happening today. Some marketing solutions like Shelley's Social Media offer social listening to enable the brands to analyze various audiences.
Business brands can utilize this social listening to see what customers say about them and also to monitor the relevant keywords and hashtags used on social media.
With the data collected, the company can then optimize their marketing strategy to ensure they target the right audience.
6. Leverage User-Generated ContentOne of the best ways to grow your business by doing less work is by using user-generated content. This content is basically free advertising. You do this by getting customers to talk about your company.
A simple way is by posting user content to your company's profile. This will encourage the customers to use hashtags and post about your brand on social platforms. When people notice that you're willing to feature user photos, more people will post about you in a bid to be selected.
Look at how Thule employs this strategy on Instagram:
By posting a user's content, the user thanked Thule through the comment section. Henceforth, more followers will be encouraged to the same.
As a result, Thule expands its reach of products to a broader audience.
When the customer posts your products on their social platforms, all their followers get to see it and become aware of your presence in the market.
People are also more inclined to trust the recommendations from their friends and family.
For this reason, leveraging user-generated content is not only a top lead generating strategy but also incorporates social media to form the perfect distribution channel for your content.
7. Augmented RealityAugmented reality is a modern technology that takes something real and alters it using technology. Some good examples of this technology in the market include the Pokemon Go gaming app or the Snapchat’s face filters.
These applications are granted access to the camera and add fictional elements to the screen. Many social media platforms have implemented the technology on their platforms.
Facebook has also integrated this technology with its camera effects platform.
Due to the success of this technology, Facebook has gone to the extent of dedicating a studio solely for developers to come up with more unique animations.
The filters can detect motion and real-time interactions even during live streams. An example of a Facebook live broadcast: https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/facebook-live-business-examples
Instagram is also expected to follow suit and implement augmented technology as it is run by Facebook. Over the coming years, I hope significant changes in social media augmented technology with more advanced filters.
8. Ephemeral ContentDespite the name sounding foreign, this term describes a short-lived content media that lasts up to 24 hours before disappearing.
I'm sure you are familiar with it, something like Instagram or Snapchat stories.
It was initially developed by Snapchat, but Instagram quickly implemented it after noticing its resounding success in the market. This content has gained more popularity compared to the traditional sponsored content because people feel it's more authentic.
Although it's mostly utilized by people for posting their daily personal experiences, businesses can use it to increase their reach.
It provides an alternate option to live to stream and allows you to post numerous content without spamming your followers' timelines.
When posting on timelines, you have to be careful to balance between posting too much or too little content as these actions may irritate your followers or cause them to unfollow your profile.
However, when adding content on your story, most followers won't mind as it doesn't take up space on their timeline as other media would.
Another advantage of using ephemeral content is that it creates the fear of missing out on valuable content. They will thus check your stories more frequently.
9. The Decline in Referral Traffic and Organic ReachAs social platforms change their algorithms, user timelines are flooded with numerous ads and posts, most of which are irrelevant.
This has resulted in many users prioritizing the posts of their friends and family only.
Take Facebook, for example, their organic reach has dropped by 50% over the previous years due to their numerous algorithm changes.
Brands, therefore, have to come up with better alternative social media marketing methods as they cannot rely on social media posts to drive traffic and clicks to their websites.
10. Increase in Social Presence for Small BusinessEveryone is on social media today, and most of us are addicted to it.
For small businesses, social media is now a platform that hosts most of its customers, and hence, they've recognized the essence of having a strong social media presence.
Statistics show that 52% of small business owners post to social media on a daily, with Facebook being the most popular channel.
Other social channels have also noticed an increase in the number of small business users. This change in trends has also forced business owners to transform how they run business.
More owners are hiring social media marketing managers to handle their numerous accounts on different platforms, and some are using time-saving tools to help manage and schedule their posts.
As the year progresses, it's becoming harder for businesses to survive without a social media account.
Numerous developments are taking place in social media, and as a marketer, it's your responsibility to keep up with the changing trends to reach your target audience.
Based on this research, I was able to shortlist the top ten social media trends to keep up within 2020. The trends on this list can be a useful guide for developing your marketing strategy.
A bonus trend is Twitter, and even though it's just a prediction, it has the potential to make significant changes in 2020.
Use this information to your advantage as you move forward in the last half of the year.
What social media trends will your company focus on to generate leads and drive conversions in 2020?