How Social Media Marketing Is Evolving In 2020

Keeping up with the latest social media trends can be challenging as this dynamic landscape evolves and changes constantly. In 2020, many marketers will have a tough time building a successful marketing strategy that works on popular social media platforms, particularly because of the global pandemic. Ultimately, the key is to find a good balance between engaging with almost every customer and creating meaningful social content for a higher ROI. People need to think about refocusing and reflecting on how their company approaches social platforms moving forward. Social media is now involved in the daily routines and lives of an increasing number of people. That results in social media addiction. Likewise, social media marketing has become more integrated into numerous workflows. Social media innovations not only change the way a typical customer interacts with brands, but they also have a huge impact on how people purchase or even discover products in the first place. Realizing how important social media is for many people, businesses and marketers are flocking to various social networks to reach their target audience in 2020. They tend to overload their consumers with user-generated and video content on social media. Moreover, many businesses use social media as a virtual place for providing customer service. But how do you survive and stand out from your competitors? Continue reading to learn more.

What Are The Latest Social Media Trends For 2020?

Competition is fierce and the only way to remain competitive and achieve success is to come up with an effective strategy that will obviously make you stand out. It should be designed specifically for social media and your goals and be able to fuel business growth. That requires staying on top of the latest technology innovations and the recent social media trends.

The following are new social media trends digital marketers and companies should watch in 2020. These trends will define the social marketing landscape not only in 2020 but also in the years to come.

1. Video Content Will Continue Booming

As the most engaging form of social media content, video dominates most social platforms. It beats user-generated and other sorts of content on social media in 2020. While it comes as long-form content on some social media sites like YouTube, other platforms (like Stories and TikTok) prefer short-form videos. Both short-form and long videos are highly shared on social media.

Even though Instagram is still the biggest hub for influencers, a growing number of marketers and businesses are moving to YouTube. In 2020, Instagram tried to keep people engaged with IGTV landscape videos. Meanwhile, TikTok quickly gained popularity with young influencers and consumers, especially between the ages of 12 and 28. This social media platform reached more than two billion downloads in 2020. TikTok boasts a monthly engagement rate of above 70% thanks to short-term funny videos.

The Cisco Annual Internet Report found that video content will make up about 82% of online content by 2023. That being said, digital marketers need to include videos in social media marketing strategies more often. Otherwise, they will have difficulty staying relevant on social media in the future. They are advised to incorporate videos into their social media posts across multiple social networks. It is a good idea to use “Stories” and similar features for ads and regular posts as well.

2. More Direct & Dynamic Social Media Ads

In 2020, brands still invest enormously in social advertisements. This is, without a doubt, one of the most important social media marketing trends this year. Social ads are now more dynamic, direct, and advanced than ever before. That makes it more comfortable for the customer (or at least for most customers) to shop on social media. This also makes it easier for companies to encourage direct sales from their customer base.

Let’s see how it works on some popular social media sites:

  • Instagram has recently introduced new shopping features that promote direct selling on this social platform. This enables retail brands, marketers, and e-commerce to sell on this site without adding links in their Instagram bio.
  • Facebook puts a lot of effort into personalizing ad experiences in 2020. The goal is to deliver products/services dynamically to varying formats and customers. Personalized advertisement experience makes a big difference in customer service.
  • LinkedIn ads have been evolving, too. This social media platform offers a variety of advertisement formats, including sponsored content, message ads (sponsored InMail), and PPC text ads. Brands and marketers should combine these ads to enlarge their customer base and generate more B2B sales leads.

3. The Use of AR Filters & Effects

Augmented reality (AR) has made its way in the social virtual reality world thanks to its ability to offer brand-building and connecting opportunities. Most social networks already leverage the power of augmented reality in 2020. What’s more, augmented reality is mainstream on some social media platforms like Instagram. We can expect to see more social media apps incorporating this technology next year.

Instagram employs this advanced technology, especially AR effects and filters, for Instagram stories. This is one of the latest Instagram trends. People often use these filters/effects to add bunny ears, eyeglasses, or “makeup” to their faces. This social media trend is also popularized by Snapchat. Other social networking sites are likely to adopt this trend by the end of 2020 or in 2021. For instance, Facebook has launched some AR filters and experimented with different AR functions, too.

While most people use AR filters to have fun, brands utilize them for marketing purposes. By incorporating these effects into their Instagram stories, they can increase brand awareness and engagement. In addition to using AR filters for Instagram stories and social media posts, companies also employ augmented reality (AR) to make it easier for customers to shop for their products. That makes a world of difference to customer service and shopping experience. For example, some AR filters added on Facebook Messenger allow every potential customer to ‘try’ on a product (like Sephora makeup) before making a purchase, or try on Cheekbone Beauty lipstick on Instagram to decide which bold lip colour suits them best.

4. TikTok Disrupts Social Video

Video-driven social media platforms like TikTok and Lasso are gaining increasing popularity in 2020. Many brands use videos to accelerate engagement on social media, while a lot of marketers regard it as the “King” of social marketing. By the way, Google is putting more emphasis on this type of content in recent times.

While many social media platforms try to benefit from this, TikTok is one of the major disruptors right now. This video-sharing service is dramatically disrupting influencer marketing in 2020 as TikTok is suitable for both micro and macro-influencers.

Rather than providing a boring long-form video format, TikTok offers viral short-form videos to its users. These videos appeal to young Gen Z users in particular. With democratized virality as well as entertaining and engaging content, TikTok is bringing lots of Gen Z consumers to their site.

5. Ephemeral Content Is King On Social Media

Have you ever seen ephemeral content on social media? If yes, then you know that this content disappears shortly after being published. This format is rather appealing today because people now have a shorter attention span (approximately eight seconds) and prefer consuming content quickly.

Snapchat and Instagram stories often contain ephemeral content. These stories are very addictive and engaging. That’s why people are spending so much time on social media scrolling through Stories. Research shows that the number of Stories users on Instagram is on the rise. With that in mind, marketers utilize Stories for their social media marketing strategies.

6. Social Media Audience Segmentation Is Very Important

Whether they brand ourselves or market products, brands craft social posts and messages with their consumers in mind. However, it can be tricky to figure out which posts suit the specific needs of particular social media audiences. This is where social media audience segmentation comes in. It allows brands to get a clear picture of their target audience on social platforms.

Audience or customer segmentation helps brands identify their ideal customers. This process involves dividing people (audience or customers) into a few categories based on their needs and preferences. Social media customer segmentation is going to be used in more digital marketing strategies in 2020 and beyond.

7. Instagram Is Removing the Number of Likes On Posts

Instagram tested removing the like option on videos, photos, and posts with the aim of making them less important, even for big influencers. That’s because many brands use this feature at the expense of the engagement flow. To prevent this, Instagram will keep removing the number of likes on online posts for users across the globe. This way they want to make the users focus on the actual content – the videos and photos themselves – they are sharing instead of keeping an eye on how many likes they’re getting.

How does it affect Instagram marketing? If likes get removed permanently, many influencers and companies will have a tough time adapting to this update. The removal of the like feature will make it more difficult for brands to measure the effectiveness of their social media campaigns. That will get them to fork out money on Instagram advertisements to keep tracking their advertising campaigns.

8. Ecommerce Continues To Expand

Okay, maybe this is not one of the latest social media trends, but it’s worth mentioning. Not only will social e-commerce get much stronger, but it also tends to become one of the most significant retail channels. A lot of brands have been selling their products on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for years. For a large number of businesses, social e-commerce represents a brand-new retail avenue.

As more and more people move from offline stores to e-commerce websites and social media, a rising number of social platforms introduce various selling features such as Facebook and Instagram shoppable posts. Furthermore, a lot of social networking sites will evolve into retail websites in 2020. This social media trend is going to strengthen in 2021, so it is high time for marketers to start leveraging and incorporating social e-commerce into their marketing strategies to increase sales.

What Is The Future Of Social Media Marketing?

Now that you know the social media marketing trends for 2020, it’s time to forecast the future trends that will be shaping social media for years to come.

Messaging Apps: There Will Be More Private & Less Public Groups

Data privacy concerns are on the rise constantly, whereas social networking friends lists are becoming more cumbersome. That will cause many people to move from the public into private social media groups. Today, there is a broad selection of social messaging apps, such as:
  • Instagram Threads - A messaging app designed to connect the users with their close friends.
  • Facebook Messenger - An official Facebook app that enables users to have text conversations with their friends.
  • WhatsApp Messenger - A free messaging app that lets users call and/or message family and friends.
There will be more social applications that connect people intimately and let them create private groups. With these apps, people will rest easy knowing that their intimate messages will not get into the wrong hands. Messaging apps will pop up almost every day and eventually outgrow social networks. This trend will shake up the social landscape and shape digital marketing in a couple of years.

Social Media Updates Might Be Replaced By "Storytelling" Soon

Stories are extremely popular on many platforms, especially since 90% of Instagram accounts are businesses alone. This format has the potential to replace most updates on social media in the upcoming years. Here are some more relevant facts:
  • Facebook Stories have become one of the most popular ways people share News Feed posts across different social apps.
  • Over half a billion people use WhatsApp Status every day. It is an app version of the Stories feature used for sharing text messages, videos, and photos. This content disappears 24 hours after being shared.
  • Similar to WhatsApp Status, more than 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories daily. People use various creative tools to tell their stories on Instagram. This immersive format inspires action and creates deep relationships.
  • Many Gen Z customers check Stories for services and products they are looking to purchase.
  • Instagram Stories are used by 36 percent of businesses for product or brand promotion.
Considering these facts, brands will need to use Stories to full advantage in the future. With the right tools, they need to create Stories that attract the attention of their users. We can expect to see more storytelling apps and sites next year. This engaging format is going to provide new business opportunities that brands should take advantage of.

Influencer Marketing Will Go Nano & Continue Soaring

Big-name social media influencers will be tapering off and losing influence in 2021 and beyond. Therefore, brands will have to rely on nano and micro-influencers down the road. That doesn’t mean big influencers will leave the market altogether. However, nano-influencers will exert influence by offering a strong, personalized audience engagement. That’s because they have small yet well-defined audiences.

This will make all the difference in influencer marketing in the near future. It will keep soaring as a result of this trend. Small-name influencers will be paid more to promote businesses, so don’t be surprised if you see a huge number of nano and micro-influencers on social networks. Consequently, more money will be spent on influencer marketing. A great amount of marketing dollars will go to micro and nano-influencers and they will play a big role in connecting customers to brands.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the fact that it’s more economical to invest in influencers than launching paid advertising campaigns. Despite being cheaper, this marketing strategy delivers great results. Influencers help brands achieve different marketing or business goals besides generating more leads.

The Rise In The Number Of Social Media Communities

While that’s not a new trend, it will grow in popularity over the coming years. Most of today’s social media communities have been formed by brands that are looking to gather their customers this way. So, generally speaking, these private groups are interest-driven. Brands utilize these communities to bring both their prospective and existing buyers together. That allows them to increase customer engagement, gain customer insights, and promote their products without spending a fortune.

When it comes to group members, this is a great way to come together and discuss different topics or interests. They also look for solutions to various problems and share thoughts or experiences through social media communities. There’s a sheer number of Facebook Groups these days. Gold’s Gym, for example, is one of the popular Facebook groups. It lets members sign up for unique fitness programs. In addition to sharing their progress, they also document their fitness journeys and much more.

As the number of private communities continues to rise across social media, there will be more brands hunting for new users within these groups. Instead of interacting with broad-ranging demographics, businesses will respond to individuals directly.

At the same time, marketers will join a wide range of social media groups to reach prospective customers. There are a lot of LinkedIn communities for marketers, including Digital Marketing Professionals, Search Engine Watch, Content Marketing Institute, and Marketing Communication. Whether you are a digital marketer or business owner, watch out for new social media groups.

The Bottom Line: Social Media Marketing Will Remain Exciting But Challenging

As social media changes and evolves, new marketing trends will appear in the near future. Many of these trends will be driven by innovative technology. Brands will have to work on building a smart marketing tech stack to keep up with the latest technologies and trends. While this will be exciting for some brands and marketers, others may find it a bit more challenging.

In order to up your social media game in 2021, you will need to stay up to date with the latest marketing trends that dominate this virtual landscape. Besides, you should leverage trends that have the strongest influence on your business and build your strategy accordingly. This is the only way to survive the game and stand out from the competition.

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