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February 3, 2020

Social Media in 2020: Changes, Trends & Things to Watch

Author: Valerie Baker

I recently wrote a blog on the latest marketing trends coming in 2020, which touched on everything from voice search, to podcasts, and SEO changes.

While I briefly touched on social media with video content and influencer marketing, I didn’t go to too in-depth. The reason is that while social media is a huge part of digital marketing, it encompasses so much that it really can be put into its own category with the number of new features, trends, and different platforms that have emerged.

The last decade has seen social media solidify its place in the digital landscape and marketing world. There are 3.2 billon people worldwide active daily on social media, with more than 85% of Gen Z users learning about new products through social media (source) making it an extremely valuable marketing tool.

As we enter a new decade, it’s clear that social media will continue to play a huge role for businesses and brands. Let’s take a look at the most significant changes and trends to keep your eye on as a social media marketer in 2020.

Say Goodbye to The Like Button

As marketers, seeing growth in numbers and being able to measure KPIs is a very important aspect of anything we do, including social media.

So, Instagram making the choice to take away likes in the newsfeed could have an impact on your social media strategy. To be clear,  users can still “like” photos, and you can still see the number of likes you get on your own photos, but it won’t be on display to other users as they scroll through the newsfeed or look at your profile. For a business, the number of likes could help you build better credibility and have social proof among your prospective customers.

One of the reasons behind removing likes from the newsfeed is to depressurize Instagram, where the competition for likes was creating a negative experience for many. It’s also to combat fake likes and followers, which was popular among influencers and businesses to cheat their way into growth.

This feature has slowly been being phased out on Instagram, and for social media marketers, you will have to find ways to adapt your strategy to these changes. While it can seem scary to be losing likes, you can use this as an opportunity to create more meaningful, engaging content, to build credibility and a relationship with your audience without the pressure of the like button. Instead of focusing on likes, you can also focus on other data – like demographics and relevant user data.

Video Content Continues to Dominate

As mentioned in my 2020 trends blog, video content is one of the most effective forms of marketing you can use online. This is especially true for social media. Not only do the newsfeed algorithms on popular social media channels like Facebook and Instagram favor video content – meaning your followers are more likely to see your post – but stats show that users prefer video content.

A study from Animoto shows that videos are a consumers’ favorite type of content. Additionally, 72% of customers say they would rather learn about a product or service by way of video, according to Hubspot.

There are countless other studies and statistics to support the fact that video content is highly effective in getting your brand name out there, connecting with your audience, and promoting your products and services.

Reach Customers in Real-Time with Stories

Stories – which started on Snapchat and have now grown to Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube – have become a huge part of the social media landscape. Especially in recent years where timelines on Instagram and Facebook are no longer chronological, stories are a more organic way to reach your audience in real-time.

Stories, especially on Instagram, offer a variety of great features that allow you to create interactive content for your audience, including polls and quizzes. You can also post photos or videos, including music, fun stickers, or gifs, include geotags and interactive filters. All this allows you to create much more dynamic content then you could in posts in the newsfeed. Once your account reaches a certain follower threshold, you also get the “swipe up” feature, where you can link off to your website.

Facebook, which introduced stories earlier this year, already saw 35% increase in brand outcomes for companies that incorporated stories into their social media strategy.

Know Your Audience

Getting to know your target audience is an essential part of any company’s marketing strategy. Social media gives us more information than ever about who our audience is, that we can use to further optimize and grow.

By simply having an account for your business on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you get access to a multitude of demographic data – the age, location, job title, and more of those that follow you. By interacting with people (or watching them interact with others) you can see what they are saying about your products and services, or what content they are responding positively or negatively to.

You also have plenty of data on your competitors and other people in your industry available to you to do market research. If you are not yet utilizing social media analysis in defining and understanding your target audience, 2020 is the time to start.

Develop Your Social Media Strategy in 2020

With all the different social media platforms available, and all brands competing for our attention from their audience in this space – it can be overwhelming to define your social media strategy.

That being said, the most effective social media marketing, regardless of trends, will always be content that is authentic, entertaining, and informative for your target audience and will help create trust and build a relationship between you and the consumer.

Atilus is a full-service digital agency that can help your brand grow online with all things digital marketing and can help you develop a social media marketing strategy that is right for your business. To learn more about our services, contact us today!

Valerie Baker

Valerie is the Senior Account Manager & Project Manager here at Atilus.

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