If you look at the 2020 social media landscape, you can get a grip on the big social media trends to watch out for the year.
According to Sprout Social, advertising spending on social media will rise to $102 billion in the next 12 months and there is no doubt that social media is as much about business and profits while it is about people being connected.
What’s going on?
1. Data security is getting tighter
As of January 2020, cyber incidents ranks as the most important business risk globally (39% of responses) in the ninth Allianz Risk Barometer 2020 for the first time ever, relegating perennial top peril Business interruption (BI) (37% of responses) to second place. Awareness of the cyber threat has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by companies increasing reliance on data and IT systems and a number of high-profile incidents. Seven years ago it ranked only 15th with just 6% of responses.
As the social media marketing efforts are becoming increasingly transparent, data security has become a top priority for most companies ever since. It is important to minimize public distrust of the media and strive the best to obtain the greatest possible reach by focusing on quality engagement that is transparent. Hence, more and more companies are favoring community building through meaningful conversations with smaller groups of audience.
Besides, it is also essential to offer a personalized customer experience as one of the key social media marketing strategies in 2020/21. So, online data collection through behavioral tracking is vital, and one-on-one communications on a large scale may become the best opportunity for marketers to achieve it.
2. Live stories and videos are slowly taking over
One of the biggest social media trends in 2020 will be the rise of the Stories format. First championed by Snapchat, the content format is now available on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, TikTok and even LinkedIn.
With millennials and Gen Z in love with the format, ephemeral video content offers an excellent opportunity for advertisers to connect followers. Marketers can pick it up by making their video stories interactive, using polls to gain insights from their viewers.
Besides, brands can demonstrate a certain authenticity by going live. The audience knows that it’s an unpredictable challenge with certain risks involved. So, choosing to present a video live tells followers that the brand is open, honest, and willing to present itself as it is.
3. Social commerce (e-commerce on social channels) is going mainstream
Today, the younger generation, especially the Generation Z spend most of their time shopping on social media platforms compared to the average online consumer. The vast majority of this online shopping is done on visual platforms like Instagram.
When online shoppers can buy products directly within their social media feeds, it offers a much better user experience, especially on mobile devices. Brands are sure to see more social commerce pop up over the next year, as e-commerce businesses aim to leverage the strategy to create a smoother customer journey that drives sales and customer satisfaction.
4. Artificial intelligence (AI) is dominating customer service
A few years ago , the idea of customer service chatbots seemed far-fetched. Moreover, the idea that customers might actually want to connect with a chatbot instead of a human was even more difficult to believe.
But today, chatbots are much smarter and faster, as advances in AI technology have transformed the software into a real asset that can enhance any business. AI chatbots don't need breaks and don't get overwhelmed dealing with multiple customers at the same time. As technology improves, more businesses will adopt it into their social media strategies.
5. Influencer marketing is growing stably
It’s clear now that influencers aren’t going anywhere. Millennials birthed the YouTube star, and Gen Z is making influencer marketing a fully-fledged and very lucrative career path for the future.
It wouldn’t be a surprise when most of the brands plan to increase their influencer budget, leveraging the reach and persuasive powers of relatable people with dedicated niche audiences. And interestingly, it’s the micro-influencers with 10,000 - 100,000 fans that benefit the most, as many small businesses opt to partner with these individuals rather than bust the budget for celebrity endorsements. Ultimately, influencer marketing remains an integral aspect of modern social media, and as social commerce and video stories rise, so too will the influencer marketing industry.
Today, the younger generations prefer videos, interactive content, and augmented reality (AR) apps like Snapchat and TikTok rather than the traditional social media of Facebook and text posts (but it is still important to include both types of content). If businesses are going to maintain their edge in 2021, marketing teams need to keep up to date with social media trends and embrace new ideas and technologies like social commerce and AR.