Social media platforms are vital battlegrounds for any business looking to promote their brand and make a splash with new audiences. But while every business today maintains a social media presence, there are still relatively few that have cracked the secret formula to effective social media marketing. Below are five trends that we expect the most successful social media marketers to embrace this year.
More Influence For Influencers
Any marketer worth their salt understands the importance of social media influencers. Getting your business or product mentioned by the right influencer can see your business’s fortunes transform literally overnight. Recent research from influencermarketinghub.com suggests that around 59% of marketers working today are planning on increasing their influencer budget for 2020. This represents the continuation of a trend that has been emerging since the mid-2000s when the first social media sites were launched.
The power and influence of social media influencers are only increasing with time. Consumers are generally quite distrustful of the claims that businesses make about their own products but can be incredibly trusting of social media influencers. Having an influencer putting their message out for them can be a real boon to businesses. The big advantage that these influences have is that they are individual people and are relatable in a way that a business is not.
Clearly, influencers are here to stay. In fact, their stock is still on the rise and they are a vital component of social media marketing for businesses of all sizes.
Integrating Shopping Features
Over the last few years, many different social media platforms have introduced buying and selling tools in some capacity. For example, Facebook has always had local groups, where people buy and sell their unwanted goods in the local area. Facebook has now capitalized on this by introducing a formal set of buying tools that make it easy for users to sell their old stuff through the platform.
Following Facebook’s success in trialing these new features, we have seen other social media platforms scrambling to catch up. As a result, it is now easy to go from browsing your Instagram feed to handing over your credit card information so you can purchase that outfit that your favorite influencer has been showing off.
Throughout 2020, we expect to see these features expanded. The platforms that already have selling features are likely to augment and enhance them. Meanwhile, the few platforms that have yet to embrace this potential source of revenue will doubtless do so now that the concept has been proven.
Capitalizing On Stories
Stories were initially a Snapchat innovation. However, following the success of the stories format for Snapchat, this is now a feature that is common across all social media platforms. Until now, stories have appealed a great deal to users themselves, but have had only a relatively minor role in social media marketing. Going into 2020, it looks like that situation is about to change.
From a marketer’s perspective, there is a lot about the story format that appeals to marketers. In particular, most users use their stories in order to upload content that has been created on the spot. Because of this, the content on a user’s story is generally considered to be more authentic and trustworthy than the heavily rehearsed and carefully constructed content that marketers usually produce.
Audiences are much more receptive to marketing when they feel it is coming from a source that they can trust. This is a big part of why social media marketing is so important for businesses, and we expect that marketers will continue to find ways of capitalizing on stories throughout 2020.
AR & VR
Both augmented reality and virtual reality or technologies that have been about for a while. People lucky enough to remember the heady days of the 1980s will remember the first abortive attempts at introducing AR and VR into the public consciousness. One of the biggest difficulties that both of these technologies have faced is that they are often regarded as gimmicks rather than being genuinely useful pieces of tech.
Both augmented reality and virtual reality have been used to great effectiveness within theme parks, for example. However, outside of things like training simulators, both AR and VR are still much more about entertainment than they are about solving problems.
There is a reason that both of these technologies fell off the radar for a couple of decades. Many people would argue that the technologies simply came too early before we had widespread access to the hardware and software necessary to utilize them effectively.
Now that a worthwhile VR and AR experience can be produced using consumer hardware, the limiting factor is no longer the availability of technology, rather, it is our ability to deploy it in a useful way.
Marketers are still finding their feet when it comes to using augmented reality and virtual reality to sell to consumers. However, now that the barriers are coming down, we are expecting to see many more marketers taking the plunge. By the end of 2020, we expect that there will be something resembling a standardized approach to marketing with these technologies.
Embracing The Bots
Bots are now an integral part of the social media landscape. Given how automation has permeated just about every other aspect of modern business, it is unsurprising that those businesses are now looking to automate their social media profiles as much as possible. There are two key types of bot that are of interest to social media managers. The first is the chatbot, which businesses are increasingly using to handle customer support. The other is the social media automation bot, which is used to automatically upload new content and interact with other users.
While many social media platforms have previously been hostile towards the idea of bots, they are now widely accepted, albeit begrudgingly. Businesses who are not using robots to help manage their social media marketing always going to be at the disadvantage compared to those that have perfected the art. Going forward, it is going to become increasingly difficult for businesses, especially larger businesses, to manage social media without any kind of automation at all. Beginning in 2020, we are expecting a paradigm shift when it comes to attitudes towards bots.
These are just some of the most important social trends that we expect to take hold in 2020. But given the phenomenal rate at which this field evolves, we will likely see many more trends emerging alongside them.