Every year, the advancement of technology gains more momentum than in years previous, and 2020 will be no exception to the phenomenon. As technology evolves to meet our needs, businesses have to stay ahead of social media and marketing trends in order to remain relevant in a time when consumers have the world at their fingertips, and due to Coronavirus, are more online than ever. If a company is merely keeping up with trends, then it has already fallen behind. Therefore, our digital marketing team has compiled a list of the top social media trends to help you and your business make the most of 2020.
1. Continued effort to decrease “vanity metrics”
In 2019, Instagram rolled out a new feature that hides the number of “likes” a user gets on his or her posts, so only individual users are able to see the total number of likes that each of their posts receives. The purpose of this change was to encourage users to focus more on the quality of a post rather than the quantity of likes that it could accumulate. We can expect to see this trend continue throughout the year as social networking companies make an effort to combat the negative effects that social media can have on a person’s self-esteem.
Although Instagram is currently the only company to start hiding likes, other social media sites are attempting to minimize the emphasis put on likes or follower counts in their own ways. Youtube, for instance, is now abbreviating a channel’s follower count, so rather than seeing 12,050 followers on a Youtuber’s page, the number will simply read 12K. While it is only a small change, it is enough to begin drawing eyes away from follower count and refocusing them on the quality of the content that Youtubers are producing.
2. Video content is taking over
Hubspot conducted a marketing survey and discovered that video is currently the most popular form of media used in content strategy, more so than blogs and infographics (hubspot.net). This trend will continue as more marketers catch on to the success other businesses are having with video content as a primary tactic of their marketing campaigns. Those that haven’t utilized videos to market their products or services should integrate this into their marketing strategy as soon as possible to combat a decrease in sales and customer interest.
There are certain benefits of video marketing that no other medium can properly produce, especially when it comes to demonstrating a particular product or service. Because the marketplace is saturated with similar companies vying for the same customers’ attention, it is more important than ever to communicate what it is that makes your business unique. That uniqueness can come through in a behind-the-scenes style video, a quick thirty-second clip with your tip of the day, a tour of your home office – the possibilities are endless. And it’s important to remember that not everything has to be a big-budget production with an entire camera crew at your disposal. Customers just want another way to connect with the brands that interest them.
3. Ecommerce Tools Galore
Instagram is leading the pack when it comes to new features for users to explore. In March 2019, the platform added more eCommerce tools to the mix, most notably the ability for users to make in-app purchases straight from the brand accounts that they follow without ever having to visit the actual company webpage. This is a game-changing feature because it concentrates the user’s experience of a brand within a single app. Customers can find a product on Instagram, learn more about it on the brand’s account, scroll through pictures, videos, and testimonials within the comment section, add the product to their carts, and pay right on the app. Facebook conducted a survey of 21,000 Instagram users to learn how they use the app and for what purpose and these were the results:
- 83% said they discover new products/services on IG
- 81% use the app to research a product/service
- 80% use it to determine whether they will purchase a product/service
Imagine surveying 100 people on your social media performance, and 80 of them are judging you against your competitors on Instagram. This is a huge group of potential customers that are using the app to determine who they give their business to from the moment your account appears on their screens. It is absolutely worth it to invest time in optimizing the way your brand comes across on this platform.
Instagram has become a popular platform to research and purchase products, but it is not the only app that users flock to for more information about a company and what it has to offer. Facebook is a commonplace for customers to learn more about a business, read reviews and browse photos. Money can also be sent or requested through Facebook, and the Marketplace is perfect to buy or sell just about anything in your area, but neither of those features are as sophisticated and formal as the eCommerce tools utilized by Instagram, nor do they reinforce brand identity. They are actions experienced separately from the brand, while Instagram seeks to immerse its users in a single brand from discovery to purchase. If your business has products for purchase but you’re unsure whether you could benefit from this new Instagram feature, consider speaking with social media experts to determine how to get the most of your online presence.
4. Brand outreach as a form of customer service
Companies are recognizing the importance of having genuine interactions with their customers and how it affects the way they spend their money as well as who they spend it with. It is clear that customers love to see brands responding to comments and questions in their social media feed – it confirms that the brand is not only aware of customer concerns but that the company cares enough about its customers to take the time to reach out to them. By engaging with your customers, you build trust, through trust you enhance your brand’s reputation, and with a good brand reputation you can encourage brand loyalty.
According to an article on Sprout Social, more than half of consumers will increase their spending with a brand that they feel drawn to, and 76% will end up purchasing a product or service from that brand over a competitor. The experience that a customer has with your brand will absolutely determine how that customer interacts with your business in the future, so in 2020 focus on building strong relationships with consumers and lean into the social aspect of social media.
5. User-Generated Content is more popular than ever
User-Generated Content, or “UGC”, is akin to “influencer” marketing in that it is content created by an individual showcasing a brand’s product or service, but rather than relying on a few specific users to share their experience with your brand, UGC gives any social media user the chance to essentially advertise your business for you. When you repost User-Generated Content, you are doing two things at once: filling your social media pipeline with little effort on your part, and encouraging other users to share content pertaining to your brand with the hope that they, too, could be featured on your accounts. The simple truth is that the more you engage with your followers, the more your followers engage with you. It’s a win-win.
6. Increase in Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence adoption
Augmented Reality is yet another tool that fosters consumer engagement and enhances customer experience. One example is GlassesUSA, an online eyeglass store, which uses AR to allow users on their website to “try before you buy,” a feature that involves uploading a picture or turning on the computer’s webcam to let the user virtually try on a pair of glasses. We have seen AR used on a number of platforms, especially apps like Snapchat and Instagram, where users can pick different filters that alter their hair, eye color, face shape, and so on. However, we can expect to see AR play a much bigger role in the way people shop as companies begin to invest more time and money into creating virtual mirrors in which to try their products.
As consumers shy away from brick and mortar businesses to shop online instead, new demands are being met to attract potential customers who require a little more security before making a purchase. AR aids in the buying process, and Artificial Intelligence is gaining popularity as a tool to give consumers a more well-rounded virtual experience. Whether it is a chatbot that sends updates on a customer’s order, or a program that analyzes customer buying patterns to better recommend products or services in the future, AI is changing the way people interact with businesses online, and the technology becomes more advanced every year.
The landscape is changing quickly, and business owners can struggle to keep up. It is important to invest in your company and make sure you are being strategic with your efforts. Our team at Modern Consulting 360 can help you navigate the ever-changing digital and technological landscape so you can not only keep up with the market but stay ahead of it. Don’t just get a marketing person or team that simply goes through the motions, make sure they take the time to understand your business and look ahead to scale your efforts.
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