2020 Social Media Marketing Trends

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. 

Conclusion

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. 

Get a customized action plan for your business. Contact Us to get started today.

Sources:

Instagram Launches ‘Checkout on Instagram’ to Facilitate In-App

ShoppingSocial Media Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Insider Drift Conversational Marketing

#BrandsGetReal: What consumers want from brands in a divided society

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Carmen Devine Carmen Devine April 21, 2020 0 Comments

Marketing During a Crisis

As we navigate through uncertain times, many questions run through the minds of not only the nation, but communities around the globe. Cities, states, and countries continue to escalate restrictions, slowing down operations to a crawl worldwide. We continue to watch the news and social media for updates on the Coronavirus and its impact in order to determine the best course of action for ourselves, our families, and our businesses. No matter where you stand in the political climate or the concern spectrum, there is a widespread need for many businesses and entrepreneurs to continue making strategic decisions on how to best move forward with marketing their business. 

So, how should you market during this crisis or recession? Where do you start?

Here is a quick guide on marketing strategy during emergencies:


1.Pause and evaluate your current marketing efforts. What do you have scheduled or on autopilot on various platforms and mediums? Do you have ads running or email campaigns scheduled to go out? Identify all queues and put a stop to them immediately if it makes sense to do so. It will be much better to delay communication from your brand to evaluate and update it, rather than risk the interest, trust, or even respect of your follower base due to messaging that is not relevant, tone deaf, or in bad taste

2. Update your customers and followers on what your business is doing. Yes, we see news about it everywhere, but it’s important to let your customers know what to expect during the foreseeable future. Make sure you update your Google listing, website, and social media pages with adjusted changes (i.e. hours and closures). If you are able to assist those in need, be sure to have clear information on how customers or community members can take advantage of your products or services. Even if you are unsure of how you will move forward long term, acknowledging the circumstance and informing your followers with updates goes a long way in keeping your brand relevant

3. Be real and genuine in your efforts. Address your employees, teammates, and consumers with a caring message. No matter what industry or vertical in which you operate, nor the size of your company, people’s lives are being affected. Almost 89% of American consumers say that they are loyal to brands that share their values, so it’s wise to emphasize your core values in your messaging and how you will be handling what the future holds. Communicating empathy reinforces qualities that are human, and offers a chance to reinforce an emotional connection with your audience. Messaging using “we”, “us”, and “together” shows solidarity with your company culture and gives a positive message of resilience.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

– Seth Godin

4. Know your audience to understand and predict consumer behavior. We are seeing first-hand how individuals and groups act in crisis and uncertain situations. A lack of trust in media and news outlets, combined with an overload of information sources, causes confusion, fear, and distrust that drives people to act in ways they normally may not. Economic uncertainty drastically changes financial and buying practices for everyone.

Understanding your audience and their decision-making process allows you to create a strategic marketing plan that aligns with what is most important to them. Focus more on how you can help your consumers and what problems you can solve more-so than simply what your company does. Something like, “Got your hands full? Eliminate the stress of planning meals by ordering online!” will speak to your restaurant audience more than, “We are open and deliver”. Communicate what consumers could miss out on if they wait, let them know about how a product could be helpful during stressful times, and let them know you’ll be there for them whenever they are ready.  Use this time to lay a foundation to build brand loyalty as the economy improves.


5. Look for other creative ways to connect as consumer values and attitudes shift. If your company hasn’t modernized yet, it’s crucial that you do so now. Adopting videos, webinars, and video chat in communications will allow you to keep connected and top of mind. Find unique ways to reach out with a personal touch like handwritten notes to top clients. Send big supporters a private message on social media and let them know you are there for them. Think about parts of your experience that you can share to relate to your consumers. Our social media feeds will continue to be saturated with stressful information. Sharing a bit of humor on your feed can stand out to your followers and reinforce a positive sentiment, loyalty, and conversions when the time is right. Creating engaging content like polls and asking consumers to share photos is a good example of ways to connect. 

6. Stay focused and update your goals accordingly. While operations are slow, you will naturally have more time for other things. It can be a golden opportunity to PLAN! Make sure you are still paying attention to how you’re spending your time, even with adjusting habits to accommodate work-from-home dynamics. Think critically about projections. The business landscape will shift dramatically, but that doesn’t mean opportunities don’t exist. As competitors cut back, there may be opportunities to take advantage of lower marketing costs to increase market share. 

Make sure your operations are ready to handle increased interactions digitally. Make sure your website is optimized to be found on google. Take advantage of organic social media tactics to grow and connect with your audience, and provide a high level of customer service. And when you see a good story, pass it along.

If you are looking for customized recommendations for your business, our MC360 team is here to help. Contact us to get started today, or click here to read more on our strategy consulting services. 

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Kate Donadio Kate Donadio March 28, 2020 0 Comments

2019 Social Media Trends

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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MC360 MC360 July 25, 2019 0 Comments