Social Media Changes To Watch In 2020

By: Sierra Unsworth | February 1, 2020

Social media — it’s a powerful force. It’s also a powerful tool for marketers.

Social media allows brands to establish a direct connection with their audience so they’re not only building trust through in-person interactions. Like most things in today’s digital world, social media is ever-changing, and when it comes to the internet, brands can either keep up with the changes or get left in the past.

Let’s take a look at the biggest changes coming to social media in 2020 and how you can use those changes to your advantage.

 

Changes Coming To Instagram

The Shift to Influencer Marketing

With over 4.2 billion post likes per day (and that was in mid-2018!), Instagram is one of the best channels for marketing and connecting with customers. Instagram was the fastest-growing social network in 2019 and many brands plan to allocate a large amount of their marketing budget to influencer marketing on Instagram in 2020.

Fabrizio Freda, CEO of Estee Lauder, reveals that 75% of the company’s marketing budget is spent on social media influencers — she believes it contributed to their 9% sales jump in the fourth quarter of 2019.

 

An influencer marketing partnership between Hannah Goodwin and Diff Eyewear, promoted on Instagram.

Using influencer marketing can be a strong tactic to spread awareness about your brand and products, as well as grow your audience. Instagram users follow influencers they trust, and are further enticed to buy the brands and products the influencers are recommending — nearly 50% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations to make their purchasing decisions. To make it even easier for brands to manage multiple influencer partnerships at one time, Facebook expanded their “Brand Collabs Manager” to include Instagram influencers.

The Authenticity Movement

A curveball was thrown into the Instagram Marketing mix when Instagram started testing the removal of a “like count” on users’ posts in April of 2019. Users affected by the like count removal testing saw a shocking 41% drop in engagement, making it clear how important powerful, engaging Instagram content is.

Tech Crunch shares the message sent to Instagram Users explaining the removal of like counts.

How can you avoid this major engagement drop? The answer is simple: user-generated content (UGC). UGC is exactly what it sounds like — reposting content your customers have made on their social channels featuring your service of product. A solid 92% of people say they trust UGC over traditional advertising — with 81% saying UGC influenced their buying decisions.

In order to encourage engagement, content needs to be authentic, in-the-moment, and give consumers a sense of trust and relatability. The Nielsen Total Consumer Report 2019 explains that consumer trust should be considered a currency, and it can be broken down much quicker than it can be rebuilt.

 

Trello shares an Instagram post that a user had recently shared on their Instagram.

The Evolution of Ephemeral Content

Have you ever gone to show a friend something you saw on social media, but suddenly it’s gone? This is what’s referred to as ephemeral content — content that disappears or expires after a certain amount of time, giving viewers a sense of urgency. With the rising popularity of Instagram Stories over the past few years, we expect 2020 will be no different.

Ephemeral content can benefit a brand in everything from increasing engagement to showing a more authentic side of the brand to actually boosting sales. By using Story features like “Ask me a question!”, consumers are empowered to use their voice and give feedback directly to brands — and brands benefit from the free, valuable insights from their audience.

The authenticity factor comes from posting real-time, less-filtered content — the behind-the-scenes moments or pictures that weren’t quite high-quality enough for your feed, but show the true product in an unfiltered way. Lastly, the “swipe up” feature allows brands to link directly to products! Users are more enticed to buy when they’re worried the post will expire and they may not be able to find it later.

TopShop directs consumers viewing their Instagram Stories to shop their selection of mules by utilizing a “See More” swipe-up link.

Struggling to beat the Instagram algorithm? Learn how it works and the ways you can share engaging content that attracts your ideal followers and converts them into loyal customers in our free guide. Click here to download it.

 

Facebook Changes To Watch

Video content will continue to dominate and marketers will have more insights

More than 85% of social media users in the U.S. watch video content monthly and 54% of users say they want to see more video content from brands they support. Our feeds are flooded with it every day — mostly in the form of hilarious dog videos if you’re like any of us here at Aimtal.

A Facebook Executive even stated that she expects in 5 years or less, Facebook “will definitely be mobile, and will probably be all video.” The times are certainly changing.

Brands will monetize more through Shop Pages and Messenger

Social media referral traffic to online stores has increased by over 100% in the past two years, and Buffer anticipates that the number of users shopping directly through Facebook and Instagram will skyrocket this year.

Facebook has already taken steps towards social commerce with Facebook Page Shops and chatbots in Messenger. Users no longer have to exit the app to shop a store — streamlining the shopping process during their regular social media browsing sessions.

 

Twitter Changes Coming in 2020

Users will have new levels of control and privacy

In November 2019, Twitter VP of Design & Research Dantley Davis announced a few things he’s excited to see on the platform in 2020:

Following up, in early January at the annual CES conference in Las Vegas, Twitter’s director of product management confirmed that new settings for “conversation participants” are in the works. The features are still in development, but will likely be released later this year.

 

Trends To Watch For LinkedIn

Groups could make a comeback

While Groups were a big interest for the platform back in 2017, they seemingly fell off the map as spam and self-promotions took over. LinkedIn recently announced new features coming to its Groups — including moderation controls for group admins, search options for group members, and more.

In a B2B sense, LinkedIn Groups could help companies directly communicate with their customers, upsell them on more up-to-date products and services, and even generate sales leads.

 

New & Niche Platforms

TikTok — Basically Vine 2.0

Originally launching in 2017, TikTok gained major popularity in 2019. The app offers a platform for users to post videos that are 3 to 15 seconds long — and nothing else. With an audience composed primarily of 16 to 24-year-olds, TikTok is disrupting the highly-curated nature of Instagram’s carefully planned filters and feeds.

Byte — LITERALLY Vine 2.0

One month into 2020 and we’ve already seen a new social media platform emerge. Byte is the latest rendition of Vine, stating:

“We’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and the community that loved them. You know the drill: Upload from your camera roll or use the byte camera to capture stuff. Stay under the time limit and get lost in the loop. Explore what’s loved by the community, handpicked by our human editors, or just served up at random. There are lots of ways to discover surprising new personalities, voices, and moments.”

Screenshots of the Byte user interface.

Twitter bought Vine in 2012 and then shut it down in 2016 due to declining usage, so it’ll be interesting to see if Byte takes off.

 

Aimtal Team Tips For Social Media Success

Here are a few tips from the Aimtal team to take your social media strategy to the next level (and amidst all these changes) this year:

  • Align your messaging with your social media posts with your brand values, mission, and culture. No matter what your industry, social media is the perfect place to show the human side of your brand and organization.
  • Create and stick to a realistic posting schedule. Your users will learn to expect and connect with your posts on their feed.
  • Avoid over-selling your brand or product through social media channels. Users are becoming more in tune with content that is simply a sales pitch. Instead, build trust among your audience by establishing your brand as a source of helpful information and inspiration.

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