Social media trends are increasing in both speed and frequency, sending shockwaves through the digital marketing industry as brands are forced to quickly adapt—or be left in the wake of those who can. Today, over 90 percent of millennials regularly engage in social media, and 85 percent of Gen Zers report relying on social media to learn about new products. These numbers prove that social media is only becoming more useful for marketers, in addition to solidifying its place as an integral tool in connecting with the mind—and wallets—of upcoming generations.
Gone are the days of catalogs, radio ads, and (some argue) channel-based marketing. Their replacements include evolving digital strategies like paid media, persona-based marketing, and the introduction of apps. Merely being aware of current and rising social media trends is no longer enough to capture consumers’ attention. Instead, owning the social media landscape in 2020 requires both the forethought to anticipate coming trends and the ability to capitalize on them before—and better than—your competition.
A Snapshot of Social Media
The first recognizable social media platform, Six Degrees, emerged in the late 1990s and enabled users to create profiles and “make friends” with other profile holders. Blogging popped up around the same time and was quickly followed by sites like MySpace and LinkedIn in the early 2000s. YouTube was created in 2005, with Facebook and Twitter entering the digital social space the next year. Today, countless social networking sites connect up to an estimated 45 percent of the global population.
4 Major Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020
The inclusive environment offered by social media fosters a feeling of wide-spread connectivity while maintaining the feeling of person-to-person intimacy. Although the definitive future of social media is tough to predict, it is possible to anticipate which social media advancements will have the most significant impact on digital marketing efforts in the near future.
Research shows that 85 percent of consumers find user-generated content (UGC) to be more valuable—and trustworthy—than branded content. Not only does UGC foster immediate consumer engagement, since it is created directly by consumers, but it requires less of your team’s time and resources. Inspire your customers to provide UGC in 2020 in the form of guest posts, reviews, and testimonials by using strong CTAs, partnering with the right influencers, and creating a robust digital presence.
Although Facebook and Instagram have long dominated the world of social platforms, several smaller, niche social platforms are becoming increasingly popular. Tiktok, Twitch, and Houzz are apps and platforms all catering to a specific type of content. TikTok, for example, is dedicated solely to short clips of trending, mobile video content. Tapping into these types of social platforms can be incredibly beneficial to reaching your target audience. For example, if your target audience is Gen Z, investing time and resources into building a TikTok profile can show you the type of content your viewers value and provide opportunities to engage with them.
AR and AI
New advances in augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) have had a substantial effect on social media. While neither of these concepts is brand new, other technological advancements are quickly expanding their social media applications. Fascinating photo filters, virtual try-ons, and even games provide brands with opportunities to create relevant, fun, and useful content. If your B2C brand is heavily involved in social media and does not currently utilize AR and AI, finding ways to integrate these tools into your content is a great way to help your brand stand out.
Social Media for Customer Service
Social media is no longer used solely to connect with loved ones and share cute photos. Nearly every channel has evolved into a successful platform for product discovery, retail, and customer service. Since social media is so accessible, consumers use it to their advantage, sending direct messages, submitting questions or concerns, and leaving reviews. Completing these interactions lets consumers know you value their time, and that they can trust you to hear—and respond to—their queries.
Make the New Social Media Landscape Work For You
You could guess which social platform will be 2020’s “next big thing.” You might get lucky and enjoy some increased ROI for a time. However, using social media trends and changes to your long-term advantage requires time, dedication, and fundamental knowledge of evolving consumer preferences. Personalization and real-time engagement mean more than ever, so having a committed team actively engaging with your consumer base can make a world of difference.
Don’t Just Jump on the Trends—Set Them
We already mentioned that rocking the social media landscape in the coming decade will require both the ability to anticipate social trends and the digital savviness to make use of them sooner and more smartly than the guys down the road. If you’re seeking an experienced digital partner to help your brand conquer 2020 and beyond, contact Snap. Our talented social media strategists will make sure you’re equipped to own every trend.