With 2019 sliding into the rearview mirror, it’s time to take when we’ve learned and look ahead. Marketing never stops evolving, and in the world of social media, that change happens at lightning speed. We’ve seen some big changes over the past twelve months, including the rise of TikTok, the much-rumored decline of Facebook, and loads of privacy and regulatory legislation hitting firms in Europe, in India, and even in the US.
There are a few trends we’re watching as the calendar flips to 2020, and we think these five hotspots are where businesses can have the most success on social, no matter what their industry or budget. Chatbots? Influencers? See what’s next in the world of social media marketing.
Micro-Influencers Will Flourish. Nearly 60% of businesses say they’re planning to increase their budget for social media influencers in 2020. Wary of big ad spends, more and more brands are counting on the reputations and followers of specific individuals to represent them to prospective customers. People are sick of seeing ads; instead, influencers help show a product as a part of a story. We’re anticipating more localized influencers for brands in 2020, focusing on specific markets, higher quality content, and a more personal touch to these types of efforts.
Stories Will Become The Default Posting Style. When Facebook added the option to automatically post Stories to a brand’s Facebook and Instagram account, thousands of companies cheered. That decision immediately added value to the Story, a function that Zuckerberg stole from Snapchat and, to give him credit, improved in every single way. Expect to see more and more brands focus on Stories as fresh ways to put content and products in front of customers. Our guess is that both the Facebook Newsfeed and normal photo feed on Instagram will have a reduced focus over the next year or two. That leads us to our next bold prediction…
Likes Will Be Dead On Instagram. After months of talk and testing, publically visible ‘Like’ counts on Instagram are already being hidden. By the end of the year, don’t be surprised if this metric is completely erased from the platform. Why? For brands and advertisers, it already doesn’t matter; there’s a lot more value in tracking data points like Impressions and Site Clicks than ‘Likes’. Plus, many experts see the move away from visual counts as supporting better mental health in users. It’s a public relations win that might actually help improve the Instagram experience; the real question is why it has taken so long to make the move.
Voice Control Will Come To Social Platforms. Experts predict that as much as 50% of search engine queries come via voice control, whether it’s Siri on mobile or hollering across the room at Alexa in the form of your Amazon Echo Dot. That hands-free habit will spread to social in how we not only search but comment and interact. Watch for voice messaging, comments, even the ability to ‘Like’ and share.
Messaging Will Continue To Grow. Over 80% of smartphone owners have at least one messaging app installed. More and more businesses are going to where their customers are, and increasingly, that means offering or supporting customer service through messaging on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and more. It’s an incredibly effective way to make the online retail experience more personal and conversational, plus offers brands to upsell and offer more suggestions before checkout. Balancing chatbots and real, live humans (imagine that!) will begin to differentiate bigger brands and small businesses. Either way, it’s going to grow in leaps and bounds over the next year!
What do you see coming down the pipe? When spotting trends, the top two questions to ask are based on your experiences. What do you do with social media, and what how do you want these platforms to make your experience better? Give them enough time, and these companies will make it happen.