When Facebook opened to the general public in 2006, even Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t imagine how ubiquitous social media would become in all of our lives. What started as a social network for young people has morphed into a business marketing juggernaut. P.R. and marketing pros spend a fair amount of time keeping up with these ever-changing tools of our trade. As we enter a new decade, here’s a look at the top five social media trends we expect to see in 2020:
- No More “Likes” on Instagram
Yes, this one’s a surprise – but not totally unexpected if you follow the recent moves away from “vanity metrics” on social media. Instagram claims it is making the change because seeking validation through likes is detrimental to users’ mental health.
Most marketing experts believe there’s a much bigger reason at play: when brands hire social media influencers to tout their products and services, Instagram is left out of the financial equation. Influencers’ value is based primarily on a varying mix of number of followers, number of likes, comments and other engagement. Removing likes may prompt brands to buy more paid ads and stories directly from Instagram instead.
But there’s a flaw in this theory. While fake followers and likes do exist on Instagram, the successful, experienced social media influencers we work with say they aren’t worried at all about this new change – and in fact welcome it.
“If you’re a legit influencer who doesn’t purchase likes and your clients know that, this change shouldn’t be a negative,” says Arlington-based influencer and blogger Angelica Talan. “Those of us who have been working on a variety of platforms for years – such as blogging, speaking on panels and hosting events – have many ways to show our value to our clients.”
Even if likes disappear, influencers still have analytics they can screenshot and show, explains Talan, who started her influencer career attending events and publishing her Clarendon Moms blog nine years ago.
“We still have access to how many viewers see our stories, we still have the number of followers and comments, and we will still be able to see how many likes we get privately, which we can share with our clients – they simply won’t be shown publicly any more,” she adds.
Another result of less emphasis on likes may be more posts on Instagram feeds. As emphasis on the number of likes grew, people posted less on their feeds as a way to keep their numbers up. With likes no longer visible, Instagram hopes to see the number of posts on influencers’ feeds begin to rise again.
We at KB Concepts believe less is more: we’re all drowning in content and recommend posting just three times per week to effectively tell your story. Experts predict influencers will post just twice per week in 2020.
- Video Content is Still King
Video continues to dominate on social media, and will make up 82% of all internet traffic in 2020, according to Social Media Today. Viewers claim they retain 92% of what they view on video – and businesses are listening. Expect to see more and more resources devoted to incorporating video into marketing efforts across the board this year.
This includes the continued emphasis on video stories (such as Instagram Stories and TikTok short videos) which allow brands to tell their stories in the most engaging, fun and fast way that younger social media users clearly prefer. KB Concepts now incorporates video stories in all of our clients’ tool boxes – big or small, corporate or nonprofit – with great success. If you’re not including video stories in your content strategy, make it a priority for your clients this year.
- TikTok Explodes
This latest short video-driven platform – with more than 500 million users and growing – is the best example of the rising dominance of video in our lives. As an eye-opening example, my 12-year-old twin niece and nephew are required to have a TikTok account and communicate with their teacher and peers on the messaging part of the platform this year as part of their 6th grade curriculum. This of course means every student has to have access to reliable technology, and each is provided an iPad at their school.
Because technology and social networking play such a major role in all our lives, they are now incorporated into every aspect of educational curriculums as well – and students are also a major consumer block. More ad dollars will be spent on all social media platforms using video in 2020. Curious how you can use TikTok to promote your and your clients’ businesses? Check out these recent tips from Entrepreneur.
- Social Shopping Expands
Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have long been used by brands to sell their products, and that social media trend will only continue to expand in 2020 – with social commerce becoming a mainstream retail channel. With more shoppable posts and storefronts like Instagram’s Checkout, which allows you to purchase products without leaving the app, and Shopping for Creators, which allows influencers to add shopping tags to their posts, brands and their marketers will continue to incorporate more social commerce into their sales strategies.
- Influencer Marketing Is Here to Stay
Circling back to the top of this list of social media trends, regardless of whether users can see the number of likes someone gets, influencers will continue to be the best way for brands to reach their target audiences in an affordable, authentic and successful way.
Marketers are working not just with major influencers with tens of thousands of followers either. Micro-influencers – those with 2,500 followers are less – get high engagement with their hyper-local loyal followers at much lower cost, and are very attractive to brands (even large national brands) wanting to engage on this personal level. KB Concepts has had great success working with several micro-influencers on campaigns rather than one or two bigger online stars.
If you want to create a solid marketing strategy that maximizes your budget and stays on top of these social media trends in 2020, let KB Concepts help! Contact us for a complimentary 1-hour consultation to discuss how we can reduce the overwhelm and support your goals in the year ahead.