20 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020

2020 is going to be an interesting year for social media marketing. With emerging platforms, political campaigning, an increase in “user-friendliness” for the tech stuff, and Facebook pretending to care about humans, we can expect a lot of different wins surrounded by major disappointments.

Here, I’ve done my best to limit personal opinions and stick with the core list. (If you do want my personal opinion or “expertise” on any of the subjects, you can contact me on Instagram or at the bottom of this page.)

The 20 listed were (lazily) done in some subconscious order, but it’s definitely not a ranking system.

So let’s get right to it.

1. TikTok

It’s the next thing.

TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform in the world and (currently) over 500 million users. 41% of those are between the ages of 16-25.

For brands looking to harness the buying power of Generation Z, look here.

For brands that don’t know what to do yet…secure your brand handle and pay some teenager to post for you (within your guidelines, of course).

2. Removal of Likes on Instagram

Fun fact: 50% of influencers who have experienced the removal of likes from their Instagram posts have seen a significant decline in social growth.

Instagram may justify their removal of likes to some humane cause for the sake of looking like they care for our psychological well being, but the fact is, Instagram wants more of your money.

And when you pay to boost your content, it adds up.

The removal of likes will be a double-edged sword.

On one hand, there will be more opportunities for freedom and flexibility in creating content without the social accountability of likes.

On the other hand, brands will have little engagement accountability when producing content, and as a result may promote content that’s boring and off-putting on social media, further declining their reach and engagement.

3. Realistic Goal Setting

The romance of social media is wearing off. The honeymoon is over.

This doesn’t mean social media is going away. It just means that businesses are more aware that they aren’t going to “go viral” when they post on their channels.

Which gives rise to new and smarter opportunities.

Brands should be looking at social media as a channel for storytelling and direct communication along the buyer’s journey, and hopefully turning customers into repeat buyers and raving fans at the end.

Instead of focusing on likes, it’s time to focus on more authentic engagements (saves, shares, comments with thought, story views, link clicks…)

4. User-Generated Content

Brands are getting savvier in leveraging UGC (user-generated-content). 

With the ongoing rise of influencer and micro-influencer marketing, brands are starting to take notice that reposting the content from influencers and leveraging that content for their ads comes with a significant increase in engagement and conversions.

There are many options to access UGC without paying for influencers. Restaurants and local businesses can simply look at the photos that tag their locations.

5. Videos

Shorter, Longer, Ephemeral, Vertical…

More Videos.

Video consumption on mobile devices rise by 100% every year. (Source

Video isn’t going away. It’s the easiest and most passive way for people to consume content.

Ads are seeing great results with an initial 6 second video, while Instagram is pushing their IGTV with longer-form videos.

It’s a good idea to develop content strategies for all forms, from YouTube to IGTV, to Instagram Stories and paid media content.

6. “Easy Access” Ad Campaigns

In 2019, Facebook and Google both revamped the interface for their ads platforms with the intent of streamlining processes while making things more “user-friendly” for newbie advertisers.

They both offer walk-thru and guided processes for entry-level advertisers. 

This is geared for small-business owners who often have to handle their marketing and don’t have the resources or budget to hire outside help.

Seeing that small businesses make up 99.9% of all businesses in the US, there is a lot of money on the table for Google and Facebook to scoop up.  

We should see more “user-friendly and guided” advertising options continue in 2020.

And more small businesses using these options. 

7. Increase in Cost-Per-Click / CPM 

Facebook ads, in particular, are still hugely undervalued. And it’s the best place to target new audiences, outside of word-of-mouth.

With more businesses entering the digital advertising frontier, we can expect to see an increase in demand. Which in turn, increases the cost per click.

8. Google My Business

In 2019, Google+ was laid to rest and nobody really noticed. And in turn, Google My Business has taken its foothold, especially with smaller businesses.

Google reviews are more reliable than Yelp reviews and they’re critical for a solid local SEO.

Having a strong local listing will also drive clicks, calls, leads, and sales for local businesses.

When Googling anything “near me” (i.e. dentist, food, mechanic, CPA, chiropractor…), the top listings have strong Google My Business accounts.

9. Creator Studio (and more “In Platform” Applications)

Facebook’s Creator Studio is a great place where you can schedule content for multiple brands for both Facebook and Instagram. And they’ve been pushing it pretty hard.

Another new release is their Brand Collabs Manager option where you can essentially shop for influencers directly through the platform.

(Personally) I’d like to see other platforms copy Facebook with this concept. (*hint hint* LinkedIn)

10. Brands Standing (or kneeling) for Something

We are officially in the Woke Era – especially in the United States where America has transitioned to a phase of social consciousness.

It would be wise for most brands to stay away from racial or political topics, but there are some “safer” territories that most people can agree on. This would include planting trees (fighting climate change without saying “climate change”, clean water, education in 3rd world countries, etc.)

Of course, some brands should get directly involved with aligning their values (or their target demographic’s values). Nike with Colin Kaepernick is a prime example.

On the other hand, if it’s not seen as authentic, it could have a terrible backlash (i.e. Pepsi and Kylie Jenner’s epic fail in the heat of #BlackLivesMatter ((that’s also an example of “tunnel” vision and why large brands should not run their marketing and advertising in-house))). Ok, I digress…

11. More LinkedIn – Especially Personal brands

TikTok and LinkedIn are the easiest places to go viral on social media. 

And though LinkedIn is known to be exclusively B2B, it’s also a great place for people to build their personal brand. 

LinkedIn has over 300 Million Monthly Active Users and that will continue to grow.

We should see an increase of thought leaders harnessing the power of LinkedIn while business owners and executives (should) leverage their followings to build their personal brand while promoting their business’ benefits, features and values. 

12. Diversified Content & Distribution

Long gone are the days of posting links on Twitter and Facebook and expecting a flood of site traffic.

People now behave differently, and they consume content differently.

Fortunately, a single piece of content (video) can be (and should be) repurposed to multiple forms of content and distributed beyond basic social channels.

Gary Vaynerchuk articulates it better than anyone else in his Content Model.

https://www.slideshare.net/vaynerchuk/the-garyvee-content-model-107343659

13. Better Email Marketing

Email marketing is still VERY relevant. Some brands don’t realize this – because they’ve been doing it wrong.

Like Facebook and Google, emailing platforms are constantly striving to make things more user-friendly. 

And with the continued advancement of AI, sometimes it just takes a click of a button to do what would otherwise be seemingly impossible.

Some things to add to your repertoire for email marketing is to focus on personalization, segmenting your audiences, testing catchy subject lines, mobile-friendly, and clear call-to-actions.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwVI3HepNOw/

14. Chat Bots

They’ve been around for a while but haven’t been utilized the way they should be.

Most inbound messages are questions. Frequently asked questions.

You could pay someone daily to answer all these questions…or you could pay someone once to create a bot to answer these common questions while vetting out the more serious inquiries for a personal touch.

And the crazy thing is that people don’t mind talking to a bot – as long as they know it’s a chatbot. 

Chatbots have shown to help increase ROI by up to 400%

Consumers just want a real-time answer, and a chatbot can easily answer 99% of these common questions.

Chatbots can also be added to your website, to your Facebook and, hopefully soon, to Instagram.

Facebook also owns WhatsApp and Instagram. And the messaging within these platforms is one of the most powerful features for converting clicks to dollars.

I’m going to guess (fingers crossed) that Facebook will allow Instagram’s API for chatbots in 2020.

If that happens, it’s a game-changer.

In fact, if that happens, contact me. And we’ll get rich together.

15. SMS Marketing

You may have been seeing celebrities and thought leaders say “Text me” in some of their social media posts. What they’re doing is brilliant.

They’re building an audience that’ll have 90% open rate and up to 45% conversion rate.

Those numbers are insane. (And I’d take the “45% conversion” with a grain of salt).

But still, with an open rate of 90% in text message marketing, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that your contacts will see your message.

Brands partnering with celebrities and influencers can easily build their own list with this strategy. And they should.

16. Custom Filters & Gifs

As brands continue to fight for the top of the mind awareness, they will be looking to come up with more clever and creative ways to maintain relevance in social media.

Creating graphics, stickers, and filters is a great way to maintain that relevance in an interesting way.

Instagram has allowed individuals and brands to submit their own face filters via their Spark AR platform.

Fun Fact: if you add a custom face filter on Instagram and it gets popular, you can experience viral growth.

17. Micro-Influencers & Nano Influencers

Brands are starting to realize that they don’t need to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars on a celebrity to break into influencer marketing.

In fact, the way influencer marketing worked in 2016 is very different than it worked in 2019 and how it’ll work in 2020.

A single post doesn’t just sell everything off the shelves anymore (except on rare occasions).

Micro-influencers tend to be more directly engaged with their audiences and as a result convert better when it comes time to promote something.

This is essentially amplified word-of-mouth.

And for nano-influencers, (smaller following but high engagement), you can often simply trade your product in exchange for a shout out.

The micro-influencer strategy allows brands to spend less money while sometimes getting better results than a standard influencer shout out, including user-generated content and multi-niche traffic.

18. Giveaways

Giveaways and sweepstakes aren’t anything new, but lately, it’s been a great way to increase your following and engagement, often overnight.

Sometimes the best way to get people to do something is to incentivize them. I’ve personally seen the giveaway trend explode in the last quarter of 2019.

Giveaway Loops: Where a celebrity or influencer gives a handful of prizes, and in order to enter the giveaway, participants normally need to follow select accounts. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6n2e7vp1Fi/

I would expect to see this market get saturated rather quickly and with Instagram starting to punish those running the giveaway or by removing new followers.

19. Funnels

The purpose of social media marketing shouldn’t be to get people to like your stuff. It should be for people to BUY your stuff.

With brands finally coming to terms with the fact that social media just doesn’t convert like it used to, people are getting more strategic in their approach.

This is a good thing.

The term “marketing funnel” has been around for a while, and with Russell Brunson’s Clickfunnels, the term has been slowly creeping into more “mainstream” business conversations.

These “funnels” fall under Direct Marketing, and they come with measurable results as compared to just getting brand awareness and keeping your fingers crossed.

20. More Government Intervention

Legislation is looking to limit how companies track and manage user data. Right now, companies like Facebook and Google are able to share data with other companies and advertisers while capitalizing off this data with virtually no restriction or accountability.

These new laws will be designed for consumers to take back their privacy and give more access to their data.

What will this actually do for consumers? Not much. Because we give our info away freely and that’s not going to change.

But expect to see this topic more in the news, especially with the upcoming elections.

As far as influencer marketing, we could expect the FTC to crack down and make an example of a few influencers who avoid properly disclosing promotional content.

Conclusion

Will 2020 be any different than 2019? Yes and no.

We can expect to see more content. More video and mobile consumption. Consumers shopping more via mobile. And more competition.

There’s going to be more.

And as a result, algorithms will break our hearts and we’ll need to boost more posts with paid media.

And that’s ok, as long as there’s a solid strategy on how to convert those engagements into sales.

If you need a strategy for that, feel free to click the button below.