If you want to succeed on social media in 2020, you should follow the latest real-world data and top 5 social media trends to create your own strategy.
That’s why we made a series of interviews with more than 3,000 marketers toward the end of 2019. We also discussed with dozens of industry specialists. This gave us multiple points of view on the trends that most affect social media in the year ahead.
Finally, we pored via the most recent data from respected research organizations, like:
- The CMO Survey
As we carefully selected through this huge mountain of information, five key tendencies emerged that we predict will form the social media space in 2020 and beyond.
Here’s our insider look at what is essential to know for the year ahead.
Top 5 social media trends for 2020
1. Brands strike a balance between public and private engagement
2019 was a big year for messaging.
Instagram launched Threads, a camera-first messaging app used to connect with close friends. LinkedIn started rolling out Teammates. It’s a brand new function that helps customers better join with people they work with in real life. Mark Zuckerberg also announced plans to unify Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Almost two-thirds of people say messaging apps are where they feel most comfortable to share. And half of the senior marketers we polled say they’re rethinking their content strategy to take advantage of private channels.
But we all understand that the future of social media is not going to be completely private. Why?
Individuals use social to entertain themselves. They tend to find interesting posts, read news and research products, all in public channels. More than half of brand discovery online occurs in public social feeds.
This is a great opportunity for marketers who know how to strike the right balance between public and private:
- Public feeds are the place to drive awareness.
- Private channels are the place to drive significant one-to-one engagement.
For instance, take a look at the Data Open tournament, a game-based social recruiting program from the hedge fund Citadel. To promote the tournament and create excitement, Citadel used traditional public social feeds.
However, they used private channels to give the same sticking power. Students who use the Citadel website could connect via an invite-only Facebook Group. They also used a Facebook chatbot to test students with complex math problems. Students who tackled the problems successfully had their resumes sent to the top of the pile.
As a result, students who are interested in the Data Open spent 149% more time on the Citadel website than other visitors. More than 5,500 conversations are driven by Facebook chatbot. This made the number of applications for entry-level positions went up by 74%.
Another example is the meditation app Headspace. Public social channels are used to raise awareness of their brand.
However, this brand also creates a Facebook group for more than 17,000 members. In this private space, their users can discuss meditation practices, ask questions and lend support to others.
There isn’t any product placement posts or advertising on the Facebook Group. This is used for the only one purpose which is developing a relationship between the brand and its customers. Therefore, it creates a kind of community.
What you need to do in 2020
- Create a pathway from the public to the private. Guide customers to your private channels by using public feeds. You should use a Facebook or Instagram ad to send users into a private conversation with your business.
- Automate the easy stuff. Use both automation and human connection to build relationships with your customers. Bots can answer common customer queries. However, there is a fact that more than half of customers feel disappointed when brands don’t offer any human interaction. So, real people still need to handle more nuanced customer requests.
- Respect the intimacy of private channels. Don’t let impersonal brand content invade private channels. You should provide real value which builds brand loyalty over time, rather than trying to make a quick sale.
2. Employers play a key role in a divided world
Only one in five people believe that economic and social systems are working for them. The majority of the population doesn’t believe that they will be better off in five years.
Millennials are feeling significantly bleak. Less than a quarter of them expect their country to have an improvement in the next year.
Trust becomes more and more important than ever in this divided world. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 75% of individuals believe that what their employers do is right. That’s more than they believe in government, media, or business in general.
It means the thing that employees expect the companies they work for to do is to make things better, not just make better things. Millennials particularly identified several areas they want their companies to deliver on. These are community impact, diversity and inclusion, and talent development.
For instance, Citi had a look at the wage gap among its employees. They realized that female employees earned 29% less than their male counterparts. So, they made a video in which daughters of Citi employees talk about their confusion and frustration about the issue.
Citi created the hashtag #itsabouttime. It’s used as a message to highlight their commitment to discuss the gender gap and work towards solving it within their organization.
In 2020, brands that win their employees’ trust will get a significant advantage. purpose-driven companies grow three times faster on average than their competitors. They also have a higher workforce and customer satisfaction.
It’s not surprising that nearly 200 top CEOs recently announced a commitment to focus on more than just shareholders. Modeling one of this year’s most important social trends, they know that they have to consider customers, employees, the communities they operate in and society as a whole.
In 2020, there is a trend that employee advocates will use social media to highlight the good work their companies are doing.
For instance, one Patagonia employee posted her gratitude for the company’s on-site childcare. She said that Patagonia has a 100% retention rate for employees who return from maternity leave. Her post got over 87,000 reactions on LinkedIn.
What you should do in 2020
- Do it before you talk about it. People don’t like it when brands use societal issues as a marketing ploys, a.k.a. “woke washing”. You should create a long-term belief at the core of the company, not just a marketing campaign based on the new social media trends.
- Lead from the top. Employees expect their CEOs to speak up on industry issues, political events, national crises, and employee-driven issues. According to a research, 71% of employees believe it’s critically important for their CEO to respond to challenging times.
- Have a strong brand protection plan in place. Taking a stance on social media make some customers angry as much as it drives loyalty and praise from others.
- Make employee advocacy a business priority. When forming their opinion of a company, people tend to believe in a company technical expert more than a CEoO, a journalist, or even one of their peers. Even though the benefits of employee advocacy programs are obvious, half of the respondents in our 2020 Social Media Trends research say that they feel struggle with finding the time to source content and run the program. To live up to its potential, employee advocacy needs to be prioritised as a corporate strategy.