Social Media Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Saying that most people spend a good part of their days on social media would not be an exaggeration. Not in today’s world.

Social media has become an integral part of people’s lives and daily routines. Some are addicted to it so much that the first thing they do after waking up is to check their social media feeds.

Given the importance of social media in consumers’ lives, marketers and businesses flock to social platforms in the hope of connecting with their target customers. However, there is a content overload on social media and the competition is very high. It can be extremely difficult for you to stand out unless you have a clear social media marketing strategy.

Staying updated on the latest social media trends can help fuel your strategy and make you stand out in the crowd. Here are eight social media trends that you need to be aware of for 2020 and beyond.

Social Media Trends for 2020 and Beyond:


Ephemeral Content Will Keep Gaining Popularity

Ephemeral content is something that is available only for a short duration and disappears afterwards. Instagram and Snapchat Stories are perfect examples of this type of content.

Today, people’s attention spans are short and the way they like to consume content has also changed. This is why content formats like Stories have become popular. They are short, engaging, and addictive in a way that people can spend hours scrolling through one Story after another.

This is evident by the substantial rise in Instagram Stories’ daily active users, as shown below.

Image Source: Statista

Marketers have taken notice of this trend and will continue to leverage it to their advantage. According to this recent report by Hootsuite, 64% of marketers either already have incorporated Instagram Stories into their strategies or plan to. 

Another study suggests that brands post a Story once in four days, again, proving the point that these are getting more and more popular.

Image Source: Socialinsider


Niche Social Platforms Will Perform Well

Facebook and Instagram have long dominated social media as the largest and most popular platforms. However, in recent years, several other niche social media platforms have not only emerged but have significantly risen to fame. 

TikTok, for example, is one such platform that started in 2016 and immediately gained popularity among youth. B2B companies prefer LinkedIn for their social media initiatives, while the gaming community flocks to Twitch. There are several such alternative social media platforms that are gaining popularity and will continue doing so in 2020 and beyond.

Here are some of the most popular social media platforms by the number of users or registered accounts.

Image Source: Statista


Instagram May Remove Likes

Instagram is one of the largest social networks and any major changes implemented here can shape the social media landscape. One such major change is the possibility of Instagram removing the likes feature for posts.

Instagram has recently tested this proposal in a beta test and may soon apply this change globally. The logic that it has given is that likes determine a person’s social value and waiting for such validation is detrimental to people’s mental health. 

However, there are a lot of people who outright reject the reason and think that Instagram wants to implement this change to earn more. Brands pay enormous sums of money to influencers to promote their products. None of this money goes to Instagram. In fact, influencer marketing has become so popular that brands are moving away from traditional marketing methods like advertising.

If Instagram removes likes then brands won’t be able to measure the direct impact of their campaigns as easily as they do now. This might encourage some brands to invest in Instagram Ads as they can easily track the ROI for those.

A scenario where Instagram successfully removes likes and gets more marketers to move to their ads feature could be transformative for social media marketing. This will not only affect influencers but may also encourage other social networks to make such moves.


Social Commerce Will Expand

Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have long been used by brands to sell their products. Social commerce has become a new retail avenue for brands and this trend is only going to get stronger.

Social commerce is well on its way to becoming a mainstream retail channel on par with other mediums like websites and offline stores. This trend will strengthen further with more and more social networks introducing pro-selling features.

From shoppable posts to Instagram Storefronts, social networks are continuously evolving to become retail platforms. Brands and marketers will leverage these and incorporate social commerce in their sales strategies.


Video Content Will Dominate

Video content is one of the most engaging forms of content and will soon dominate the social media a clear winner over all other types of content. Whether it is short-form videos like those popular on TikTok or Stories or long-form content on YouTube, videos are the future of social media content.

According to a Cisco study, by 2022, 82% of all online content will be video content. This clearly shows how important it is to start utilising video content to stay relevant in the social media domain.

If you’re not currently creating videos, it is time that you include it in your content strategy. In the near future, videos will dominate social media and anyone who doesn’t realise that will have a tough time.

You can start by using features like Stories both for your social media content and for advertisements. You can also add videos to your social media posts, even on platforms that were traditionally dominated by image or text content.


Technology Adoption Will Be at an All-Time High

Social media will see a rise in the adoption of technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). As these platforms grow, users will demand better and more engaging experiences and these technologies can make that happen.

Facebook is already taking huge steps in this direction with the introduction of Horizon, their social virtual reality world. This is a kind of virtual world where people can connect, play games, and explore. This is the next level of social connection and could very well be the future of social media.

While the adoption of VR in social media might still be at an extremely nascent stage, the same can’t be said for AR. Augmented reality filters are now being used on several major platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. These were introduced as a means to enhance the visual content shared on social media and are widely popular.


Influencer Marketing Will Continue to Soar

Influencer marketing is not a new trend, but it is one that is going to stay for a while. Social media today is dominated by influencers who are getting paid exorbitant amounts to promote brands. 

The adoption of this trend can be seen from both perspectives. One can be seen by the sheer rise in the number of influencers on social media. Second can be seen by the increase in marketing spend on influencer marketing by businesses.

Investing in influencers is much cheaper than running paid ad campaigns and yet it delivers good results. Moreover, influencers can help marketers achieve a variety of marketing goals and not just generate leads. These are the two main reasons why it has become so popular and is continuously getting stronger and bolder.


Marketers are not just collaborating with 1-2 influencers now, but are working with a whole network of small, relevant, niche influencers. This kind of influencers get much higher engagement and cost much less. Going forward, more and more marketers will use this strategy and work with multiple smaller influencers instead of one celebrity.


More Regulatory Control and Legal Scrutiny

While there are numerous benefits of social media, there are certain negatives that have come to light in recent years. Data privacy and security are two such issues that have made the headlines for social networks like Facebook.

Social media can be very easily used to gather information about anyone and misuse it. There are allegations that certain social networks even sell their user data to other companies.

In light of this, social networks and regulatory bodies will tighten their norms and put more policies in place. Social media is considered unsafe by many people and it would be in everyone’s best interest to change that. So, be ready for more regulations and restrictions on all platforms.


Conclusion

These are some of the trends that will dominate the social media landscape in 2020 and beyond. Leverage these trends to your advantage and stay ahead of your competitors.

Social media is a dynamic and competitive space and these trends can help you ace your social media game. So, keep abreast of the latest developments around these themes and use these for your social media initiatives.

 

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