As 2019 draws to a close, many social media marketers, bloggers, and businesses are scanning articles and identifying trends for 2020.
Why do people do this?
Simple. Because the world of social media is always in flux. And, even after:
10+ years of experience in social media management
managing 100+ channels and 22,000+ social media posts sent in 2019 alone
speaking to crowds of thousands this year on social media management and personal branding
I still have much to learn.
It's why I am so hesitant to call myself or be branded as an expert. Technology enables us to not only do our jobs differently year over year, but it also allows for new opportunities almost every month.
New opportunities in the type, style, and formatting of various social media posts. New trends and ways to engage social media audiences. New doors are opening for us to make sense of this still relatively new form of business and personal communication.
TRENDS FOR 2020:
1. Employees' social media pages are more successful than company social media pages. The research backs me up on this one. As more and more brands try to get their marketing messages heard via traditional news feed posting, paid, and promotional content through social media, a star will emerge: the employee as a brand ambassador.
2. The rise of social media specialists. A few years ago, many people thought that the title of social media manager would go away, confident that other departments would naturally pick up social media as a skill and weave it into their everyday activity. While this has happened to an extent, the role of the social media manager is becoming more critical than ever as companies realize someone needs to be behind the wheel at all times.
I imagine that a new career path within social media will continue to forge itself as experienced social managers continue to gain valuable experience.
3. Entertainment and humor as a content focus. We're entering the age of anti-marketing in social media space. 2019 is heavy. Emotionally, many consumers are ready for a little more levity from their favorite brands.
Consider what many of the fast-food brands are already doing. Consider also that one of my favorite brands to follow on Twitter is Spark Notes. The reason I'm a fan is that the last thing they tell you to do is use Spark Notes for your next research paper. That's not what their audience (presumably high schoolers and college students) wants or needs from a brand. They know Spark Notes is there. But the entertaining, meme-like posts and humor is a constant reminder of the brand. It happens more naturally than a traditional marketing message would.
4. An increase in the use of Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for marketing purposes (at least, for a while). Groups are playing a significant role in social media marketing, and with good reason. It's a topic I've written about before.
It allows people to segment their social media activity and provides for a more personal connection between people who share similar interests. The opportunity is ripe for more companies and brands to take ownership of this space but do it in a way that directly benefits customers.
5. Not TikTok per se, but that type of content spilling over into other platforms. In my opinion, there's no need to embrace a presence on TikTok just yet. All the good content spills over into the channels we already use anyways. But the TikTok-style of social media content creation is going to continue to rise. It's low-fi. It's underproduced. It's entertaining (see #3 again).
Lil Nas X owes his entire career to this type of content, and, though you may be tired of the song, it's an incredible case study on the power of taking risks and trying new styles of content.
6. 1:1 social media communication from brands --> consumers. This activity is so difficult to scale, but the payout is enormous.
Imagine this: You have a question about a product, you tweet about it, and a brand or company responds very quickly to your question. But in a way that's conversational, non-canned, and human.
The power and potential of this type of social media communication are evident. And, even though social media as a customer service function has been around for a while, there are a few organizations that are making this a priority in 2020 and beyond.
The thing with social media trends:
As with everything in social media, these trends, while presenting themselves now, could be obsolete or evolved six months from now.
With social media, it's essential to continue to educate yourself on its power, potential, the responsible use thereof, and its effectiveness.
How do you plan to implement these trends in 2020?
What are some other trends you've seen or plan to embrace?