Social media is now an integral component in digital marketing and a core part of any advertising strategy. However, with so many platforms to keep up with, it can be challenging to discern what to focus on or which technologies will be most useful for your brand. Fortunately, we’ve rounded up some top trends that are worth your time.
In this article, we’ll briefly discuss the history of social media marketing. Then, we’ll take a look at current trends in this niche and how you can incorporate them into your own strategy. Let’s get to it!
A Brief History of Social Media Marketing
Social media has been evolving for much longer than you might realize. Six Degrees, launched in 1997, is generally considered the first social network. It grew to around 3.5 million registered users and was eventually sold to YouthStream Media Networks in 1999 for $125 million.
Six Degrees was followed by platforms such as Friendster, which closed its doors in 2015, and Myspace, which was the largest social networking site in the world from 2005 to 2008. In June 2006, it even surpassed Google as the most visited website in the US.
Facebook was the next social media giant and has since been followed by many different platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and more. These sites enable people to create original content and connect with others across the world, which has made them attractive tools for marketing.
Nowadays, there are about 3.5 billion social media users, nearly 45% of the global population. From Facebook Pages to Instagram shoppable posts, TikTok hashtag campaigns, and beyond, social media has become one of the most effective marketing tools a business can have.
5 Social Media Marketing Trends In 2020
It is increasingly necessary to stay in touch with current trends to avoid falling behind. We’ve put together a list of five social media marketing developments that can help you increase your reach, by way of engaging your audiences using the same technologies and platforms they’re familiar with.
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a popular trend based on word-of-mouth promotion. Brands can pay online personalities to advertise products or services to their followers. Partnerships with micro-influencers can be particularly valuable for executing targeted campaigns with tailored messaging:
To get started, you can use keyword and hashtag searches to find personalities who publish content related to your niche. You might also consider implementing personalized discount codes, which can incentivize consumers to visit your site as well as enable you to track the effectiveness of your affiliates.
2. Social Media for Customer Service
Customer service is a crucial part of providing an excellent User Experience (UX). Social media has made this aspect of business highly visible online, as customer reviews and complaints are easy to find. According to statistics, about 28% of customers used social media to reach out to a company for help in 2019.
An example of this trend in action is Amazon’s customer service Twitter account:
Although email and phone remain the top communication methods, social media is considered convenient, and it is expected that more brands will add it to their list of contact channels. You’ll also want to note that the expectation for quality customer service is high, with about 37% wanting a response to their question or complaint in under 30 minutes.
Some tips for using social media for customer service include employing social listening to monitor tags and conversations centered around your brand on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. This can enable you to build relationships with your customers and resolve issues quickly.
3. The Use of Stories
Snapchat and other platforms such as Instagram have made ‘stories’ a core part of their UX. Stories are ephemeral content and differ from feed-based posts and updates because they’re temporary by nature:
As of January 2019, there were about 500 million daily active story users on Instagram alone. About 60% of marketers have either integrated this type of content into their social media marketing strategies or plan to do so. Additionally, 45% of all ad spend on Instagram is on stories.
Although stories won’t be suitable for every brand, you might want to consider assessing how much they can do for you. For example, brands can post company news and other updates. This type of content also provides an opportunity to share special offers, perhaps using cheeky Calls to Action (CTAs).
4. The Rise of Alternative Platforms
Most Business to Consumer (B2C) companies focus on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, younger shoppers tend to favor other channels designed to be fun and engaging.
One example is TikTok, which launched in 2016. It now has more than 500 million active users. Note that this platform has been under scrutiny recently for its security practices, and you’ll want to keep this mind when deciding whether or not to use it yourself.
Another example is Pinterest. While not new, it has experienced a recent resurgence. In fact, 75% of Pinterest users say they’re interested in new products, compared with 55% of people on other networks. Brands also report having higher returns on ad spend on this platform than on other social media channels.
To determine which alternative platform could be suitable for your brand, you might want to consider factors such as demographics. For example, TikTok is popular with Gen Z users, whereas Pinterest is female-dominated. You’ll also want to research which content formats, styles and tones appeal most to your target audience.
5. Augmented Reality (AR)
The final item on our list is AR, a technology that blends digital and physical elements and provides brands with a way to create immersive customer experiences. Some popular examples include the Pokemon Go mobile game and Snapchat filters and lenses.
Another example is the mobile app Arloopa, which enables you to place and preview items such as furniture, art, or cars in your home. You can also create virtual scenes using AR models:
The market for AR and Virtual Reality (VR) is expected to hit $209.2 billion by 2022. Although adoption of these technologies has been slow, more tools and applications are being created to take advantage of them. Some examples include Facebook AR Studio, the Sephora Virtual Artist app, and more.
To integrate AR into your business, you might consider running virtual stores on social media, creating interactive videos, or even getting your customers to craft custom scenes using your products. This can help you drive engagement and increase visibility for your brand.
There are many technologies and trends to stay on top of in order to provide the best experience for your customers and stay in touch with them. However, it can be challenging to decide which techniques will be most relevant for your brand. Examples such as AR, influencer marketing, and stories are worth considering for integration into your social media marketing efforts.
What trends do you consider the most impactful for engaging your customers? Share them with us in the comments section below!