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5 Social Media Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore

 In Social Media, Social Media Optimizaiton

A new decade promises an array of exciting innovations in social media, and brands big and small can look forward to a smorgasbord of new features. The key is knowing where to focus and how to leverage for measurable and meaningful business results.

Here are 5 social media trends you can’t afford to ignore in 2020:

1) Social ROI Takes A Front Seat

Demonstrating ROI is often cited as the most challenging part of social media marketing. The problem is there’s no common denominator for determining ROI and no shortage of data for measuring success. Some marketers measure in followers, subscribers, likes, and shares, while others measure in reach, clicks, traffic and conversions. The truth is, some of these metrics are just not as important as they seem.

Long called a “vanity metric”, the post LIKE is the lowest hanging fruit of social media metrics. While it is the easiest to measure and most bragged about at parties (thus the vanity metric tag), the post LIKE rarely moves the needle towards business goals.

With transparency and social value now at center stage, platform giants like Instagram and Facebook are trialing the removal of post LIKES from the metric mix. According to Instagram, this change is meant “to downplay the importance users place in receiving validation on their content and shift focus to the content they create”.

To keep pace, brands will need to dive deeper into the advanced analytics of social media to show campaign performance and ROI. And you can expect more and more platforms to offer an ever-wider array of metrics in 2020, providing more answers—and provoking more questions and analysis—than ever before.

2) The Square Deal on Video Content

Video continues its domination of social when it comes to views, virality, and thumb-stopping engagement. The proliferation of smart-phones in our lives and daily routines has exponentially raised the bar on social content. To remain competitive, marketers need to do the same!

video size comparison shown on mobile phone

Gone are days of horizontal-only video (16:9), to endear your brand and keep consumers from quickly swiping past your posts, square (1:1) and vertical (4:5) are the way to go on social. Simply stated, square and vertical video take up more room in mobile social feeds, making them more engaging and easier for users to watch.

According to Buffer(1):

  • Video posts receive at least 59% more engagement
  • Square video (1:1) receives 30-35% more views than horizontal (16:9)
  • Square video (1:1) garners 80-100% more engagement than horizontal (16:9)

But not to worry, landscape (aka horizontal) video is still the go-to format for websites, blogs, landing pages, and YouTube. Though YouTube’s mobile app supports square and vertical video, the primary YouTube player is still landscape.

3) Social Customer Service Turns Profits

Social is where people go to connect, share, and get answers. Now more than ever, the stakes are high when it comes to social customer service.

  • 1 in 3 users prefer social customer care to telephone or email(2)
  • 60% of customers on social expect a response within 1 hour(3)

Happy clients drive sales. What makes clients happy on social? Being heard and being answered. Studies show that brands engaging social customer service provide a better buying journey and clinch more sales, bringing in as much as 20-40% more revenue per customer. In fact, improving customer experiences on social is correlated with a 30-50% rise in metrics like repeat purchases and recommendations.

It is projected that in 2 years, 90% of businesses will be using some form of social media for customer service. So to snag those boosted numbers, social savvy brands will expand their strategy to include a robust social media customer service program.

4) All Hail Social eCommerce

Gurhan Instagram shopping postPreviously channeled through centralized sites, like Amazon or Wayfair, online purchasing exploded in 2018 and 2019, and only shows signs of increasing staying power…or does it?

Enter Instagram! Instagram’s game-changing integration of direct, on-platform selling has broken barriers between eCommerce and social media – giving birth to the next major shift for retail, Social eCommerce. And brands with products to sell CAN NOT afford to miss this ship.

While shopping on Instagram has been around since 2016, features like shoppable posts (in-app buying via organic posts) and stories only rolled out network-wide last year. These features give retailers the capacity to tag posts with individual products, allowing users to shop directly from photos and guiding them from their social feeds directly to check-out.

Not to be outdone, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube quickly followed suit with their own native social shopping features. According to Social Media Today:

  • 55% of online shoppers make their purchase through a social media(4)
  • 40% of merchants use social media to generate sales(5)

Between all the platforms, options to customize abound.

5) Ears to the Ground With Social Media Listening

In 2020, expect to see serious brands committing to social media listening.

Keeping tabs on hot topics—before they come to your brand’s doorstep—will help you make smart decisions when it comes to brand positioning on social and beyond. Think of it as industry intel (and competition research!), a way to identify market segments and consumer sentiment, and a way to find influencer talent—all in one.

The real challenge with social media listening will be deciding what nets to cast, because there is a whole world of information out there!

If we had to choose one word to sum up our predictions for 2020 in the world of social… it’d be “tailored”.

These trends tell us that all social media marketing funnel activity, from brand discovery (awareness) and lead generation to post-purchase customer care and evangelism can now all happen on social media… and all be linked. Looking to leverage these trends and move your social media in a more strategic direction? Drop us a line, we’d be happy to schedule a call.

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