Just like design, fashion, and health and wellness trends come and go, social media has its own set of trends that circle around. Some of these trends have a lifespan of 72 hours – such as the famous “Until Tomorrow” social trend that is taking the internet by storm – while some have been around for years. However, as marketers, it’s imperative that we look at the latest trends and how it will affect business in the long term.

Stay tuned to see what trends we predict will be the most prevalent throughout 2020 and beyond.

Temporary Content Will Continue to Grow in Popularity

Who’s ready for a throwback to 2011? Remember that year? We do too – because that’s when Snapchat became iconic. And with the launch of their ‘disappearing’ content ‘Stories’ feature in 2013, Snapchat paved the way for other social platforms to follow.

Three years later, Instagram would follow suit with the launch of their Instagram ‘Stories’ feature which would mimic Snapchat by showcasing content for 24 hours and then disappear. Then came Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories. Seven years later from Snapchat’s official launch of Stories, Twitter and LinkedIn hopped on board with announcements that their ‘Fleets’ and LinkedIn ‘Stories’ are in beta-testing mode.

In early March, Twitter announced that it would be joining the bandwagon to the ephemeral content features that other major platforms have seen major successes in. With trial runs being conducted in Brazil, of it’s new ‘Fleet’ feature, users would be able to post temporary content that would be unable to receive likes, retweets, or replies and would disappear within 24 hours. After the tests run in the Brazilian market for a few months, the update is said to be released to global markets.

How about LinkedIn? Are ‘stories’ features acceptable in a business setting? We’d hope so! LinkedIn announced at the end of February that it would be testing story-like features internally – however, there is no full roll out date as of yet. Although this might come as a shocker, this isn’t the first time LinkedIn has tested stories within their platform. In 2018, they released a similar feature – ‘Student Voices’ – which was available to college students across the US and was used as a means to interact with and share experiences with other students. With nearly all preeminent social platforms introducing ‘Story-like’ features to their platforms, it’s no surprise that short-term content is here to stay.

Utilizing micro-videos, content and daily images that leverage your brand in real-time is a great way to increase engagement among audiences that thrive off of authenticity. Don’t forget to add stickers, polls and added features to posts in order to drive action (add those CTAs!) and resonate with your audience in order to create genuine connections.

Video Content Continues to Boom

With video content being the most widely shared asset on social media, brands can’t sleep on video anymore. With YouTube being only second to Facebook in daily active users, and Instagram heavily investing in IGTV with the new release of horizontal videos, a nap is a missed opportunity.

IGTV

IGTV’s vertical-only content has created friction for both content creators and media companies since it’s release in June of 2018. Although IGTV allowed room for a bigger audience, and new reach, the vertical-only platform often meant new content would need to be created for that platform specifically. However, with the new release of horizontal videos, this allowed industry professionals to analyze their ROI on videos that have already been produced for horizontal video platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.

Although this resolution provided a remedy for content creation, there still is room for improvement – inventory for ads. Monetization on the platform provides incentive to both creators and brands, and at the moment, IGTV continues to do research on how to provide value to both creators and marketers while not disrupting the increasing amount of viewership.

As an effort to address this issue, Instagram announced in February that they have made an internal prototype of an Instagram Partner Program which would allow content creators to monetize their content on the platform.

Other Social Shorts

Video content can be instrumental to the success of any organic or paid social campaign. One of the most important factors in promoting video campaigns on social media is understanding what type of video length and style works best per platform. For example, Facebook Watch can be used for long-form content, while Facebook ads short-form content can be used to showcase your brand’s personality and promotion of products. Likewise, Instagram TV (IGTV) focuses on long-from content that can be incorporated into your marketing mix by repurposing live-stream recordings, blog posts, and tip videos by giving an authentic look into your business’s day-to-day operations. Whereas TikTok and Byte focus on short-form content allowing brands to engage with their audience in 15 second and 90-second bite-sized clips, respectively.

As a result of the increased popularity of short-form content, YouTube has announced that they are gearing up with the release of their added feature, YouTube Shorts. As this feature will live within the YouTube mobile app, this raises a serious threat for its competitor, TikTok, as brands and creators are already familiar with YouTube’s ad business and platform.

Finally, following the footsteps of short videos series is Quibi, an up and coming platform, released in April of 2020, that allows users to watch short video series from their phone – similar to the premium content that Snapchat Discover offers from their Snap Original Shows and Facebook Watch, which features long-form video content shows.

Tools For Creation

Marketers frequently list a “lack of video content” as a roadblock toward creating engaging video ads on social. However, many social channels have taken great strides to provide brands with quick and effective tools to revamp existing images and videos.

If creating video content on Facebook interests you…check out their newly expanded Creative Hub. Here, brands can get inspiration, collaborate with team members, preview on mobile and upon completion, can launch ads easily. Don’t have access to video content? Don’t worry – you can easily turn images into video as well!

If creating static and video pins on Pinterest interests you…check out their creator tools, which allow you to make multiple pins at once. Pins that will accomplish your goals, by incorporating the Pinterest Catalog feature and complying with Pinterest best practices.

If revamping your current assets and creating new ones on Snapchat interests you…check out their Snap Publisher. Here you can create vertical assets from scratch and add them to current campaigns in order to optimize ad performance.

Be Relational with Your Customers

Let’s be honest here. We all love when brands and businesses relate to us as consumers on a personal level. We love it, even more, when we see brands showcasing their customers too! Incorporating customer-centric content into your marketing strategy has become vital in establishing connections with your audience.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

In addition to building relationships with your customers, repurposing and reposting pictures, videos, and testimonials with their permission will encourage a steady stream of content shot for and created by your customers. This type of social proof is great for businesses because it helps build brand trust and encourages engagement with your following.

Employee Generated Content (EGC)

We talked about user-generated content, but what about employee-generated content? We love the quote “empower your employees and they will empower your brand”. Having your employees share content from your brand, such as blog posts, photos, and company updates to their social media accounts is a sure-fire way to build brand trust and reinforce relationships with consumers.

A New Take on Influencing

Influencers. You love them, you hate them. We love them. They’re a powerhouse for marketing and business alike. However, influencer marketing as we know it is being put under a microscope.

But first, let’s gain some background knowledge in the world of influencing:

Mega-Influencers are the highest tier of influencer, with 1 million+ followers. These influencers range from A-list celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, to well known fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers like Julie Sarinana. With a following that large and the highest viewership/reach, comes a price tag. Brands must decide whether the price of the partnership is worth what they will get in return and whether or not their audience aligns with that of the influencer promoting their product.

(@sincerelyjules)

Macro-Influencers are the next tier of influencers with a following between 100k and 1 million. You may know them from their viral content – blogging, vlogging, and the works on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. Since these influencers have a tighter niche and higher engagement rates than mega-influencers, these are the ones you’ll want if you’re looking to target a specific audience.

(@esteelalonde)

Micro-Influencers are influencers with a following of 10k-100k. Although they have a smaller following and by no means, have reached ‘celebrity’ status – they are worth the time and money. Their authenticity and engagement attracts awareness while their smaller following allows them to establish connections with their audience.

(@mollyonthemove)

Nano-Influencers are influencers who have a smaller following of 1k-10k followers. The benefit of partnering with these types of influencers is that they have the ability to build trust with their following. They’re real with their audience and are great for those brands looking to be exposed to a specific community. Especially since their following sees their opinions as receiving advice from a friend (hey, Linda!).

(@heybrookeham)

As influencer marketing continues to grow, it’s vital to weigh the options as to which type of influencer is going to have the knowledge and ability to back data with a price tag – one that will ultimately determine the success of your influencer marketing campaign. If you are unsure about how to identify the best influencer advertising agency, we can help!

Platforms + Their Adoption of Brand Partnerships

As influencers continue to trend, brands will continue to partner with them. In an effort to streamline this process, social channels are making it easier for influencers and brands to collaborate on campaigns.

With TikTok growing at a rapid pace – with over 800 million active users worldwide – it’s becoming an attractive option for both influencers and brands looking to expand their reach.

However, with the increasing demand for influencer marketing, newer platforms like TikTok have begun to reach out to influencer partnership platforms to make influencer and brand partnerships more seamless and easier to integrate within their platforms. TikTok’s recent partnership with influencer app, Heartbeat, will help to scale influencer marketing campaigns within the platform. Where influencers go, consumers will follow. The rise of influencers on the platform, increases viewership and app usage – thus proving the power of influencer marketing.

Additionally, Instagram has announced that they will be making strides in the influencer arena. With the release of Influencer Shoppable Posts, content creators will be able to tag items from brands in their posts, enabling users to buy items within the app.

As the demand for influencer marketing increases, social platforms and brands will capitalize on the value created by content creators – unifying both social and commerce.

Stand Out

No one wants a brand page that screams “buy my stuff!”. Especially in 2020. Or ever.

Get out of your box. It’s time to stand out.

Short + Effective Video Shots

Social media is typically a quick consumption platform, so it’s best practice to keep video ads under 15-seconds. Since drop off rates tend to spike between the 3-second and 6-second mark, it’s imperative that videos include branding within the first 3-seconds of the video to ensure that a clear message is presented before the users scrolls past your ad.

Try videos that show how ideas come about, how they’re built, or aim for a short-form animated GIF that not only inspires the viewer but drives them to complete your call to action.

Quality + Engaging Content

Organic social and brand awareness campaigns are supposed to be social! Surprise!

Putting out quality, consumable content that you would want to see and engage with is just as important as showcasing your product, service, or what you had for lunch.

From a brand awareness perspective, engagement rates are a good way to gauge customer interest. When content, whether organic or paid, has high engagement rates, consumers are signaling that they are interested in the product or service. Make sure your ads keep text simple and concise, words are chosen carefully, CTAs are precise, and audiences are directed to a landing page.

Check out this idea for organic #inspo.

(@americaneagle)

American Eagle did a great job at increasing brand awareness by taking the classic Harry Potter house reference and putting a ‘quarantine spin’ to it.

Check out these ideas for paid #inspo.

(Via Pinterest)

In this example, Wikibuy created value for their user by creating a Pin that would help Pottery Barn customers shop on a budget (yes, please!) while Aye Yai Yai showcased their product and optimized their pin titles to drive conversions.

Social Commerce is Expanding

Social media is a compelling and dynamic way to sell to consumers online – and it’s no surprise that over 40% of business owners are utilizing social media to generate sales. As social channels enhance their shopability features and social commerce grows, it’s becoming easier for users to shop without ever leaving the platform.

Shoppable Posts

In an effort to generate more value to its users, Instagram introduced shoppable posts as a means to drive additional revenue for businesses via organic tactics within the platform by allowing brands to sync their product feeds and tag their products in their organic content such as feed posts or stories. Potential customers can then purchase the item through the link provided in the product tag – allowing them to shop from a virtual storefront within the Instagram app.

(Via Instagram)

Just like the world of technology is ever changing, so is the retail industry. In order to stay competitive, retain and reach new customers, businesses need to be at the forefront of social commerce.

Hopping On Board

With the popularity of shoppable posts increasing, social channels such as TikTok and Pinterest, have begun rolling out features that allow users to shop within their platform.

TikTok, originally noted for driving consumers outside the TikTok app has positioned itself in a way that allows customers to complete purchases without leaving the social network. Users will be able to include a shoppable link in their bio or post that will direct users to purchase items from a retailer within the app.

Pinterest has seen a surge in the number of Shoppable Product Pins – increasing by 2.5x since last year, driving a total increase in traffic to retailers by 2.3x since last year. Additionally, the users actually engaging with these shoppable pins has grown 44% from 2018 to 2019.

Unsurprisingly, Pinterest has added a new ‘Shop’ tab within it’s search section, which streamlines the shopping feature within the app. Here, pinners can browse in-stock options from their favorite retailers when they perform a search query such as “summer outfits”, “bathroom remodel” or “farmhouse decor”, amongst other things. Pinterest has improved visual search by allowing users to “shop similar” – a feature which will allow them to see related in-stock products for outfits and interior decor.

(Via TechCrunch)

Big On Loyalty

With a new loyalty program in the works, brands are able to showcase customers’ points and rewards right within the Facebook app itself – making it the first ad experience to reach customers who have already shopped with them – highlighting their past shopping experiences.

Additionally, this new feature, which is currently in beta mode, allows businesses to “re-engage with past customers using dynamic, personalized ads and organic promotions as part of the program.”

The Demand for Engaging Experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) technology made its first debut on social media a number of years ago, and since then, companies have merged our digital and traditional worlds into one.

Instagram was the first to hop on board by allowing creators – either brands or influencers – to create their own, personalized AR features in Spark AR. Here you can create your own filter and share it on Instagram Stories or Highlights. Anyone who is currently following you will then have access to this branded filter. As a marketer that means limitless reach and the possibility for high levels of engagement. 

Snapchat Lenses, anyone? This social powerhouse was the first to introduce AR on social media back in 2015. From the famous dog ear lens to the lenses that change your voice (my personal favorite!), the demand for engaging experiences has skyrocketed.  As consumers increasingly incorporate the features of AR into their daily routines, it’s important that companies and businesses implement this into their marketing strategies.

Originally, AR features, such as custom builders, were not available to marketers, but just last month Snapchat, announced the opening of their augmented reality lens builder to marketers – allowing them to create their own branded lenses for their marketing campaigns.

(Via Snapchat)

Overall, global brands are hopping on this AR marketing trend – which is expected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022 – and it is having huge impacts on how companies do business. With the implementation of AR, the possibility for shortened sales cycles, lower cost of marketing and sales logistics and an increase in consumer engagement is on the rise.

Wrap Up

Social media channels continue to advance their features through evolving and data-driven algorithms, that help drive personalized, user friendly experiences to consumers. When marketers implement these trends into a cohesive marketing strategy, we see our client’s goals being accomplished.

Social media is always changing. Are you keeping up?

Contact AVX Digital today for a free consultation and see how these social media trends can benefit your brand’s marketing strategy.

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