7 Ways Social Media is Going to Change in 2020

Social media has become a lynchpin in the digital marketing world but it has been changing steadily over the past few years.

Social media
Photo credit: Gerd Altmann

While 2019 has heralded some massive updates to social media platforms and their usefulness in marketing, changes are set to continue into 2020.

Marketers need to know what to prepare for when they work on their new strategies and their project plan for 2020.

Here we outline seven ways that social media is about to change next year and what marketers can do about it.

1: Social Media Privacy and Well-Being

In recent years, one thing has become clear—social media is often not a safe space.

From social platforms sharing user information with corporations to users ‘doxing’ anyone they disagree with, there has been a security issue all around. Social media users and governments have taken these platforms to task and changes have been made.

However, there are still lapses, and social media can still be an unhealthy domain for marginalized communities and activists.

But we should be seeing a significant shift towards more security and privacy in 2020.

2020 is definitely going to be the year of AI chatbots and marketers will need to start working towards that scenario soon.

Channels such as Facebook and Instagram have been steadily increasing their security protocols this year, with more to come.

There are now more safeguards in place to ensure that people don’t accidentally share information or posts with people they don’t want to.

Additionally, channels are putting in place stringent measures to stop the spread of misinformation, misrepresentations, and abuse, which will make the social sphere more healthy.

Instagram recently began hiding likes in an attempt to make the platform less vanity-oriented. This foreshadows a trend we will likely see across other platforms. However, it is important to note that the social sphere has a long way to go before it can become a truly safe and healthy place. People should still be aware when posting.

2: Customisation in Social Media

Marketers will have noticed an uptick in personalised content throughout 2019, and this was just a precursor of what’s to come.

Creating a personal connection between small businesses, brands, nonprofits, and their customers or clients is what will power social media marketing in 2020.

Customisation will affect how social media marketers gather insights (which we will cover shortly) and the kind of content they share.

We will also see a rise in segmented audiences across social media—particularly with regards to advertising, but also for organic posts.

Custom content will ensure that marketers not only reach the audiences they are targeting but that the content is tailored for their needs.

This will also impact how content is delivered—for instance, instead of relying on Facebook or LinkedIn brand pages, marketers are likely to see more success within groups.

There will be more customisation of social feeds based on the kind of engagement brands are receiving from their followers—something that is already being put in place now.

For brands using a social media marketing agency, it may be prudent to change your social strategy for 2020 to make more customised content.

3: Quality of Social Media Insights

Social media has been driven by data over the last decade but the kind of insights that will come into prominence in 2020 will be quite different.

While metrics such as likes and follows have formed the core of social media analytics thus far, there is now a push towards more insightful statistics.

Brands will need to understand not just the actions of social media users but also their behaviour.

Why are people clicking on a certain type of post and not others? What encourages users to stay on a page they’ve visited through a social post or to bounce?

These are the questions that marketers will need to ask when they set up their KPIs for 2020.

Additionally, engagement is set to play a major part in how metrics work for brands. Likes and follows are far too passive—they don’t translate to any real action on the part of the user.

Brands will need to measure their successes in 2019 to determine what metrics they have to target next year.

4: Graphics in Social Media Posts

The gaudy colors of 2019 will be all but gone next year, particularly with regards to social media.

Muted color palettes will be the in-thing in 2020

New studies on upcoming graphic design trends have revealed that muted color palettes will be the in-thing in 2020. We are set to see more pastels, and less neons, unlike this year.

This change in color tone will affect stock photos, as well. Marketers still using stock photos will need to sort through images carefully, choosing only authentic, neutral-hued imagery for posts.

There had also been an overuse of gradients in backgrounds over the past year, but in 2020, gradients will be used as fillers, adding texture and depth to imagery.

We have been seeing a move towards more abstract imagery on social media, and this trend is set to take off in 2020. Flowing lines and complex illustrations will be the go-to visual.

Font use in social media posts also needs to be acknowledged—in 2020, heavy fonts against simple backgrounds are set to become the norm.

5: Rise of Live Content

Video marketing may have become the focus of social media in the past few years, but recent studies have shown that video marketing metrics may have been inflated.

This will come as some relief to marketers who had to rejig their entire social media strategy to cater to the perceived popularity of videos.

On the other hand, live content has been shown to have more engagement. And it isn’t surprising why.

Live videos and live streams are unique and open up avenues that would not otherwise be accessible to users.

For instance, a brand live streaming an event can attract audiences who cannot attend the event. The same goes for interviews and how-to videos.

Live content will increase views, shares, and follows, a major boost to your content marketing strategy.

And live streams are already everywhere—Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube—all have live video functions which will need to be used optimally in 2020.

6: Social Media Chatbots

This year has seen a steady improvement in the functionality of AI. Through machine learning software, AI has become far more sophisticated and effective.

Social media marketers will be looking to implement this kind of AI in their strategy.

We are already seeing sophisticated messenger chatbots for business on Facebook and Twitter and this trend will continue to grow and become more essential in 2020.

AI-powered chatbots will make communication between brands and their customers easier and effective—people will be able to have their queries addressed whenever they want.

And simpler complaints, suggestions, and issues can be handled by these chatbots, leaving customer service teams to deal with more complex issues.

This has already been a huge time-saver for the customer support team at Mailshake. Marketing strategist Mark Lindquist explains; “We have a lot of customers reach out over social media to request support. This ended up being a challenge to manage, since it’s hard for our customer support team to monitor social channels, and it’s often not possible to solve problems immediately over a chat, which can often be an expectation for customers. To address this, we set up a chatbot on our Facebook page to automatically respond to customers when they message, and funnel them to the right support person right away. It’s saved us a lot of time and headaches, and customers appreciate the quick responses.”

2020 is definitely going to be the year of AI chatbots and marketers will need to start working towards that scenario soon.

7: Social Media E-Commerce

Instagram’s Shoppable posts have made e-commerce faster and easier than ever. Users no longer need to leave the social platform to make purchases—they can do it from a post.

And this is the future of social media in 2020—e-commerce will be possible through social platforms.

Marketers will need to take note of this—it cuts out one entire step in the buyer journey and will need to be optimised to attract users and convert them into leads.

Calls to action will have to be well-considered—you wouldn’t want to be too obvious, but neither too subtle.

Social media posts should thus be focused on encouraging users to make a purchase because the item(s) will add value to their lives.

Summing Up

All marketers know that social media is constantly changing. It is how well you adapt to the changes that makes you and your brand stand out in the busy social media landscape.

In 2020, social media is set to make privacy a priority and there will be more customisation in how content is created and shared.

Additionally, the quality of insights will change as will the graphic design trends.

live content will reign over video marketing, and we will see more messenger chatbots, as well as more e-commerce on social media.

Marketers should be preparing for these changes and making adjustments to their social media strategy accordingly.

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