What has changed in the social media landscape in 2019? What should we keep in 2020? How do these trends affect our martech planning?
Many things can change in the social media industry in 12 months. It’s even hard to remember all the changes towards the end of the year considering how fast all trends come and go.
We’ve looked at our post back in January with our predictions for the year along with our top stories about social media from the past 10 months to review the most important changes in the social media marketing industry and how they can affect our next martech decisions.
Six key social media trends
Back in January, we focused on six key social media trends for 2019. We’ve decided to review them to see where we are and what we can change:
Engagement to be more important
This was a very accurate prediction as we’ve noticed in 2019 a shift in metrics and what matters in social media marketing. There were also stories coming from Facebook and Instagram on the possibility of hiding the likes or the number of followers, which started making it easier for more ‘educating’ posts on why brands should step aside from vanity metrics.
Even if we already knew this as marketers, it started a conversation beyond marketing on the future of social media and why we all need to focus more on engagement.
Engagement is not always easy to measure though and that’s why it’s important to focus on the right tools that will align with your set KPIs. From monitoring your key mentions to all networks to being able to analyse your engagement metrics, there are definitely many tools to explore the rising focus on social interactions.
Influencer marketing to focus on micro-influencers
Micro-influencers turned into rising stars in the influencer marketing industry. We even saw the growth of niche and nano influencers, the social media accounts with a very engaged audience that made them ideal for targeted marketing.
There was also a big conversation around transparency and trust among influencers and product endorsement. Thus, it’s time to start reviewing your current influencer strategy and how you are planning to approach your next campaign.
It’s not about the number of followers anymore but more about the fit with the right influencer that will be appealing enough for your consumers.
Social media will be used more for sales enablement
Product discovery is more frequent nowadays on social media. All major social media platforms are gearing towards a strong journey in social commerce strategies that will bring closer our social media campaigns to the end goal of conversions and purchases. Social media is way past the awareness phase and the trend of social commerce won’t phase out anytime soon.
Instagram and Pinterest are already exploring new ideas to make their platforms more “shopping-friendly” to the consumers, which brings out new creative ideas to marketers, both on B2B and B2C campaigns.
This is great news for the sales teams and the business leaders who want to find ROI on social media. A good CRM can help you track a full journey that can start from social media and go all the way to your conversion points.
AI will be more integrated into customer service
AI chatbots have been used in many brand campaigns during 2019. They could potentially transform the marketing landscape to deliver more personalized experiences to consumers.
According to Smooch’s report, 44% of consumers used chatbots to carry out purchases.
However, they sometimes fail to deliver on expectations with NLP (natural language processing) being one of the key factors.
Thus, we might not be where we expected at the end of 2019 but there’s still a great opportunity to explore heading towards 2020.
Stories will be everywhere
The easiest prediction for 2019 was about the Stories dominating across big social media platforms. Stories, or vertical ephemeral posts, are everywhere, which made us review our social media strategy and the content creation towards new formats.
Instagram has counted more than 500 million daily active Stories users in 2019 and Instagram Stories ads also doubled from 9% to 18% year-over-year.
Except for Instagram, Facebook has also heavily invested in the promotion of Stories, highlighting them both on desktop and mobile. Despite the initial cautiousness more users and brands are using them and it seems that 2020 might justify Facebook’s focus on them from the beginning.
Fake followers will soon be gone
We are not at a stage yet that all the fake followers have disappeared from social media but it’s encouraging to see that more people do not rely on the number of followers to determine an account’s popularity. Influencer marketing is not exclusively relying on the number of followers anymore and reports like the one from Clear are validating the shift in the focus. According to Klear, analyzing influencers based on their number of followers is a “poor metric” as it no longer reflects the actual popularity of an account.
Marketers may be aware that an influencer’s number of followers is not an indicator of success but it’s encouraging to see that users are also more cautious with the accounts that see a sudden increase of followers and popularity.
Marketing is heading towards authenticity and engaging content that stands out and the fake followers do not necessarily guarantee success and brand partnerships anymore.
Luckily, there are many tools that help you measure the actual influence of an account without necessarily relying on the number of followers. The more we’re spending the time to analyse the actual impact that influencers have on their followers, the better our next campaigns will be by picking the best partnerships.
What do these trends mean for our martech decisions?
A good reason to look at the trends that shaped 2019 is to review your current martech stack and what you need to improve in 2020.
For example, if you are about to change your social media marketing strategy to be more data-focused, you need to make sure that the reporting and the attribution are accurate.
If you want to involve social media more in your sales funnel, you want to invest in the right CRM that will help you track your leads along the complete journey.
If you are ready to invest in influencer marketing, then you want to find the right tools that will make your influencer marketing strategy more successful.
The best way to start is by analyzing the effectiveness of your current social media marketing efforts and how you can improve them. Look at your existing processes within your team and start writing down the types of tools that could streamline your work towards your goals.
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