7 Social Media Trends Most Brands Haven’t Caught Up With

By Daisy McCorgray, Future Fusion on

Vine, MySpace, Bebo – social media trends come and go. But the one thing that remains a constant is social media itself. Research shows that more than 85% of Gen Z discover new products through social media, while 9 out of 10 millennials use social media daily. As brands, how do we decide which trends to jump on and which ones to swerve?

As you’ll see in this list of social media trends for 2020, focusing on meaningful content and digging deeper into social analytics are more important than ever.

1. Social listening will become the norm for social strategies

If you’re not using insight to inform your strategies, then you’re missing a trick. Tools like Meltwater and Crowdtangle allow you to listen in to the conversations happening around your brand. And what’s more, measure customer sentiment, discover trending content and check out what your competitors are up to. Analysing this data can help to shape a social strategy – from the content your audience wants to see, to when they want to see it.

2. TikTok could become part of your marketing mix

The viral video app has surged in popularity in the past year. Its downloads have reached the dizzy heights achieved by the social behemoths Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – but unlike Zuckerberg’s channels, brand saturation is still relatively low and there are big opportunities for massive organic reach without a popular account. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself if the content your brand has in mind will work for TikTok – and whether your audience is even on the platform.

Not one to be left behind, Instagram have recently launched Reels – “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram”. But with so much else on offer on the IG platform, will Reels get lost in the noise?

Even if you don’t take on the Tiktok challenge, expect to see its native editing styles blowing up your feeds, no matter what platform you’re on.

Two girls using social media

3. Video will reign supreme

While video is nothing new, it remains one of the most important trends in social media. In fact, according to Hubspot, more than half of consumers want to see videos from brands – that’s more than any other type of content.

With travel and lockdown restrictions, the type of content that brands can create and that customers are engaging with as a result has shifted. So while international shoots and big crew productions may be off the table, remote production and getting creative with native platform styles is not. Creating engaging content through remote shoots is something we have embraced here at Fusion during lockdown – everything from short social videos to full productions.

4. Social shopping will increase as consumer behaviour changes

Instagram launched its new shopping experience, Shops, earlier this year, creating a direct app to purchase experience for customers. This allows users to browse, explore and purchase, all within Instagram. The key for brands is to create an engaging content offering that keeps users interested long enough that they want to stay within these channels.

Social shopper behaviour is changing too. According to a study by High Snobiety, more than 70% of Gen Zers make their decision to purchase while seeking inspiration, rather than during purchase related activities. So brand-building inspirational content you create that doesn’t aim to convert a sale, could end up doing just that.

5. Likes are becoming less important

When Instagram started to test the removal of likes in 2019, it sent shockwaves through influencer and brand communities. How will success be measured without the all important little hearts?

They’re still there, but it added momentum to the trend that as brands, the focus should be the quality of the content and how we connect with our audience – not how many likes a post can generate.

As comments and conversations around your brand become key to tracking engagement, how do we ensure that they’re happening? With authentic and relatable content – something that as content marketers is our top skill.

A spin-off result of this change could also be that paid social, with its easy-to-track ROI,  increases in popularity for brands.

6. The influencer marketing will grow – but authenticity is key

As brands begin to look deeper into influencer analytics to gauge whether they’re the right fit for a campaign, fake followers and likes just won’t cut it.

Particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a heightened need for ‘realness’.  As we wake up to the fact that less-polished content is more relatable, nano-influencers are here to fuel that change. Nano-influencers are a tier of influencers used by the marketing industry with as few as 1K but no more than 5K followers.

Typically used for their skills, knowledge, expertise and intimate relationship with their audience they are perceived to be more genuine than larger influencers.

While nano use is already widespread it’s set to increase. As many as 78% of brands surveyed by Influencer Intelligence say they’ll be working with nanos soon.

7. Closed communities will rise

As we continue to socially distance irl, and the concept of privacy impacts our social media use, closed communities have become more important than ever. Private spaces like Facebook Groups offer great opportunities for brands to connect with customers and discover voices first-hand that are passionate about their niche or industry. With the right content and approach, brands can make meaningful contributions to customer conversations – or even set the stage for them to take place by setting up their own Group.

By Daisy McCorgray

I work for Future Fusion, the content marketing arm of Future PLC. We are experts at building communities around people’s passions and in doing so positioning brands at the heart of incredible content that drives transformative results.

We publish a monthly newsletter with the latest trends in content marketing. You can sign up here if you’d like to be kept informed – Future Fusion Monthly Email.

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