Top Social Media Trends Today

Let’s look at the major trends impacting the social networks today!

The whole world of social media is dynamic, rapidly bringing new ideas, trends and technologies into this highly competitive arena. In many cases, changes are not sudden or unexpected, but evolve gradually and predictably.

Not so in 2021!

This year, more than ever, it is vital for business to stay up to date on the latest digital marketing trends – especially in social media. You need to adapt and make essential monthly modifications and tweaks to your marketing execution. This will enable you to keep your company’s online presence highly visible and engaged. Important transitions are underway!

Let’s jump in and check out the top five social media trends emerging today.

1. Ephemeral Content and Chatbots

While you may or may not be familiar with the term “Ephemeral Content,” you are definitely familiar with what it actually is:

Content that is only available for a short time, then disappears.

Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat Stories are the most obvious examples on the major platforms.

As social media users’ attention spans have shrunk, the way they like to consume content has changed as well. This is why content formats such as Stories have become so popular recently. They are short, engaging, and in some ways, addictive – people often spend hours scrolling through one Story after another.

Business owners have taken notice of this trend and will continue to use it to their own advantage over the next year. In fact, according to this recent report from Hootsuite, 64% of marketers have already incorporated Instagram Stories into their strategy – or plan to.

In addition to these, more and more companies are starting to rely on artificial intelligence (AI).  You may not know it but there could be AI in the little things you encounter online everyday. One of them being chatbots, which are easily set up in Facebook and helps you gain leads.

That’s not only it, however. There’s a whole world of AI tools for social media marketing out there that delves into the behavior of your social media efforts.

2. Continued Growth of Video

“Over the next few years, the much bigger driver of the business and determinant of how we do is going to be video, not Messenger.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Video has been growing for some time now, and it’s easy to see its potential. Looking at GlobalWebIndex’s most recent data on social video adoption, it’s obvious there’s no slowing video’s growth:

  • 56% of internet users watch videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat every month.
  • 81% of 55 to 64-year-olds are watching videos on social every month.
  • 1 in 3 social video viewers watch videos produced by brands every month.

These statistics are set to continue to grow as more mobile-first customers in emerging markets come online. One reasons for this may be that video can be a much easier medium than text to learn about something new. This is especially true in countries with low literacy rates.

By 2020, marketers will face video saturation. According to a 2018 Social Trends survey from Hootsuite, 46% of respondents said they were already implementing social videos with another 26% planning to in 2019. That means social video is rapidly moving from an algorithmic advantage to a must-have tactic.

3. Big Changes for Influencer Partnerships

In November 2019, Instagram began testing the removal of “likes” from the platform. The idea is to benefit mental health and relieve some of the pressure of judgement for users. However, for influencer marketing, it will likely mean a change in strategy.

Industry expert Rachel Ford thinks that regardless of whether the “likes” go or stay, influencer relationships with businesses are likely to change. Comparing to the engagement drop marketers felt without an ad spend, she predicts, “It can be speculated that influencer partnership performance will turn similarly into play-to-play.”

Does that mean the influencer partnership as we know it is over? Not at all. It’s just going to change as companies seek out new and creative ways to partner with influencers to prove their ROI.

4. Gen Z to Drive VR and AR Adoption

Throughout 2019, we saw the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) grow into some surprising areas of marketing. This is only set to explode further through 2020.

For example, Amazon is exploring the idea of using AR to help their customers try on virtual clothes and explore products. Snapchat’s Geofilters and Lens functions – both examples of AR – have been adopted by a huge number of marketing campaigns. These include creating location-specific videos to help influence nearby customers.

Generation Z, of course, will continue to push these technologies further. According to GlobalWebIndex, 22% of Gen Z aged users are already using geofilters every month. Gen Zers who watch videos every month are 40% above average when it comes to using online resources to research products.

What’s more, they’re also influenced by social reviews. A lot of “Likes” and positive comments on social media help motivate them to make a purchase.

In 2020, social media platforms will continue to push AR features. Novelty always boosts user engagement, after all – both for new features and ad campaigns for early adopters. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Bitmoji, WeChat, and QQ are all social messaging apps that will use AR to boost ad revenue.

5. Fake News and Big Data

The value of big data has been growing, especially now in social media. Big data gives important insights to marketers as it gathers information on users’ demographics, interests, purchase behavior, and more. Ultimately, it can improve your campaign performance based on these metrics.

Facebook is one of the more prominent social media channels to gather and use big data. They’re not new to the game either. You may have heard of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal from 2018, wherein the latter company gathered personal data without users’ consent. We all gained insight into some of the strategies being used, without our consent, to gather data – big data as it was collected on a grand scale – about us.

By the end of 2020, most – if not all – of the major social platforms will be regulated thanks to Facebook. But with another major election in the United States looming amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, you’ll likely see a surge in fake news, breaches in our data privacy spurred by foreign hackers.

According to eMarketer, marketers will have to deal with stricter regulations. That will lead to the market itself filling with tech vendors in order to protect and store sensitive data. We’re already seeing the impact of regulation among the social platforms. For example, Facebook will soon require marketers to confirm that they have user consent for Custom Audiences.

2020 will bring an end to the “wild west” of social media. Governments and consumers alike will look to better guard their personal data. And rather than impress consumers with data journalism or clever personalization, tech companies will be seen in a darker light.

As a business you can tap the huge quantities of big data when you run ads on these social platforms. These are not only tools for hackers and frauds. The huge amounts of data that they access are also available to your business, for the good of your business, in order to widen your reach, find new consumers, and engage brand new audiences with your brand, offers and content. Think of it as Big Data for Good: it can help you meet your marketing goals more rapidly.

6. Pandemic Marketing

During the first quarter of 2020, a global pandemic – COVID-19 to be exact – sent many workers home, either laid off or minding kids and home schooling them while working from home. Savvy marketers realize that social media is playing a key role in keeping us all plugged in while holed up in our homes and apartments. Everyone is on social more, and your business should be too, but in a way that makes sense given the pandemic climate and real challenges people are facing.

  • Display your corporate values across social media, showing empathy for the real challenges facing your customers.
    Make modifications your communications strategy: it is not business as usual and not making changes to your content strategy can risk making you appear insensitive and uncaring as a brand.
  • Companies who are able to continue operating, with their staff working from home, should take measures to understand the challenges of these workers and put communications outreach strategies in place.
    We see surge in online meetings as companies strive to keep the team feeling a sense of connectedness outside the office.

    • Social media can play a valuable role in telling the stories of how your staff are coping with the challenges, and the creativity they are sparking with new methods and systems to get the work done. Collect these stories, and let them be part of your social media content strategy. Create weekly recognition awards that are shared either within your private pages on social, or converted into stories that tell your customers how hard you are working for them. Build loyalty and engagement among your follower base with authentic accounts of those human, daily challenges and decisions that your awesome team are making on their behalf.
    • Start using collaboration tools such as Slack, Facebook Live, WhatsApp, Zoom or Skype to encourage and inspire your staff who are working from home to collaborate and help each other.
    • Encourage employees who have extra time on their hands to get involved in charitable initiatives to help those in need. Many companies have community or charitable mandates, and this is the time to consider these avenues to strengthen your presence within your community. How can your business help the community at hand, the most vulnerable in this economic crisis? Put a team on it, keeping in mind these activities can be part of your social media content strategy. You are telling the story of your company’s values when faced with a challenge.

Social media marketing strategies for all kinds of businesses

These are just some of the major trends that are set to dominate the social media strategy landscape. Leverage these trends to your business’s advantage to stay ahead of your competition in the new year!

Social media marketing has become a central part of marketing your products or services in today’s economy. Without question today’s consumer is searching online as a first step in almost everything they buy. Therefore, small and medium sized business marketing must embrace social media – as part of an omnibus marketing strategy. Your next customer is as likely to find you online as to hear about you through word of mouth.

As a leading social media agency in Toronto, we specialize in developing targeted social media campaigns designed to grow your online presence and drive new business to your website. In addition we offer a full range of digital marketing agency services including content marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, web development & design, and email marketing.

How might we help your business? Book your free call today!