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In the wheel of digital marketing, social media is regarded as one of the most significant spokes today. But, it should also be noted that it is also the least static of all the different disciplines. Trends tend to evolve every year, consumer habits undergo change and new platforms are also introduced. Organizations and businesses are constantly searching for the greatest and latest best practices in social media for getting the best results. It is not something that can be taken lightly because it is not an exaggeration to say that most people are spending the better part of their day on social media.

In fact, it has become an integral part of everyone’s daily routines and lives. Some people have become so addicted to social media that checking their feeds is the first thing they do after waking up. Given that social media plays such as important role in consumers’ lives, businesses and marketers need to make use of it in order to connect with their target clientele. But, there is intense competition on social media because there is a content overload. Having a clear strategy is how businesses can stand out and the best way to fuel your strategy is to stay updated on the latest social media trends.

To stay ahead of your competition and of the constantly in-flux social media landscape, you need to know top social media trends. Guy Galboiz has revealed some social media trends that businesses should follow in 2020 and beyond in order to stay on top of the market:

  • Ephemeral content will continue to gain popularity

Ephemeral content refers to content that can only be accessed for a short period of time and disappear later on. Snapchat and Instagram stories are the best examples of this kind of content. These days, people tend to have very short attention spans and there is also a change in which they consume content. Consequently, content formats like Stories have gained a lot of popularity. They are engaging, short and addictive in such a way that people often end up spending hours scrolling through one Story after the other.

This trend has certainly been noticed by marketing experts like Guy Galboiz and they recommend that businesses leverage it to their benefit. According to the latest statistics, almost 64% of businesses have already incorporated ephemeral content into their marketing strategies. In fact, studies have shown that businesses are posting a story at least once in four days, which shows that these stories are becoming more and more popular.

  • Niche social platforms will become more important

Instagram and Facebook have dominated social media for long as the most popular and largest platforms. However, businesses shouldn’t forget that in the last few years, a number of other niche social platforms have emerged and they have managed to accumulate a lot of fame. For instance, one such platform is none other than the infamous TikTok, which was launched in 2016. It gained popularity amongst youngsters almost immediately. The gaming community opts for Twitch for their marketing whereas B2B companies have shown a preference towards LinkedIn.

There are a number of such alternative and niche social media platforms that will continue to gain popularity in 2020 and beyond.

  • Instagram to remove Likes from its platform

One of the largest social media networks nowadays is Instagram and any major changes that occur on this platform can have a big impact on the overall social media landscape. The possibility of Instagram removing the Likes feature from its platform is one such major change to be expected. It wasn’t that long ago that Instagram tested this idea in a beta test and the change might be applied globally. According to Instagram, the reason behind this change is due to the fact that likes are used for determining the social value of a person and waiting for this kind of validation can prove to be detrimental to the health of its users.

But, some are of the opinion that Instagram is only doing this to earn more. After all, influencers are being paid millions by businesses for promoting their products, but Instagram doesn’t get anything out of it. As a matter of fact, influencer marketing has achieved such significant popularity that businesses are moving away from advertising and other traditional marketing methods altogether. If the Like feature is removed from Instagram, then businesses wouldn’t be able to measure the direct impact of their marketing campaign.

Businesses might be prompted to invest in Instagram Ads, as a result, because they will be able to track their ROI easily through them. Removing likes could prove to be transformative for social media marketing and businesses need to be prepared for such a change.

  • Social commerce will grow

Businesses have used social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for long to sell their products. They have now discovered a new retail avenue in the form of social commerce and this trend is expected to grow in 2020 and beyond. According to Guy Galboiz, social commerce can become a mainstream retail channel in the same way as other mediums, such as offline stores and websites. The trend will continue to strengthen as more and more social platforms will introduce pro-selling features like shoppable posts and Instagram Storefronts. These can be leveraged by businesses and social commerce can be incorporated into their sales strategies.

  • Video content will now dominate

Perhaps, the most engaging form of content that can be found these days is video content and it will dominate social media soon as the clear winner over any other kind of content. Videos are going to be the future of content on social media, whether it is in the form of long videos like those on YouTube or bite-sized videos like the ones popular on Stories or TikTok. A study showed that by 2022, video content will be 82% of all online content. Thus, professionals like Guy Galboiz emphasize that this clearly indicates how important it is for businesses to start using video content if they wish to stay relevant in the world of social media.

Any business that’s not currently creating videos should include them in its strategy right away. Videos will dominate social media in the future and anyone who doesn’t keep up will face a tough time. If you are wondering how to get started, features like Stories can be used for your advertisements and for social media content. Videos can also be added to your social media posts, even on platforms that have been traditionally dominated by text or images.

  • Influencer marketing is not going anywhere

It is true that influencer marketing is not exactly a new trend, but it is one that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Today, social media is heavily dominated by influencers who are receiving exorbitant funds for promoting businesses. There has been a huge increase in the sheer numbers of influencers on social platforms and the marketing expenditure on influencer marketing by businesses has also gone up. It is a lot cheaper for businesses to invest in influencers rather than running paid ad campaigns and yet, it can deliver even better results.

Furthermore, influencers can also help businesses in achieving a number of marketing goals and not just for generating leads. Businesses are not just collaborating with a couple of influencers; they are working with an entire network of relevant, small and niche influencers. Such influencers cost less and can provide higher engagement. Going forward, more and more businesses should think about using this strategy and working with several small influencers instead of just one celebrity.

  • Greater adoption of augmented reality

Our reality is enhanced by augmented reality with the addition of digital elements and by changing the way things really look. This technology has been used rather interesting by social media platforms and it is now being leveraged in the last few years. For instance, Instagram is using augmented reality for its various photo filters, such as the ones that add bunny years, sunglasses or even makeup to your face.

Snapchat and Instagram have made this trend very popular and other social media platforms will adopt it in the coming years. For instance, AR filters were introduced by Facebook first, but they became popular after they were added on Instagram. Facebook is also doing experiments with other VR and AR functionalities and will introduce more applications of these technologies in the near future.

AR is not just being used on social media for photo filters and for fun stories and posts. Businesses are also leveraging augmented reality for providing their customers with better shopping experiences. For instance, a renowned beauty brand like Sephora has been using AR for allowing their clients to try on the makeup before they purchase it.

This capability existed on their mobile app, but they have also added it to Facebook. Now, Facebook Messenger can be used for trying out Sephora products with the use of augmented reality filters. People can make better purchasing decisions in this way and have a unique and fun shopping experience.

Social platforms are also adding more AR functionalities and businesses should do their best to take advantage of these.

  • Personalization will become critical

A global consumer trend that has gained a lot of momentum in the past few years is personalization. However, when it comes to social media, its adoption is still quite recent. Some people may argue that it is not possible for brands to personalize their social media content for every consumer. But, it is possible for a business to customize their social media ads for as many consumer segments as they like. As per Guy Galboiz, social media ads are the key aspect that can be leveraged by businesses for leveraging this trend of personalization.

These days, social media platforms are providing advanced customization and targeting options, which allow businesses to show the right ads to the right people. As a matter of fact, personalization has expanded to such a level that now these social platforms can now understand the kind of products you like. Thus, they also show people ads of similar products from various brands.

  • Technology adoption is on the rise

The adoption of different technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is on the rise on social media platforms. As these platforms are growing, users are demanding more engaging and better experiences and this is only possible through these technologies. Facebook has already taken major steps in this direction through the introduction of their social reality world called Horizon. It is like a virtual world where people can explore, play games and connect. It is another level of social connection and could end up becoming the future of social media.

  • Local targeting is becoming more prevalent

Local targeting plays the same role for social media platforms that SEO plays for local businesses that are looking to attract more organic traffic. A plethora of businesses are using location-based targeting for reaching out to and attracting people from a particular geographic location. A common strategy used by businesses for attracting local audience is through geo-tagging stories and posts. Drawing in a local audience becomes easier when you add a location to the content you post on social media.

Social media networks like Instagram give consumers the option of searching for posts from specific locations or nearby posts. A business’s post will show up in these search results if they have geo-tagged their content, which helps local people in finding you. Geo-targeting can be especially effective for tweets and promoted posts because these platforms are great for targeting the right audience. Businesses can also use geo-tagging for getting more people to come to their local events and conferences. Likewise, location filters can be used in social media ads for advertising to a local and relevant audience.

Location-based targeting on social platforms can be extremely beneficial for businesses and they just need to know how to leverage it.

  • Popularity of user-generated content

Again, businesses leveraging user-generated content is not really a new trend, but according to marketing experts like Guy Galboiz, it is one that is going strong and will continue to do so in the future as well. The rate of adoption is the only thing that has changed as more and more businesses have jumped on the bandwagon. Some businesses are encouraging their customers to create content and tag the business’s name for an opportunity to get featured on their page. Some businesses have also organized relevant marketing campaigns to motivate people to submit entries for becoming a part of the campaign.

As a matter of fact, there are businesses that are completely dependent on user-generated content for their social media platforms. User-generated content should be part of your content mix, no matter how you plan on using it. This kind of content is free and is deemed as a lot more authentic than any other kind of business content. Your brand will appear more trustworthy and can work wonders for your image as well. It is time for businesses to start leveraging user-generated content, especially if they are not doing so already.

  • Using social media for customer service

Traditionally, social media has been a place for people to connect with their social circle and share videos and photos. But, those days are long gone and social media has become much bigger than that. Social media is now a product discovery platform, a retail platform and has now even become a customer service channel. A lot of businesses have now begun to recognize and accept social media networks as platforms that can be used for delivering customer service. This transition was gradual and businesses have begun to notice that tons of customers are trying to reach out to them via social media.

This could be due to a lack of response via other channels or simply because it is a more direct way of connecting with businesses. Businesses are now responding to these messages as well and directing their customers to the correct channels. These interactions are expected to grow multi-fold in the upcoming years. This is not just a one-off situation where customers post their complaints or questions on social media and businesses respond. Now, businesses are recognizing it as a customer service channel in itself due to its significance.

Plus, it is regarded as one of the most important customer service channels because there could be massive repercussions for businesses if they don’t handle the customer well in front of other potential or existing customers. Hence, it is even more important for businesses to handle customers properly. Guy Galboiz suggests that businesses should use social media platforms for solving their customers’ queries and problems in a professional manner.

  • Increasing significance of social media communities

Even though it is not exactly a new concept, the significance of social media communities is increasing. Put simply, these communities are social groups that are created by businesses for providing their customers a networking platform. These are private groups that can be joined by like-minded people for talking about their shared interests. An excellent example of such social communities are Facebook Groups. Such groups are utilized by a number of businesses for bringing all their prospective and existing customers together and using a meaningful way of engaging them. Different topics can be discussed by group members and they can share the experiences they have had.

In fact, these groups can also be used by them for finding a solution to their challenges. Businesses can also use these social media communities for seeking customer feedback, launching new products and gaining valuable customer insights.

  • Increased regulatory control and legal scrutiny

The benefits of social media cannot be denied, but in recent years, some negatives of these platforms have also come to light. Data security and privacy are two such important issues that have made headlines in regard to various social platforms like Facebook. It is extremely easy for people to use social media for gathering information about anyone and then misusing it. In fact, allegations have also been made against different social networks for selling their user data to third parties and companies.

Keeping this in mind, regulatory bodies and social networks will tighten their rules and will introduce more policies for combating these issues. A lot of people regard social media as unsafe and changing that would work in everyone’s best interest. Thus, businesses should be ready for more restrictions and regulations on all platforms.

  • Social listening to become a priority

Social media is considered a goldmine for insights and data that can be used by businesses for refining their strategies. Accessing these insights has become easier than ever with the introduction of numerous social listening tools. Considering the ease through which businesses can tap into social conversations for drawing meaningful insights, social listening has become a part of every business’s marketing strategy.

It is being used for different cases like trying to understand how people are perceiving a brand or figuring out the impact of a social media campaign. Suffice it to say, social listening can provide a great deal of information due to which it has become one of the most vital social media marketing strategies for every business. There are a multitude of social listening tools that businesses can use and Guy Galboiz recommends that you start experimenting so you can find one that works best for you.

Social media landscape will be dominated by these 15 trends in 2020 and beyond. Guy Galboiz suggests that all businesses should leverage these trends to their advantage because this will play an important role in helping them stay ahead of their competition. Social media is a competitive and dynamic space and a business can use these trends for acing their social media game. Hence, their priority should be to stay abreast of these social media trends and use them for their strategies and initiatives.

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