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Social media has quickly taken over our modern world. As a society, we can’t go anywhere without someone taking a selfie of an experience or posting their Instagram-worthy meal. Social media is now the primary way we communicate with each other and consume information, making it the best place for brands to connect with their target audiences. In order to effectively reach consumers and keep up with the ever-changing social landscape, marketers must keep a pulse on the latest social media trends.
Researching the latest mediums ensures that your brand is up to date on which platforms audiences are flocking to and what kind of content resonates with consumers. It also enables your brand to follow trends like viral challenges and hashtags, allowing you to be a part of cultural moments and organically increase brand awareness.
Here are the four biggest social media trends to keep an eye on in 2020.
TikTok, the short-form video app reminiscent of Vine, boasts over 1.2 billion global installs and 500 million active users. Much of its growth in the last year is due to its popularity among Gen Z-ers and the businesses looking to target this elusive demographic. Brands like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Chipotle have all been engaging with users by running Sponsored Hashtag Challenges, which encourage TikTokers to get creative and make their own videos. Users are encouraged to show off their favorite product from a brand or take part in a viral trend with light-hearted lip-sync videos or unedited comedy sketches.
While TikTok is uncharted territory for many direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies, the platform presents big opportunities for brands leveraging it. Unlike other social platforms where virality is rare, TikTok gives everyone the potential to be influential. Videos with high engagement are featured on the “For You” page or the Discover tab in the app, allowing creators and brands to get in front of users who don’t even follow the featured accounts. Additionally, the company is quickly building shoppable ad offerings to help brands drive more sales in the app. Overall, TikTok doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and has the potential to be extremely influential for D2C brands with a Gen Z customer profile.
When it comes to social media marketing, there are seven major channels that D2C brands use: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority (74.3%) of brands plan to increase their presence on Instagram in 2020. Instagram is also the most widely used channel by brands because it provides businesses with robust data and insights into the community.
However, Instagram’s landscape is quickly changing. The platform recently started testing hidden “like” counts globally, forcing marketers to look beyond vanity metrics and towards other factors such as content value, sales attribution, and brand affinity. While the change has yet to be implemented permanently, it is surely one that marketers must keep an eye on in the coming year.
Today, still images make up the bulk of the content shared by brands and creators. However, in 2020, video content will take center stage. A recent AspireIQ study found that 82.2% of marketers will invest in more video content next year. Videos provide more context than still images, giving people all of the information they need to know about a product or service in a short amount of time.
In fact, a positive experience with a video ad increases consumers’ purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%. By moving away from static imagery, brands may be able to capture — and keep — their buyers’ attention, leading to boosted sales and greater brand awareness.
93% of marketers now practice influencer marketing, and for good reason. Social media influencers wield immense power over their audience’s purchasing decisions because their recommendations are perceived as dependable. In fact, while people distrust traditional ads and even use ad-blocking software to disregard them altogether, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends, family, and influencers, making them more likely to purchase a product and see brands as reputable.
Like friends and family, influencers are real people who have close interactions with their communities every day. Despite what the media loves to claim about the “death of influencer marketing,” influencers have created strong relationships with their audience and care deeply about keeping their content authentic, transparent, and raw. These social media consumers are drawn to this content and look to them for genuine advice and insights into the latest and greatest products on the market.
By working with influencers, brands can reach new networks, create eye-catching content, and drive more sales. It’s proven to be so effective in recent years that 69.8% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2020. For more statistical specifics of the maturing influencer marketing industry, check out AspireIQ’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2019.
Using social media as a marketing tool has allowed brands to access buyers they may not have been able to before, with emerging platforms and trends introducing new channels for marketers to take advantage of. Keep up with the social media trends, and your brand may just reach the right people at the right time and grow sales.
Jenn Kim is a Content Marketing Specialist at AspireIQ, the leading influencer marketing platform. She writes about social media marketing and community engagement for B2C brands.
Originally published on December 6th, 2019, last updated on June 16th, 2022.