Where Is Social Media Going in 2020?

Tweets and posts have become as common as business cards when it comes to marketing your business. Maybe that’s because digital consumers spend nearly 2.5 hours a day on social networks. If you want to be seen by potential customers, it’s the place to be. 

But for the first time ever, the share of U.S. adults using social media didn’t grow in 2019, according to the Pew Research Center. Does that mean social media is going away? No, but it reminds us that it’s important to stay on top of what’s new. Take a look at some developing trends in social media so you can make the most of your promotional efforts.

Trend 1: Social media growth is more targeted.

While overall growth may be unchanged, Pew Research reports some pockets are growing. For example, Instagram saw an uptick during 2019. That’s important if your market is 18- to 24-year olds. YouTube, which is popular across all age groups, also saw an increase in the number of users who visit the site daily. 

Pew also reports that many demographic patterns remain the same. Pinterest is used more often by women, LinkedIn attracts more college educated and high-income users, WhatsApp is popular among Hispanics, and Snapchat attracts younger users. Facebook is widely used by all ages but enjoys a larger share of older audiences. 

Takeaway: It’s important to periodically confirm the social platforms you use are still reaching your target market.

Trend 2: Social media is becoming more visual.

By 2020, over 75% of mobile traffic will be video. Whether it’s a how-to presentation, a new product demo, or customer review, video allows you to show and tell your message in a dynamic way. Some of these are live streamed. 

In fact, one study reports 93% of businesses gained a new customer thanks to a video on social media. In addition, video ads were the No. 1 way consumers found out about a new brand or product.

Takeaway: Consider where you might use social video to tell your story. Examine your bandwidth to determine if can comfortably accommodate video streaming.

Trend 3: Social media is about authentic engagement.

Social media platforms are stepping up detection of fake likes and followers because they dilute the perceived popularity of posts. Instead, the platforms are focusing on more qualitative factors like number of comments, replies, or live features to assess the quality of the interaction. The idea is to ensure that the engagement is authentically coming from an actual person.

Fake likes and content also create the potential for regulatory action against social platforms. As a result, you may see rules which add new restrictions to safeguard privacy and control the use of data available to marketers.

Takeaway: Evaluate which metrics best track actual engagement by users.  Create content that gets followers to directly interact with it. For example, pose a question in your post to get followers to comment on the content you post. 

Trend 4: Social media is becoming more local.

More businesses are using location-based targeting to reach potential customers in their own backyard. You can already position your Google ad to be seen by people in your area. Now, social media platforms are doing the same. 

Instagram offers the ability to tag your location by adding a button providing directions to your store. Facebook allows you to target a location if you choose their “boost” option. When people search on these or other social platforms, the location tags help them find nearby businesses, like yours.

Takeaway: Consider geo-tagging social posts or tweets to help you get the attention of locals.

Social media is likely to play a strong role in 2020 and beyond. But social winds can change direction and so will the ways we us it. Tracking trends like these can help you react so you can get the most from your social platforms.