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  • 11 Social Media Trends for 2020: Latest Predictions You Should Be Thinking About

11 Social Media Trends for 2020: Latest Predictions You Should Be Thinking About

Category: B2B News

Social media is perhaps the ultimate equalizer among businesses in the modern age. For starters, it serves as a platform through which large enterprises can make themselves more approachable to customers. At the same time, it has leveled the playing field for small businesses when it comes to marketing. This is why it pays to have access to the latest social media trends.

By having this information at your fingertips, it is easier for you to understand the pulse of the consumers as well as to adapt to their changing demands. Moreover, knowledge of these trends allows you to determine exactly what you can do to maximize your use of social media and social media management software for your business.

So, to help you out, we’ll be detailing the 7 critical social media trends that are reshaping how businesses operate today. We’ve also included some tips on how you can take advantage of each trend.

social media trends for business

Social media has deeply embedded itself into our culture. In fact, a study by The Manifest revealed that 86% of the U.S. population uses social media daily.

This just goes to show that having a solid social media presence is increasingly important for businesses. After all, with 4.388 billion active social media users across the globe, it makes sense for companies to leverage social networking platforms to tap their target audience.

However, taking advantage of social media is not easy. Simply creating a Facebook page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account doesn’t mean customers will come flocking to you instantly. Moreover, these platforms and how they are used are continually evolving, making it difficult for businesses to keep up.

As you’ll see on the chart, businesses face plenty of social media challenges. Sometimes, it involves factors you can’t control such as the decline in organic reach as well as the frequent changes to Facebook’s algorithms. Meanwhile, there are also challenges that you can easily address such as the need to improve video creation skills or content personalization.

The 7 Biggest Social Media Challenges for 2019

The decline in organic reach

%

The volatility of Facebook’s algorithm

%

Lack of video creation skills

%

The need to personalize content

%

Measuring social media ROI

%

Integrating social media across the enterprise

%

Increased competition with digital-first brands

%

Source: Hootsuite Social Media Trends 2019

Designed by

Furthermore, businesses can opt to take a proactive approach to curate social media accounts by relying on social media management systems. These will allow you to intelligently plan and automate your posting efforts. Moreover, these will help you map out what kind of content you should publish.

In addition, you should keep yourself updated on what’s new in the industry to know how you can wield these platforms to your advantage. So, without further ado, here are the most critical social media trends of today:

1. The Rise of Social Selling

Social media is used by practically everybody, everywhere. This makes it a prime spot for businesses to look for leads. It’s no wonder why the majority of top sales representatives rely on these platforms for their strategies.

With this, you can say goodbye to cold calling random contacts and cookie-cutter processes. It allows you to leverage social insights and online intelligence so you can zero in on strong leads before you even interact with them. What’s more, you can develop a two-way street between sales reps and consumers through social media.

According to some studies, many businesses also leverage social selling for lead development, account research, and call preparation. However, executing this can be quite tricky if you don’t have the right tools.

To start, you should use your sales tools in conjunction with social media management software features. This will allow you to formulate sales workflows in line with your social media efforts. By doing so, it is much more effortless to gather data on your prospects as well as tap them when need be.

Social Selling Statistics to Consider:

  • 90% of top sales representatives leverage social media as part of their strategies. LinkedIn State of Sales Report, 2016)
  • Social selling tools are often used for lead development (68.9%), account research (64.9%), and call preparation (60.3%). Moreover, some sales reps use these for stakeholder research (58.6%), awareness building (50.3%), social brand building (41.4%), content creation (24.5%), and competitive analysis (16.9%). (CSO Insights Sales Enablement Optimization Study, 2016)
  • 40% of businesses have adopted or are planning to adopt social selling strategies. (Hootsuite Social Media Trends Report, 2019)

Most Common Uses of Social Selling Tools

Lead development

Account research

Call preparation

Stakeholder research

Awareness building

Social brand building

Content creation

Competitive analysis

Source: 2016 CSO Insights Sales Enablement Optimization Study

Designed by

2. Reaching Shoppers through Influencers

2018 was a pivotal year for social media. Facebook was scrutinized for its data practices due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Meanwhile, Twitter suspended over 70 million accounts due to bots and trolls that were shown to influence the previous US presidential election. As a result, people have come to be more skeptical of social media. In fact, recent studies show that 95% of internet users don’t trust social media.

In addition to these issues, many shoppers nowadays don’t respond well to impersonal and overtly promotional advertising campaigns. Simply put, celebrity endorsements, TV ads, and aggressive sales pitches have lost their appeal.

Hence, to cope in this era of social media distrust, businesses had to find another way to tap into their audience. One such solution that is growing in popularity today is influencer marketing.

Social media influencers, particularly micro-influencers, have the uncanny ability to interact with shoppers on a more personal level. This can be attributed to the fact that they appear more approachable and authentic compared to prominent figures.

Recent studies even show that teenagers can relate more to YouTube creators than celebrities. In a similar light, a good chunk of internet users relies heavily on influencer recommendations for their purchases. That said, it’s easy to see how lucrative these influencer partnerships can be.

As we move further into 2019, we can expect more brands to leverage this type of strategy for their campaigns to expand their customer bases and yield more targeted leads.

Social Media Influencer Statistics to Consider:

  • Influencer marketing has a return on investment of $6.50 for every dollar spent. (Tomoson)
  • 70% of teenagers say they can relate more to YouTube creators than celebrities. (Google, 2016)
  • 49% of internet users rely on influencer recommendations they see on Twitter. (Twitter, 2016)

YouTuber PewDiePie featured Maingear, an American computer manufacturer on his channel after they sent him a package.

3. Leveraging User-Generated Content

Responding to comments on your business’ social media account is a great way to engage potential clients. However, this isn’t enough to gain their trust. If you truly want to capture the attention of your target audience and convert them, user-generated content (UGC) is the way to go.

Just as consumers trust influencers more than celebrities, there’s a higher chance that online shoppers will listen to fellow consumers than pay attention to your promotional content. They trust that other consumers will be truthful about whether or not a particular product or service is worth their money. So, by showing them what your existing customers have to say about your brand, you’ll be able to capture the attention of prospects and improve the odds of converting new leads.

However, while social media is a treasure trove of UGC, finding content about your company won’t be easy. After all, not all shoppers post about their purchases. So, you should encourage your customers to share their experience with your brand. You can even ask them to use your official hashtag so you can find them easier on social media. This way, you can react to their post and even share their posts through your Instagram and Snapchat stories or Facebook Messenger “My Day” to show your followers.

As a plus, asking customers to post about your brand will expose your company to the social media followers of your customers. Thus, expanding your reach further.

Social Media User-Generated Content (UGC) Statistics to Consider:

  • 2/3 of online shoppers trust the opinions of fellow customers that are posted online. (Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 2015)
  • 85% of consumers respond better to visual UGC compared to brand-provided photos and videos. (Business Wire)
  • Majority of customers (71%) post about brands on social media to inform fellow consumers about their experience with the company. (CrowdTap)
  • The types of digital content that social media users would most likely share are photos (78%) and simple status updates (64%). They are also fine with posting news articles (45%), product recommendations (44%), status updates on personal opinion (41%), video clips (32%), and GIFs (20%). (CrowdTap)

Beauty brand Glossier leverages user-generated content by sharing the photos they were tagged in.

4. Live Streaming for Customer Engagement

Many businesses have jumped to live streaming to engage with their clients and for good reason.

For starters, live streaming is a fast and accessible way to provide existing and potential customers with information on what your brand has to offer. More importantly, many consumers prefer live videos over written content as it gives them a raw and unfiltered look of a particular brand in real-time.

Just think of it this way–live streaming is a lot like video chatting. It allows your followers to react as you share your content. This allows you to foster a more intimate relationship with your consumers.

Say, for example, you sell soaps from home. You can use live streaming to give them a sneak peek as to how you make your bath bombs, handmade soaps, and other products.

Perhaps you own a buffet restaurant. In this case, you can live stream your menu for the day. This way, your customers know exactly what to expect when they visit you on the same day. It might even persuade some customers to change their dinner plans if they see something they like on your live stream.

The point here is, through live stream, you can connect with your audience instead of simply providing them with information about your brand. It also allows you to create a sense of community among clients, thereby, strengthening customer loyalty.

shoppers prefer watching live videos

Live Streaming Statistics to Consider:

  • Live streaming is expected to make up 82% of the total internet traffic before the end of 2020. (GoGlobe, 2017)
  • 80% of shoppers prefer watching live videos than reading blogs from a brand. (Livestream, 2017)
  • Instagram videos can yield roughly 21.2% more customer interactions compared to images. (Quintly)

5. Utilizing Ephemeral Content

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is real. What’s more, your business can take advantage of it through ephemeral content.

If you don’t know what ephemeral content is, it simply refers to social media posts that are only accessible for a short period of time. Some examples of these are the Facebook My Days and Instagram Stories we were talking about earlier.

A social media trends research shows that millions of social media users publish all sorts of photos, videos, and animated posts through this format. One reason for this is that it allows them to provide short bursts of updates minus the risk of annoying their followers by flooding their feeds.

However, for businesses, there’s a more important perk that it has to offer. Ephemeral content prompts your followers to check what you post instantly because it’s not available for long. Consequently, these kinds of content have the power to elicit immediate responses from your leads. Studies even show that 20% of Stories can result in a direct interaction with followers.

Say, for example, you have an ongoing sale. If you post the available products on ephemeral slideshows instead of through the feed, there’s a higher chance that they would inquire about it or even purchase it within the day.

In addition, using ephemeral content allows you to test out how your followers react to different types of media. This will help you get a pulse as to what kinds of posts they are most likely to look at so you can produce more of the same type of content later on.

Ephemeral Content Statistics to Consider:

  • 20% of stories result in a direct interaction with the user. (99Firms, 2018)
  • 4 out of 5 major companies are using the ‘Stories’ format for marketing. (Block Party, 2018)
  • 64% of brands have integrated or are planning to integrate Instagram Stories as part of their social media strategy. (Hootsuite Social Trends Survey, 2019)
  • There are plenty of social media users who upload ephemeral content every day. For example, 450 million people use WhatsApp stories on a daily basis. Similarly, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook stories are used daily by 300 million, 191 million, and 150 million people respectively. (Social Media Today, 2019)

Converse used Instagram stories to promote the launch of their newest line of sneakers.

6. Strategic Social Media Posting

People have short attention spans. In fact, we can lose focus after 8 seconds. That said, if you want to retain the attention of your social media followers, you have to give them a variety of content that they’d actually enjoy seeing.

One of the tricks that companies use to ensure this is the 5:3:2 rule. In a nutshell, this means that for every 10 posts you publish, 5 should come from other sources, 3 should be official posts related to your brand, and 2 should be more personal and fun. With this, you can make sure that you are curating a balanced social media feed that your followers won’t grow tired of.

In addition to this rule, you should also make it a point to understand what type of content is best for a given platform. This allows you to maximize each social media site accordingly. For example, if you use Instagram, you should focus on creating beautiful photos and carefully planned photo grids. Meanwhile, if you’re using Facebook, you might want to aim for a more multimedia approach.

Lastly, you might want to consider collaborating with like-minded brands on social media. Nowadays, it’s common for companies to post a photo of their products alongside another company’s offerings. This allows them to give their followers an idea of what lifestyle they’re trying to sell.

To help you improve how you manage your social media posts, we highly recommend that you try using content management systems. These should allow you to organize all of your social media assets in one place as well as map out and schedule your posts for a more strategic approach to social media management.

Social Media Content Statistics to Consider:

  • 59% of shoppers want to see posts that will educate them. (Sprout Social Index, 2018)
  • 30% of consumers want content with links to more information while 18% want to see more images or some form of graphic. There’s also 17% who prefer seeing videos, 11% who like seeing text, or 7% edited photos. (Sprout Social Index, 2018)

Preferred Social Media Content of Consumers

Links to more information

%

Educational images and infographics

%

Videos

%

Text

%

Edited Photos

%

Source: 2018 Sprout Social Index

Designed by

7. Growing Popularity of Social Shopping

eCommerce is perhaps one of the biggest things to have happened to retail in the 21st century. However, with the advent of social media and the prevalence of the “on-demand culture,” social commerce is set to make bigger waves in the coming years.

According to IBM, 75% of modern shoppers say that their buying process often involves social media. It’s where they first encounter certain brands and it’s where they start inquiring about particular products and services. That said, it makes sense that most social media users now want to have the option to purchase directly from their favorite social networking platforms.

In China, most Gen Zers now buy directly from retailers on social media. Meanwhile, millions of people across the world use Facebook Marketplace to sell all sorts of products. Consequently, an increasing number of businesses nowadays are starting to implement social commerce by rolling out shoppable galleries on their social media pages.

Now, you might be thinking, “why should I go through the trouble of creating a separate social commerce page if I can just provide a link to my existing eCommerce page?” The simplest answer to that would be that social shopping accelerates the buying process. It allows consumers to shop without having to be redirected to a separate website. Thus, you can ensure faster conversions.

So, even if implementing social commerce will require you to make several adjustments to your current workflows, you should know that it’s well worth it in the long run.

Social Commerce Statistics to Consider:

  • 75% of modern shoppers say that their buying process often involves social media. (IBM)
  • 30% of online consumers say they are more likely to shop on social media networks such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter. (BigCommerce)
  • In China, 70% of Gen Zers are opting to buy directly from social media platforms. (Hootsuite Social Trends Survey, 2019)
  • Facebook Marketplace is currently being used by over 800 million people across 70 countries. (CNET, 2018)
  • The percentage of U.S. retailers utilizing social media for eCommerce increased from 17% in 2017 to 33% in 2018. (eMarketer)
  • 17% of retailers have implemented or are planning to implement shoppable galleries over the course of this year. (Hootsuite Social Trends Survey, 2019)
  • The social media platforms with the highest average order values are Instagram ($65), Facebook ($55), and Pinterest ($50). These are followed by Twitter ($46.29), Google+ ($40), YouTube ($37.63), and LinkedIn ($44.2). (Socialnomics)

Millions of social media users across the globe utilize Facebook Marketplace to sell all kinds of products.

8. Social Ads for Lead Generation

Over the years, ads have had a bad reputation. There’s either too much of them or they’re too intrusive.

However, it seems that this isn’t the case for social media. In fact, statistics show that millennials believe social ads are becoming more and more important. This is because many social networks often leverage user information such as browsing habits so that they can provide relevant advertisements.

In addition, another reason why you should start investing in social advertising is that social platforms are changing their algorithms. They now prioritize posts from family and friends rather than posts from brands. This has resulted in a decline in organic reach on social media for companies. Thus, you’ll have no choice but to pay for social ads if you want your brand to be noticed.

Looking on the bright side, leveraging social media ads allows businesses tap into more targeted customer pools. This means higher quality leads. So, it comes as no surprise that many companies nowadays are paying for ads on Facebook, Twitter, and other prominent social media networks.

Social Advertising Statistics to Consider:

  • More than half of the millennials (57%) today believe that ads are becoming important. (State of Digital Advertising, 2018)
  • 83% of companies are paying for Facebook ads. (Sprout Social Index, 2018)
  • 70% of businesses say that Facebook ads are one of the most useful tools for achieving sales goals. (Sprout Social Index, 2018)
  • Twitter earned $665 million in revenue in 2018. $575 million of this comes from ads. (Martech, 2018)
  • 64% of marketers say the most challenging social media problem today is the decline in organic reach. (Hootsuite Social Media Trends, 2019)

Here’s an example of a sponsored ad from New York Times on Facebook.

9. 1:1 Social Media Experiences

A study by Stackla revealed that 90% of online shoppers say authenticity is important for brands. They want brands that have passion for their craft and have a genuine concern for their customers. Suffice it to say, online shoppers want to do business with brands who can provide them with high-quality products and great customer service.

Because of this shift in customer expectations, we will notice that the dynamic between companies and customers have also changed. While brands still roll out 1:many interactions through their public posts, many companies are now focusing more on 1:1 social media experiences through messaging apps.

This is because many shoppers expect brands to respond to them on all possible online channels from comments to private messages. Moreover, they feel more comfortable purchasing from businesses who offer a more hands-on approach when it comes to customer service and sales.

As a result, almost half of modern businesses now leverage instant messaging for their social media campaigns. If you aren’t doing this yet, a good place to start would be by simply enabling the messenger feature for your Facebook page or by adding a messaging plugin to your website.

shoppers want instant messaging

Social Media Messaging Statistics to Consider:

  • 46% of businesses use messaging apps for their social media campaigns. (Hootsuite Social Trends Survey, 2019)
  • 9 out of 10 shoppers want to option to communicate with businesses through instant messaging. (Global Mobile Messaging Consumer Report, 2016)
  • 69% of shoppers say that interacting with a company through messaging apps make them feel more at ease with the brand. (Facebook, 2018)

10. Mobile-Optimized Content

Phones are no longer just for calling and texting. Nowadays, these devices are powerful enough to be used as mini computers where you can access documents, browse the web, and play games. Moreover, individuals often turn to their smartphones instead of their desktops when they want to check their social media accounts.

With that said, companies should pay more attention to the format of their social media marketing content. After all, posts that are published for desktops don’t always fit on smartphone screens.

Don’t let your good social media content go to waste by making them as portable as possible. For example, post photos with dimensions that are optimized for phones. Furthermore, you can opt to produce vertical videos instead of horizontal ones for easier viewing on mobile devices. Lastly, keep captions to multimedia posts short and sweet so that both the photo/video and the caption is seen on the screen at the same time.

By doing these, you can capture the attention of mobile social media users as well as ensure that they’ll have a great time browsing through your page.

Mobile Social Media Statistics to Consider:

  • Social media visits via smartphone increased by up to 21% in the US while desktop and tablet visits declined by 21% and 31% respectively. (State of Digital Advertising. 2018)
  • The mobile social media population as of July 2019 is 3.5 billion. (Statista, 2019)
  • 91% of social media users access their favorite platforms via their mobile phones. (Digital in 2017 Global Overview)
  • 51% of smartphone users check their phones a few times in an hour. 23% report they only check a few times in a day while 22% say they check their phone every few minutes. (BankMyCell), 2019)

Phone Usage in 2019

How often do phone owners check their device?

51%

A few times in an hour

23%

A few times in a day

22%

Every few minutes

Source: BankMyCell

Designed by

11. Using Exclusivity to Drive Sales

The power of the velvet rope is something that should never be underestimated. After all, the allure of exclusivity has quite an impact on consumers. People simply want what they can’t have.

As a result, many businesses use scarcity marketing to drive sales. In the case of social media, the best way to do this is by setting up secret pages on Facebook. These are social media pages that are by-invitation only.

You can set certain criteria that will get a particular shopper an invite to your secret group. It could be the number of purchases they made in a year or the amount of money they spent on your products. This way, customers will have an incentive to buy more from your company.

The point here is you should invite your most loyal customers to have access to these groups. Here, they can be notified of exclusive discounts and deals. Moreover, companies can use this to give advanced announcements on product launches or even sales. This allows you to create a more intimate relationship between your brand and your frequent customers. What’s more is by making filtering the people you add to your secret community, you can drive better engagement.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable with making your pages completely exclusive, you can always opt for closed groups. With these, you can balance exclusivity and accessibility for your clients.

Facebook Page Statistics to Consider:

  • 40% of social media marketers say that private groups will grow in importance in the coming years. (Sprout Social Index, 2019)
  • Facebook Pages with a smaller number of followers have higher engagement rates. (Social Pilot)

American exercise equipment brand Peloton has an exclusive Facebook group for official members of their community.

Make the Most Out of Social Media

Social media is undoubtedly a tool that businesses can’t afford not to use. It delivers invaluable benefits ranging from expanding customer bases to improving overall company reputation. However, as you can see from the trends we’ve discussed, there is an art and a science to using these social networking platforms for business.

In the following months, we can expect businesses to be more strategic with their use of social media. Posts will be published with intent and social media pages will be carefully curated. Moreover, businesses will be more proactive in building relationships with their customers through social media.

So, if you want to remain competitive in whatever industry you might be in, now is the time to start investing in social media management. By doing so, you can break down the barriers between you and your customers. In addition, it will be easier to draw in leads and create a solid reputation for your company.

To sum up, we hope that this post has helped you stay in-the-know about what are the latest social media trends of today. For more data on the industry, we suggest you check out our compilation of social media statistics. This should give you more in-depth insights as to where the industry is headed.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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