by Audrey Abela, Digital & Client Partner

The yearly predictions are out and going through them all can be mind boggling with all the info that is available out there. So we sifted through the web and here’s where we think social media and digital marketing efforts will go in 2020.

1. Be a Human not a Brand

The predominant feeling for the year to come is that mainstream social media users are becoming less public and more selective. They are constantly looking for a more human connection and personalised experiences online.

Why do we have so many Facebook Groups? Because people want referrals, support, tried and tested products, or a place where they can discuss with like-minded individuals. They don’t want to listen to a sales pitch. They want the real deal. 2019 saw an increased effort by Facebook to push Groups with its users and making it a primary focus. These efforts are likely to increase in 2020.

Whether we like it or not, social media has become another customer service touch point. It has become easier to send a message at any time of the day rather than picking up the phone, and a brand must be (and also perceived to be) receptive to answer that query in a friendly and concise way.

2. Digital Detox

Social media users are doing it and so should you! When social media came about, the reasoning was ‘It’s free! So post as much as you can so we flood our fans’ news feed’. That phrase is no longer valid today and quality has taken over frequency. Less is more in terms of value for the end user but that means you’ll have to work even harder on your social media strategy in order to provide meaningful content to your audiences.

3. A shift in Influencer Marketing

Over the past few years we saw the rise of influencer marketing and for 2020 it’s there to stay. But there’s a catch! With the change of how people view and interact with social media, we’ll probably keep seeing a well curated approach which is less groomed, as a means to become more authentic and relatable. Brands have also started collaborating with micro and nano-influencers. They might not have the big numbers but they are the ones who communicate with their fans as opposed to just being admired by them. Influencers that are more approachable to mainstream society.

4. TikTok! To be or not to be?

The new kid on the block for social media platforms. We saw it rise in 2019, primarily with the youngest bracket of 16-24. When Instagram came along, Millennials started preferring it to Facebook. Today, the youngest generation is doing the same with TikTok.

With the coming of age of Generation Z, Millennials are slowly taking a second stage. Having said that, they are still big spenders and a very important segment for brands. Most likely they will be the second generation to master the platform. Should a brand invest in TikTok now? The audience is still niche and predominantly young but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on Tiktok to see how it evolves and if/where your brand fits in.

5. Video is here to stay and take over

Video took over social media and will continue to do so in many forms, shapes and sizes. The crucial thing here is how best to use it:

  • keep it creative, short and to the point for Facebook posts,
  • use it frequently and ad-hoc on Stories,
  • go long-form for IGTV and YouTube.

6. Social Commerce

Last year we could clearly see the increase in popularity of Shoppable Ads. They have a way of knowing your every need and desire. Even the ones you didn’t know you had! This year? You’re most likely to press the Shop Now button a few more times. If your brand allows it, Shoppable Ads are a sure way to increase your short- term conversions and online sales.

7. Diversification

Younger generations are shifting to other platforms with the older ones staggering to follow suit, and brands need to stay ahead of the game. How? The digital world is a dynamic one – so test, change and adapt as necessary.

8. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is finding its way on our mobile phones and its frequency is most likely going to increase. This might be a tricky one for us islanders with tiny budgets but tech and new solutions are in continuous development so don’t get disheartened on this one.

9. Revisiting Metrics

With Instagram hiding likes from posts and Facebook potentially following suit, vanity metrics might no longer be the numbers to follow. It’s no longer about the number of likes but more about the quality and level of engagement that your content is generating. How many people are talking about you? How many are sharing what you publish or publishing user-generated content that mention your brand in a positive way?

What does this mean for a brand?

With marketing budgets getting tighter year on year, one must make an informed decision before splurging it out.

For the 2020 buyer, how you engage with them is more important than what you’re selling, and getting closer to them is key. Let’s make social media truly social. Create relationships and don’t use social media just as another selling tool. There are other channels for that.

A touch and go approach is no longer an option. A solid social media strategy will need to include meaningful content coupled with advertising to aid discovery, since organic reach for brand is on the decline. One must think long-term and work on building trust with the different audience segments to create a solid online community.

Next step!

Get in touch with us and let’s give your online channels a boost.