[Originally published in late 2019, we continue to make updates to this advice.]
As soon as you think you’ve got this social media marketing thing down, something happens. It’s always changing. How are you supposed to keep up?
For starters, let’s talk about what social media marketing will look like in the coming year.
Then you can answer the question about how you can best leverage social media for your marketing strategy.
Before we get started, get into the always-be-testing mindset. You don’t necessarily have to be on every social media platform. But you should test them and see if it’s where your audience is and if it can help attract new customers.
Ready to dive into how you can create a winning social media strategy for your business?
Worry Less About Likes and Focus on Traffic
Currently, Instagram is testing how removing likes from the public count affects the user experience.
The company says this is an effort to promote mental health. Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri says, “The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them.”
Removing likes should also help eliminate fraud and fake followers— people who pay for likes.
According to a study in 2018 from influencer marketing platform HYPR, “Some 64% of influencers admitted to buying likes.”
Plus, getting rid of public likes puts a heavier emphasis on quality rather than quantity and should encourage brands and users to focus on creating attention-grabbing content that will drive action that goes beyond a double tap.
All of this doesn’t mean influencer marketing is going away. In fact, as you’ll read below, it’s here to stay.
What this does mean though, is that you’ll want to worry less about the vanity metrics and focus more on action oriented results, such as clicks, shares, and saves.
Are social media users coming to your website?
Do they convert into leads and even customers?
If you have a ton of likes but no website views and no view-to-lead conversion, is social media marketing even working?
Investigate Influencer Marketing
From Instagram to Twitter to LinkedIn and beyond, influencers are everywhere. So are you thinking about the influencers in your niche and how to work with them? You should.
And after the rundown above on likes, you’ll be glad to know it’s not all about that heart or thumbs up.
According to a recent GlobalWebIndex study that was conducted in August of 2019, users who follow social influencers are less concerned with an Influencer’s amount of “likes” and care more about the type of content they share.
With that said, “The influencer market has ballooned in recent years and is anticipated to grow to a $6.5 billion industry by 2020,” according to The Guardian.
Test Paid Ads in Social
Whether it’s for the analytics or because you need to pay for greater reach, social media advertising could be part of your winning marketing strategy next year.
In 2020, marketers will have less control of their PPC campaigns and there will be a heavier emphasis on automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
As automation and AI continue to advance, this will require less monitoring in 2020.
Managing Partner of Moving Traffic Media, Jon Clark, expects the trend of decreased control to continue as Google shifts toward automation. He predicts that we may even see manual bidding removed entirely.
Google ads launched Responsive Search Ads in 2019. These ads automatically test up to 15 different headlines and four descriptions you create. Then Google uses AI to put together a combination of these titles/descriptions specific to the user by search term and target demographic. This tool could help improve the ad group's performance, potentially producing more clicks and conversions than your existing text ads.
Responsive search ads are expected to continue trending in 2020 as it continues to evolve, advance, and become even more intuitive.
Next, remarketing ads will remain an effective PPC strategy, especially for ecommerce companies. This is where users who visited and/or took a specific action on a site are targeted with ads from that same company. Remarketing ads have proved to be very effective and is something we will continue to see in 2020.
Finally, watch for Amazon’s emergence into paid advertising. While Google and Facebook are still ahead in the paid advertising game, Amazon is now the third-largest and fastest-growing advertiser.
Amazon ads are displayed on and off of Amazon, which has been extremely beneficial for online retailers.
Another reason this PPC platform has been growing exponentially is because of buyer intent. This is the biggest advantage they have over Facebook and Google.
Facebook and Google casts a larger net as far as audiences go but users aren’t typically looking to buy something on those platforms, as opposed to Amazon, which is solely perceived as a buying platform.
Better Understand Privacy and Security Concerns
As users become more aware of how their data is being used, privacy becomes more of a concern in 2020. From security breaches to phones listening to our conversations to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, we’re all much more aware of how our data is getting diced up and passed around.
As a result, we will see an increase in the use of “dark social.” This is where users communicate and share privately, such as messaging and email.
Think about this: 84% of consumers’ outbound sharing from websites now occurs privately through dark social channels and we’re expecting to see this increase in the next few years.
So understanding and respecting privacy should be a major part of your social media marketing strategy. And as you can see, focusing on the private social conversation of email could bring in a fresh move for you marketing.
Explore Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups fall into the gray area between public and private. And they’re pretty powerful.
In 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook Groups will become Facebook’s new future. Holding true to his promise, the Facebook app offers Groups in the bottom navigation and promotes Group posts in your feed often.
The continuous growth of Facebook Groups will put an emphasis on user privacy and allow for more personalized messaging and community building for brands.
You can start a Group for you business, join Groups related to your niche and find new ways to tap into these communities.
Become a Video Ninja
According to social report, “People look at videos 5 times longer on Facebook and Instagram than static content like text and images.”
Are you creating videos for your potential customers to consume?
The number of brands using video in their marketing strategy has drastically increased over the past few years and will continue to do so in 2020. It’s time to join the party.
Add into that mix live video, and you have the chance to reach tons of people with your message. In fact, “By 2020, 75% of mobile traffic will be video,” according to a Cisco study.
Many people think videos have to be polished, there has to be a script, it needs to be perfectly edited and all that. Not the case.
Live videos help humanize the brand by showing real-time, raw footage.
One platform you might want to investigate is TikTok. There are 500 million worldwide active TikTok users and they’re very engaged.
If the 20-year-old demographic is your jam, it’s important to note that 41% of users are between 18-24 years old.
So while this might not be the best tool for B2B companies, TikTok could be beneficial for B2C companies with younger audiences.
How Do You Prepare for Video Marketing?
Not everyone is as comfortable on camera as our very own George B. Thomas.
And that’s okay. But you don’t have to be afraid to go on camera.
Want to test it out? Go live when you’re attending an event or have exciting news to share. Then ask people you trust who will be honest but kind to give you feedback. Ask others who create videos you love how they got to be so good.
Then just keep going!
Whether you hire someone in-house, outsource it or do it yourself, there’s so much you can do with video! If you’re not sure where to start or what types of videos you should create, we recommend starting with an “about us, meet our team, FAQs, how to’s and tutorials, and testimonials.” These are your video essentials for prime optimization.
Augment Your Reality
Augmented reality (AR) amplifies our experiences by taking the real world and projecting virtual, computer-generated augmentations to it.
You might be wondering what the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is:
Unlike virtual realities, with augmented realities, you’re only augmenting one factor of reality - not creating an entire landscape.
Snapchat is currently leading the platform for AR. More than 400,000 AR Lenses have already been created with a total of 15 billion plays.
While Snapchat might not be the right platform for your business, in 2020 you can bet on other platforms hopping on the AR bandwagon. In fact, other platforms are already testing AR:
- Amazon: Testing to help consumers virtually try on clothes
- Instagram: Currently testing an on-platform AR feature with select advertisers
In this example, Instagram is testing a virtual try on for Rayban sunglasses.
How can you use augmented reality?
- Online shopping
- Live events
- Brand awareness
- Customer delight
While this is so new and upcoming, the best thing we can do now is to continue to learn and see how this evolves and find ways to incorporate AR into our marketing strategies.
For businesses with younger target audiences, test out Snapchat’s AR and possibly create your own lense and experiences as it fits.
Ecommerce businesses especially should stay in the loop and find ways to use AR to improve customer experience.
Two Quick Wins for Social Media Marketing
This is a LOT to take in. It can be overwhelming. And there’s more we covered in our Social Media Marketing in 2020 webinar. Take a breath and don’t get frustrated. Start small.
First: Find three old videos on YouTube and optimize them. Include relevant keywords in the title and add relevant hashtags and video tags. Also, add a link to the beginning of your description that links to a relevant page on your website.
Second: Conduct a mobile audit of your website. Since this is the default experience for users, it’s crucial to make sure your website functions seamlessly across platforms.
Finally, download our social media calendar template. It’s right here for download, no strings attached.
Want to dive deeper? Download our newly updated Social Media for Business Ebook. Let’s grow better together!