2020 is the year of survival, but it's also the year of 'all-things digital.' From online shopping to Augmented Reality (AR), brands are serious about taking their offerings - and conversations - online. Here's why:
- Facebook attracted over 2.6 billion monthly active users in the first quarter of 2020 and generated over $17.65 billion in total revenues in the third quarter of 2019.
"Instagram has amassed over 1 billion monthly active users – with 90% of them following a business on the platform." That's not all. The platform enjoys a median engagement rate of 1.60% across all industries:
- Pinterest boasts of 300 million Global Monthly Active Users - with users having saved 200 billion pins in total!
Clearly, the customers aren't shying away from using social media to entertain themselves and engage with brands in equal measure. So let's look at the top-6 social media trends brands need to watch out for in 2020.
'Nano-Influencer Marketing' will Grow by Leaps & Bounds
"Instagram continues to be the most popular influencer marketing, according to 89% of marketers." Mediakix survey
We bet that every time someone mentions 'Influencer Marketing,' your mind immediately goes to the Jenner and Kardashian family clans. Naturally so.
While the primary aim of engaging with an 'Influencer' is to sell products/services, it is not the only purpose. Self-aware customers of today wish to engage with brands and by extension, with Influencers that bring in substance, authenticity, and trust to the marketing mix. Additionally, brands need to keep 'fake influencers' at bay and ensure that their social media strategy does not turn into a mindless 'likes' game.
Here's the long and short of it: Brands should follow a more 'community-led' approach and engage with nano-influencers (1000-5000 followers) that bring value to the table and embody the brand's tone, voice, and values; instead of opting for the more 'popular' choice (which has long been the norm but may or may not have been effective):
Nano-influencers (like the ones shown above) will often be seen actively communicating with customers, responding to every post, offering more customized and unique content, among other things. This reels in customers in the most organic and sustainable form.
Key takeaway: Contrary to popular opinion, collaborating with micro-influencers drives better customer engagement and has a greater impact on the audience:
While engaging with Influencers to garner a higher number of 'likes' is tempting, a few isolated likes here and there won't really amount to anything from a brand's marketing or financial perspective. Think about it. The trick here is to go for quality rather than quantity.
Augmented Reality (AR) will Become More Mainstream
Ask any social media expert, and they'll tell you how technology adoption with social media platforms is at an all-time high. Whether it's Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality, users crave for an engaging and entirely new experience from time-to-time.
This is probably why Facebook rolled out - Horizon - its very own social virtual reality world where people can play games and explore products/services:
Another feature that demands special attention is the use of AR filters such as Facebook’s Spark AR Studio, which allows anyone to create augmented reality filters and effects for Instagram Stories. This improves visual content and engages users (as we've seen in abundance):
Here's another example of an AR filter for the brand, "Dove":
IKEA, too, allows customers to view how its products will look inside the user's homes, thanks to its AR app.
Key takeaway: Finding innovative and engaging ways to connect with users can prove to be a turning point for big and small companies alike. Research suggests that "Instagram will likely net $33.71 billion in ad revenue during 2020." If there ever was a time to amp up your AR and VR presence, it is now.
Personalized Marketing will Emerge Stronger
"42% of social marketers have developed a strategy for Facebook Live."
Viral content is passé; it's the era of personalized communication. In fact, according to data,"56% of people experienced a boost in engagement because of personalized marketing."
It is fair to assume that customers today expect brands to offer relevant, context-aware communication. It could be in the form of social media ads or simple informative posts; whatever be the case, personalization is key. And one of the biggest drives of on-point personalization is the accurate analysis of customer data brands can tap into.
Let's look at how Expedia is crafting targeted messages for their Facebook users. The brand uses key metrics such as sentiment analysis, demographics, preferences, shopping behavior, etc. to segment their audience, bolster customer loyalty, and strengthen brand affinity. Say a user clicked on the following Expedia's hotel ad:
They'll later be re-targeted with the following ad on Facebook to try and close the purchase:
The company effectively re-targets users based on personalized ads via social media. As a result, your users don't get overwhelmed with copious amounts of information and will truly be interested in engaging with the brand one-on-one.
Chatbots will 'Liven Up' Conversations
A big part of delivering effective customer service is listening to customers, understanding their pain-points, and delivering instant and easy solutions. Enter chatbots.
Chatbots can help brands reach a far more global audience, 24x7x365. Plus, it's a wonderful tool that allows you to place your audience right in the middle of the brand's customer experience. Take Sephora's Facebook Messenger bots, for example, which includes the following:
Users can book an appointment for a makeover at the store, try makeup on virtually, access makeup tips, how-to videos, and reviews, etc., and get redirected to the website/app if they wish to make a purchase.
Chatbots are increasingly becoming more intelligent so that they can multi-task and address customer queries; while your social media agents can focus on more complex tasks. The age of intuitive chatbot social media marketing is upon us.
Customer Service will be Extraordinary
Integrally tied to the previous point, customer service is one of the most used terms in the Marketing world, but it is also wildly misunderstood. Merely 'addressing' FAQ questions is not enough. Brands today need to re-look at their CX strategy from a customer relationship point of view.
The idea is to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with users that are based on mutual trust and loyalty. In short, good CX will no longer make the cut; it has to be extraordinary. Here are a few brands that are acing their CX strategy at every touchpoint of a customer's journey:
Dominos has always been somewhat of a trend-setter when it comes to delivering exceptional CX - from their "Tweet-to-order" strategy to the rise of "DOM The Pizza Bot," the brand has actively sought ways to make their customer's lives easier:
Notice the number of channels and platforms the users can use to place an order with the brand! Truth be told, this brand is customer-convenience at its best.
Handy tip: According to research, "79% of Twitter users like to discover what’s new, making it the top platform for discovery." So if you're looking to branch out and reach a wider, more universal target audience, it's time to start Tweeting!
Online Shopping will be Integrated to Social Platforms
Seamless online shopping and social ads are going to be all the rage. And why not? They're convenient, quick, and profit-making. Confused? Let me explain.
Say you put out a direct ad on one of your social media platforms to talk about a particular feature. Now, you can directly communicate with the customer - without leaving the platform - and generate business in an instant. How so? By leveraging social ads. So if you wish to reach out to more customers at the right place and the right time, social Ads are the way to go. Here are some interesting examples to make a note of:
Facebook's personalized ad experience: Facebook Marketplace is used by 800 million people in 70 different countries every month. If you’re looking to access an ever-increasing pool of quality buyers and target the right users, Facebook Marketplace is the place to be. Plus, you can leverage easy-to-use product categorization and sell products with relative ease. In terms of advertising the products, you can dynamically change the format of your ads (think: carousel, collection, etc.) and integrate relevant call-to-action buttons depending on the type of target audience you wish to cater to:
Then, of course, there's Instagram's "Checkout with Instagram” feature that allows users to shop for products from shopping posts without leaving the app. Basically, Instagram will allow brands to tag their product-related posts/stories with 'Checkout tags' and empower users to engage in a single-click, seamless buying experience:
Handy tip: When brainstorming about the kind of ads you should place across your social networking platforms, here's the golden rule: Your ads should be targeted, dynamic, direct, and compelling.
On a Final Note....
"In terms of social media marketing ad spend, Marketers will end up spending $102 billion by 2020."
With people learning to adapt to the needs of the global pandemic, everything has gone virtual. Your brand's social media strategy should be no different. More and more brands are adopting a user-friendly avatar and communicating with heart and honesty to have more intimate conversations that are centered around their user's core concerns and needs. So try these new-age social media trends and embrace a new virtual reality.