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It’s easy for platforms like HootSuite and other syndication sites to predict that social media will still be relevant in 2020, because, of course, their business model depends on that being the case. But how relevant will social media marketing really be to your strategy next year? And what trends do you need to get to grips with to make sure you use it to your company’s fullest benefit? Our “head mechanic” Paul Spinak gives his take on the answers.
Social media will still be relevant for companies in 2020, but users are becoming more discerning. Facebook and Instagram are still seeing double digit growth in Asia, but in North America their influence is declining. I expect that in the near future companies will need to be more selective about supporting platforms that reach their target audiences.
B2C companies, for example, might still get good results from Instagram and Snapchat, but B2B audiences will need to have a strong presence on LinkedIn for the purpose of building brand narrative. Across the board, social marketers will have to promote more authentic customer engagement with their followers, and social listening will increasingly be a good way to track progress.
Trends to Take Note Of
1. The Magic of Mobile
Many of the current trends will likely continue, such as the popularity of influencer marketing and the need for a quality website that can be viewed on multiple devices. Research by The Economist Intelligence Unit shows by 2020, almost 60% of users will consider mobile to be the top priority marketing channel.
That means not only should you focus your social media marketing efforts on mobile-friendly platforms (which, let’s face it, most of them already are) but it’s VITAL to ensure any links you share perform well on mobile devices. Sending followers to a landing page that misbehaves on mobile isn’t going to win you any awards—or even new customers.
2. The Location Litany is True
Location is once again in the spotlight as brands gain more followers and more consumers reach out for information on social media. Since marketing is all about making individual consumers feel heard and catered to, companies with branches in various locations will find themselves needing to create local business pages for each branch or region they serve.
This will allow them to communicate specifics to distinctive audiences, while cementing their local presence will maximize the reach of their messages. Starbucks, for example, creates local pages on Instagram for every country they serve, to make communicating with customers smoother and drive in-store traffic through on-page CTAs.
To get the full benefit of this social media marketing strategy, you can use your company’s pages to publish location-based images, user-generated photos, and promote events and deals happening in the area. You can also source insights about the community and the surrounding area to help you make better marketing decisions for the company.
3. Offer More Ways to Order
By 2020, more than 5 billion people are expected to use social media platforms. That’s approximately two-thirds of the world’s population. Whether your company sells locally or globally, it’s important to offer your customers what they want. Increasingly, that includes more ways to order or buy. Ever since Facebook first offered an online shop option that users could buy from without leaving the platform to go to potentially dodgy sites, usage of this options has been growing. Not only can consumers now purchase through Instagram’s stories without leaving the app, but they can access customer service via most of the big social media sites.
In 2020, I believe consumers will continue to use social media as a way to engage with friends and family, and also to purchase items they see in their feed. It’s a perfect time to develop a social media marketing strategy, and to make sure your website is fully responsive and optimized to work with it.