8 Actionable Predictions for the Future of Social Media

Brittany Chaffee

18 December 2019
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patrick-tomasso-KGcLJwIYiac-unsplashPhoto by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Like fine wine, social media only gets better with age.

Well, kind of.

What we’re saying is, social media is changing. Especially as we look toward the new decade and the fast-moving evolution of conversations online as we know them.

So, how different will the social landscape look in the future? When social media began in (believe it or not) 1997, communication was quite different. This was the true beginning of social sites. From 1997 to 2001, a site called “Six Degrees” had 1 million members who created profiles and “friend-ed” each other. That’s right, Facebook! You’re not the OG!

Anyway. We digress.

Back then, social media had the hand in controlling how things worked. Social media was new, so it could direct how users communicated on its platforms. The difference now? The users have all the control. Social media must follow along with their minds, their desires,  and their behaviors.

PSA: If you’re intrigued by the history of social media, we love the infographic below.

History-of-Social-Media-infographic

Photo credit: www.redpill.co

So, how will you modify your social media strategy to fit the new trends of 2020? We’re hoping this list will help. Hurry! Before a Gen Z-er grabs your office chair right from under you (psst...we're only kidding).

1. Branded Videos Will be Created by the User

According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of users use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat to watch and engage with brand’s videos each month. This being said, it’s almost a given that social media videos will evolve even more in 2020, especially with the addition of TikTok. Which brings us to our second point of this prediction. TikTok builds a platform for users to art direct their own videos. If brands are smart, they will add user-generated content to their strategy in 2020.

How to integrate in strategy: Hold a video contest on your social channels and encourage users to create videos capturing your brand experience. Turn this into a YouTube channel or an Instagram TV feature.

2. VR & AR Become King

As we all know, technology is evolving. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are two key elements that will change how social media works as well. According to GlobalWebIndex, 22% of Gen Z is using geofilters each month, so it makes sense that this trend will grow. Soon, you’ll be able to shop on sites that will allow you to try on virtual clothing. And we can’t ignore that.

How to integrate in strategy: Understand how best the audience can benefit from a VR or AR experiences and how best you can showcase your product through their lens. A great way to integrate VR or AR is through event activation.

3. Don’t Forget about Live Content

Live content will dominate in 2020. According to SocialMediaToday, viewing hours of live content video rose 65% from 2017 to 2018. And live streaming for the Super Bowl was up 19% in 2019.

How to integrate in strategy: Live video should be a core portion of any content strategy. Use it for live chats on Facebook (encourage users to react to videos in real-time). Live video can also be a great tool for social listening.

4. Less Personal, More Memes

Social media is slowly evolving OUT of the overshare movement. People are sharing less and less personal information and more engaging videos and funny memes. Brands take note! Teens, specifically, are more eager to send video and image snippets of themselves rather than typing out a long text message or email.

How to integrate in strategy: Listen to your audience. What are they sharing? How do they like to talk to one another? Use that to your advantage and speak to them they way they like to be spoken to. The goal here is to grow a customer community that showcases the type of content they crave.

5. Social Media, Meet Self Care

Instagram and Facebook are both getting rid of “likes” and Twitter is expected to do the same. Additional features to fight bullying and social media addiction are also being put into the works, making social a less harmful place to virtually live.

How to integrate in strategy: When brands are creating content, stay tuned to self-care rituals and positive messaging. Host a self-care live chat that lets the audience give their advice on the subject, for example.

6. Increased Social Listening

It’s time to get to know the customers online. According to SocialMediaToday, 90% of social media users try to reach out to brands and retailers on social media. Brands can benefit from listening to their customers to improve products and service, attract new customers, and provide better customer service.

How to integrate in strategy: Write monthly reports about what customers are saying about your brand on social media.

7. Perfection Isn’t Real

We’re seeing a swing in the social pendulum regarding super-curated content. You know what we're talking about: the Instagram feeds that look flawless while influencers pose and operate like little virtual robots. Life isn’t that perfect. And we know that. Inspired by some Gen Z behavior, we’re seeing social media take a swing the other way. People want to be real. Less curated feeds, honest conversations, and vulnerable relatability are on the up-and-up.

How to integrate in strategy: Build a portion of your marketing strategy around the real people/employee stories that make your brand thrive.

8. The Trust is all in the Search Engine

According to Malwarebytes Labs, 95% of people don’t trust social media. However, only 34% don’t trust search engines. Take note! It may be key to include social media strategies for search engines in your future.

How to integrate in strategy: Understand your keywords and implement them in blog and website content.

Helpful? Which actionable suggestion will you incorporate into your actions for 2020? Plan now for a successful tomorrow. 

Have questions about what we do at STAR? Want to talk experiential marketing? We're happy to chat. Contact us here.

Brittany Chaffee

Brittany Chaffee is an avid storyteller, professional empath, and author. As the Marketing Manger at STAR, she loves to strategize and create content for brands that is simple yet memorable.

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