Social media has changed a lot since its inception, but 2020 has already proven to be a watershed year in its history. This change was not so much because of evolving technologies or new platforms, but rather how we, the users, altered our perspectives and adapted our use of social media to take on real life challenges. Many of these changes in attitude and purpose appear to be lasting and should be taken seriously by anyone marketing a business in the coming years.
Below are what we at Blink;Tech perceive to be the Top 5 biggest changes to the social media landscape in 2020:
1. Internet Marketing in 2020 was defined by the Pandemic
During this unprecedented time, the internet not only kept us informed and connected, but it also helped keep commerce going even when the greater public was sheltering in place. Brick-and-mortar businesses who had not taken internet marketing or ecommerce seriously before were put into a sink or swim situation where social media became a lifeline to their customer base. Social business pages became a place where customers could evaluate a business’s pandemic precautions and procedures, and businesses could safely interact with customers to more safely assist them through the sales cycle.
These businesses learned to leverage social media to both inform and interact with their customer base, and found social media to be the perfect vehicle for personalized service in a time when face-to-face contact was deeply challenged.
2. Messaging Emerges as a Mainstream Marketing Strategy
As mentioned above, social media became a great way for more personalized contact between a business and its patrons, and the main vehicle for this was private messaging. Whether we are talking about social media private messaging (PM) or mobile text (SMS) messaging, direct communication with customers and clients, usually via a mobile device, has become a mainstream marketing strategy.
What’s important here is not so much the specific platform or technological advancements, but that private messaging has become accepted and even appreciated by consumers who are needing no-contact interactions with businesses. Where businesses reaching out to customers in 2019 might have seemed intrusive, it is now an acceptable form of business communication and helps build trust.
3. Smaller, Interest Driven Social Platforms Gain Steam
No, Facebook isn’t dying or going anywhere. That being said, however, social users are dividing up their time more and more between several different platforms. The reason for this in 2020 is twofold:
The first being that people had much more free time on their hands, yet didn’t leave the house much due to sheltering in place. Exploring the internet became a major pastime again and the increased view times meant a lot of smaller social platforms were discovered and taken for a spin.
The second reason is politics. In a deeply divided political landscape, many users went exploring for new alternatives in social media where they could be with more like-minded people. The most notable example here is Parler.
The upside to this movement toward niche platforms is that businesses and marketers will find new opportunities in niche marketing and demographic targeting, but a close eye on both marketing budget and web analytics will be vital for success when advertising on these smaller, emerging social platforms.
4. The Rise of Social Shopping
Anyone marketing a business online certainly knows the power and importance of reviews and testimonials. But 2020 took this to a new level with the explosion of Instagram and the enthusiasm of Instagramers for following business accounts. More than ever before, corporations embraced “social influencers”, individuals guiding their social followers toward products and services, as a valuable and fruitful marketing strategy.
The critical takeaway here is that consumers are turning to online friends and social media personalities to help guide their decision making when facing a purchase. For a small business, this means that engaging with your target demographic (or local community) via social media is more important than ever before.
5. Video Continues to Dominate
We’ve been saying this for years and with every passing year it only grows in importance. For now, the social media giants of Facebook, You Tube, and Instagram are still the best investment for video marketing campaigns. But newer social platforms like Tik Tok and Whatsapp may emerge as worthwhile investments for your marketing budget in the coming year. But keep in mind that even organic video can go a long way and a simple investment of time and creativity can yield big dividends.
If you still haven’t gotten on the video marketing bandwagon, you are running out of excuses. Video content can be made on any smartphone and as we’ve said in the past, it doesn’t have to look like a Hollywood production. Simple, unedited videos that show the more human side of you and your business can be super effective. The key here is to create fun, clever, and even funny content that viewers will be excited to share, and will be compelled to know more about the people and the business behind the video.
So that’s it for our 2020 Social Media recap. If you need help with your social media marketing or have questions about any of the above, please drop us a line! Here’s to a happy, healthy 2021!