Social media is one of the cheapest and most powerful marketing tools available, with 73% of businesses convinced it has brought them “somewhat” or “very effective” results. However, like any other marketing campaign, there have to be clear procedures in place for companies to reap its benefits. Preparing posts, conducting research, and making use of technical tools are just three key tips for social media planning, giving all your efforts the best chance of attracting significant engagement.
The beauty of the ever-changing digital landscape is that new developments and opportunities are always emerging, ready for businesses to take advantage of. By being prepared for what may be the most important social media trends of 2020, you’ll have plenty of time to plan creative content strategies which are even more likely to make a statement to consumers.
Instagram removes the like count
Instagram trialled the elimination of its like count in countries including Japan and Australia in July 2019, claiming that it would “remove pressure” on its users who may otherwise feel inadequate. In light of this, it’s certainly possible that Instagram could permanently remove like counts in the future.
This may impact your company if it works, or plans to work with influencers. In spite of the fact Instagram claimed mental health was the driving force behind its tests, sceptics believe removing the like counter would enable the platform to boost its sponsored posts.
Likes have traditionally been an indicator of engagement, value and potential sales. Without a like count, the success of an influencer’s post will no longer be immediately visible, and some brands may worry that users won’t interact with it as a result. On the other hand, posts through Instagram’s ad service will still display metrics, perhaps as a way of encouraging businesses to do their marketing through the platform itself.
Social media directly affects SEO
Since 2014, Google has denied that social media impacts search results, though studies have since exposed a positive correlation between rankings and social engagement. However, SEO experts believe that Google may be gearing up to directly incorporate social media into its algorithm.
The search engine had its own social ambitions, launching Google+ in 2011, a rare failure on the company’s part, which was shut down in April 2019. Google has already been granted patent 9632972, which determines “influence in a social community”, shows how social media influencer scores are calculated, and explains how this score will be stored in association with a particular user. If Google took this into account, a business would have to place even more importance on its social media strategy, as this could have a significant impact on their search page rankings.
More products discovered on social platforms
The majority of consumers currently use online search to find new products and conduct research. A 2017 survey by Kenshoo revealed that 85% of British, American and French shoppers surveyed were likely to use Google to find product ideas and information, while 72% turned to Amazon. However, social media sites are increasingly being used in the same way. The GlobalWebIndex found that 28% of users scanned social media for product research, a number which has risen every year, and is expected to keep growing—especially with mobile-first shoppers.
What’s more, a shift towards more visual search has also been predicted. Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann has claimed that “a lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords.” This is especially important for businesses targeting younger demographics, with 62% of millennials and Gen Zs demanding visual search abilities. As such, your company should boost its visual search visibility by focussing on image-based platforms. For instance, you may want to advertise products alongside similar goods on Pinterest, which already offers well-developed visual search capabilities, and an 8.5% average conversion rate for image-based ads.
Voice search intertwines with social media
Two out of three of the top voice searches relate to shopping, with over half of searchers are looking for a product or service, with 44% conducting additional research before buying, and 31% comparing their potential purchases. Furthermore, voice shopping is expected to grow to $40 billion by 2022—a huge jump from its 2018 value of $2 billion.
Social media is already being integrated with some voice-controlled digital assistants, like Alexa, which can read out Twitter feeds. And to help people to find your content in the context of this increasingly popular trend, it’s vital to optimise your social media posts for voice search.
In the broadest terms, this means ensuring everything reads conversationally. Unlike conventional searches which typically consist of short abrupt phrases like “Indian restaurant”, voice searches make use of natural sentences—often in the form of questions—such as “where is the best Indian restaurant near me?”