In 2020, we can plan on seeing a rise in social commerce, defined as social media’s facilitation of ecommerce between brands and consumers. It goes without saying that social media is integrating more closely with the way we interact with brands. On the cusp of 2020, it’s important to anticipate and respond to new evolutions and to understand what that means for you.
People in developed countries currently comprise a large proportion of all social media users. Pew Research documented in a recent study that social media levels have plateaued in developed countries but continue to increase in many developing nations. Those emerging markets offer new opportunities for brands to extend their reach. However, new users in developing areas may have lower literacy rates, meaning they will respond better to video and visual marketing. Videos can explain product information, convey a brand message, and address consumer questions. Video also appeals to younger generations that prefer to watch or hear information rather than comb through written text.
Mass skepticism about “fake news” has driven consumers to question advertising more, search for reviews, and perform other checks to confirm the validity of content they see. Similarly, in light of events such as the oft-cited Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, consumers want to ensure their privacy is protected. Increasingly, social media users want brands to spell out to consumers what happens to their data and crackdown on fake reviews. In the stylized world of social media, users want brands to be transparent.
Influencers are people with large social media followings who craft a specific image to promote their personal brand. Social media users are drawn to personality and authenticity, and they feel like they can form more honest connections with influencers they see versus faceless brands. Once they’ve acquired a large enough platform and established themselves as people rather than profiles, they pepper followers’ social feeds with subtle ads endorsing products. They don’t always make it overtly noticeable that their posts are ads–they may include #AD at the beginning of the post or maybe buried at the end of their review of the product in the midst of other hashtags. These innocuous advertisements subvertly convince social media users to check out a certain brand or product.
Large social media platforms use algorithms to generate targeted ADs for consumers, similar to Google’s ranking algorithm to pull up the best search engine result pages (SERPs). Some experts have even surmised that engaging on social media may raise your ranking on a SERP. Although not obvious at first, it makes sense that engagement can affect SEO, due to increased linkage between social media and search engines.
The use of AI is projected to only increase in 2020 and beyond. Take advantage of platforms’ algorithms by interacting with users more. Ask a question in your post and tell users to respond in the comments. Doing this will make your brand more personable and help your ads and your page turn up higher in users’ feeds.
But you don’t just have to play your strategy to platforms’ algorithms in order to take advantage of developments in AI. Experts predict that brands on social media will use AI in 2020 to do things such as identify their market, create chatbots to interact with consumers, and generate business analytics data.
Social media platforms have begun blurring the line between brands and their social media accounts. Some platforms let accounts include price tags in photos that allow users to see information about the featured product and the business. This is especially useful for influencers, who can link their sponsors’ products directly in the photos they post.
Some platforms have built features to let users purchase products in-app, such as the “checkout on Instagram” option, which the app rolled out early in 2019. With the new feature, users who see a product on Instagram that they like can purchase the product without even leaving the app. Not only does this make purchasing a faster process, but it also capitalizes on impulse buying habits.
This also goes hand-in-hand with adapting to the influx of new social media users who may have lower levels of literacy. Potential consumers are more likely to go through with buying a product if the process is succinct and clear.
If you want to take your social media game to the next level, you don’t have to do it alone. Contact Connectica for professional consulting on how you can make 2020 your brand’s best year yet.
Bailey is a vibrant addition to Connectica’s social media department. Her enthusiasm and passion for all things #Trending keeps her at the forefront of the social media game.
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