If you think about it, Social media is the only equalizer among businesses these days. On one hand, it has leveled the playing field for small businesses that previously couldn’t pay an arm and a leg for traditional marketing methods. On the other hand, it offers large enterprises a chance to appear more approachable to customers and reveal their human side. This is why it pays to have tabs on the latest social media trends!

Luckily for you, It’s that time of the year once again! While the adults are diligently pondering over their new year resolutions and all the kids are scribbling down their wish lists for Santa, all the thought leaders and social media experts are busy trying to predict what is in store for social media platforms in 2020. Let’s make some Social Media Predictions of our own and brace ourselves for the new marketing battle of 2020.

1.      IGTV Will Reign Supreme Over Tv

We expect Instagram to take inspiration from ‘Facebook Watch’ come 2002 and try a new push on IGTV. Instagram is already getting its feet wet in many experiments to make its dedicated video platform appear more like TikTok or even Snapchat’s Discover. It is only inevitable that Instagram would strive to thwart Snap’s popularity by better promoting original and influencer content on IGTV. Even though IGTV is not getting enough eyeballs from marketers at present, but given Instagram’s promotional potential and reach, marketers who are keeping tabs on IGTV development to strike when the iron is hot, are surely in for a treat. According to SMM experts, social media will be all about videos in 2020, and IGTV will be at the forefront of this evolution.

2.      TikTok Will Be The Next Big Social Media Platform

To be clear, TikTok has already amassed a massive audience of Gen Z and adults alike; 500 million users to be specific. With over a million videos being watched every day, we can safely venture to say that TikTok will continue its upward journey in 2020, owing to its rapid global expansion and aggressive marketing campaigns. After hitting a billion downloads in 2019, it looks like global brands will establish TikTok presences of their own, leveraging their accounts to attract younger consumers, engage with audiences, and establish a brand voice. Even with all the controversies revolving around TikTok, it is still the platform to keep on the radar in 2020.

3.      Influencer Partnerships Won’t Be The Same

Just last month, Instagram started tinkering around the idea of removing likes from their platform, in an attempt to improve the mental health of users and relieve some of the pressure around “seeing themselves through someone else’s lens”. While this seems like the right thing to do, it also means that social media influencers will have to re-strategizing their influencer marketing efforts to stay relevant. Regardless of whether “likes” are staying or not, one thing is for certain; influencer partnerships with brands is not going to be the same.

This is because brands pay up huge sums to influencers, and not to Insta, to endorse their products and services. In fact, influencer marketing gained so much momentum that everyday we see more and more brand veering off the beaten paths, such as traditional advertising. If Insta actually decides to remove “likes”, how will businesses measure the direct impact of their campaigns? This move will inevitably have brands reverting to investing in Instagram Ads, since the ROI is pretty trackable.

Could this mean that influencer partnerships are history? No way. It just means that influencer partnership performance will turn into pay-to-play, and companies will look for better ways to partner with influencers.

4.      Battle For Ad Spend: Facebook Vs Instagram

Even though marketers are increasing their spend on Instagram, Facebook News Feed is still leading the total ad spend with a whopping 60%. The Instagram feed doesn’t even come close at 20%, followed by Stories at 10%! This tells us that marketers are spending only 1/3 of the total branding budget on Instagram. Since Instagram is indeed the most engaging platform for most businesses, we can’t help but wonder; are businesses actually getting the maximum engagement out of their investment?

We can only assume that once brands start to see promising outcomes of their Instagram spend in 2020, this investment will only grow. As for Facebook suggested video, it hardly commands any major ad spend, for a platform that sees the second-highest click-through rate (CTR).

5.      The Prominence Of Video Chat

Houseparty is leading the video chat trend by giving young people a platform where they can hang out virtually. Facebook is quick to jump on every rising social media trend to stay relevant, one of which is group video chat. In response, Instagram added group video calling and even single live-stream guests (via split-screen). However, ever since Houseparty was bought by Epic Games earlier this year, we are expecting Instagram to capitalize on this renewed opportunity for offering group live-stream in 2020.

In addition to its multi-participant video chat option, we are anticipating a live-stream hangout option from Instagram, enabling four or more people hosting within a single live-stream, akin to Houseparty. This move seems at odds with Facebook’s decision to eliminate the option to add friends to Facebook Live streams. But we think that this functionality suits Instagram more, and with Facebook no longer offering this facility, it might increase the traffic to Insta.

Even though Instagram hasn’t announced anything along the lines yet, we have the caught of whiff of what’s happening behind the curtains. Don’t be surprised when Insta drops the bomb in the first half of 2020.

6.      Stories Will Be The Key To Staying Visible on Both Insta And Facebook

Both Insta’s and Facebook’s Stories format will continue its upward journey in 2020, possibly even rendering regular feed content obsolete. Who knows that Insta and Facebook might even start testing out a “blended Stories and feed” format. However, most social media users don’t take well to such a radical change. So, Facebook will have to walk on eggshells here, gradually introducing a merged feed on both of its platform.

Facebook is already trying to make it seamless to publish content to Stories, for instance by automatically publishing feed posts to Stories as well and sharing daily memories. Not to mention, you must have noticed that Stories have earned a pronounced place in the mobile app. Such prominent Stories cards are pretty hard to overlook.

If marketers knew why the Stories were introduced in the first place, it would help them realize the push for Stories. Back in July 2016, Facebook CFO determined that they were running out of spots to display ads in people’s news feed. To combat this max ad load, Instagram ads were introduced in 2018. But soon, the load became unmanageable there as well. This left Facebook with no option but to come up with new places to place ads, such as Messenger ads, video ad breaks, and as you guessed it; Stories!

From the user’s point of view, it is incredibly easy to consume content in the Stories format. The user is in total control with a simple “Tap, swipe” format. They decide how much of an individual’s stories they wish to see. From the perspective of creators, they can publish as many stories as they want without jamming up their followers’ feed. Additionally, the 24-hour life of a story means that brands will have to keep producing fresh content, which translates into additional inventory for ad placement.

So, creating native stories ads and publishing more organic stories is a great place to focus in 2020. However, remember to incorporate a host of interactive elements such as questions, sliders, quizzes, polls and donations in your stories.

7.      Niche Marketing Is The Only Way Forward!

2020 isn’t going to be about simply reaching out to everyone and everywhere, but more about being visible to the right audience, with a focused intent. When it comes to engagements, quality trumps quantity. If you are confused how to make the shift, we suggest picking something you want to be known for. Instead of trying to excel on every platform, pick two based on your platform demographics, best-performing content to date, and your ideal client, and work on them from scratch. Some of the best platform combos can be LinkedIn and Instagram, Instagram and YouTube, or Pinterest and LinkedIn. Now, create a solid keyword and hashtag strategy around it and make sure your marketing efforts are centered on it. Instead of copying what other brands are doing, find out what works for your brands and stick to it.

8.      Quora Will Come Back In The Limelight

If you only see Quora as a Q&A platform where people look up answers to their queries, you couldn’t be more wrong. Quora is also a great platform for creating brand awareness. Quora is poised to be an important platform for marketing your brand in 2020. Even though Quora doesn’t allow you to create a company/business profile, you can nevertheless represent your brand on Quora.

Start with creating your company profile and input an impressive headline and profile content. Share your company details and what you do there, add links to your landing pages, blog, or business website. Use Quora to be seen as an authority in a given field by showcasing your expertise. Follow all topics pertinent to your industry or business and participate in discussions around your nature of work. Additionally, you can create personalized boards on your profile to share external content, as well as discussions on other Quora posts.

9.      Facebook Watch Will Get A Major Push

Facebook Watch didn’t exactly get the traction Facebook was hoping for, even with a lot of Facebook Watch original hits. While Facebook reported that 140 million people daily and 720 million people monthly, consume at least one minute of Watch content daily, these figures pale in comparison to Facebook’s 1.6 billion daily actives overall. With YouTube, Amazon, Disney, Netflix and other OTT providers all rushing in to grab the most eyeballs, Facebook Watch hasn’t yet made any real noise in the market.

It looks as if Facebook is really going to try to push Watch in 2020. I mean, all the signs are there; an updated portal device to facilitate direct connection of Watch content to Home TV sets, the ongoing popularity of video content on its platforms, and an all new dedicated News Tab that broadcasts original video news programming. All the building blocks are in their right place. If Watch ends up becoming an essential element of Facebook, it will mean an increased revenue potential and a whole lot of new options.

10. Expect To See A Lot More Of Chatbots

We have enough reason to believe that chatbots will continue to grow in 2020—and they’ll likely become more “normal” in the eyes of consumers. When we envisage 2020, we expect people to go to chatbots everytime they need to book a hotel, choose an internet plan, or even order a pizza. Chatbots enable your users to do all of this without the hassle of downloading a native app.

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