In business, goals are extremely important - they serve as a roadmap for your strategy, and at the same time enable you to evaluate your successes and missteps.
However, the goals you set for your social media efforts shouldn't come out of nowhere. Data insights should always be the cornerstone of all your goal setting. That’s why for this list of social media goals for 2020, I've based each recommendation on data insights. Taking key trends and shifts as reference points, I've identified goals that will actually be relevant to the directions that the social media platforms are taking this year.
Below is a list of ten social media goals that you should consider aiming for in 2020, along with examples of brands that are already excelling on each point.
1. Stop ignoring your audience
Social media is always changing, and social media marketers need to stay on top of these changes. However, the core business principles stay the same.
One of the main principles of note is making sure that your business is customer-oriented. This principle should be embedded in every step of your business strategy, from research to customer support.
So how does the age-old principle of focusing on a customer apply to 2020 social media trends? Well, one thing to do in 2020 is to stop ignoring your customers on social. You might feel confused, or even offended right now that I even assumed that you’re neglecting your customers. But tell me, how much do you utilize social media to engage with and learn more about your target audience?
It’s highly likely that you respond to comments and posts that tag your accounts, but in 2020, it's also worth considering social listening as another means to pay attention, and respond to your customers.
The simplest way to use social listening is to find and respond to untagged mentions, those instances where people are talking about your company without directly reaching out to you. However, simplicity is not what we’re aiming for when we have a tool as powerful as social listening at our disposal. With it, you can analyze large amounts of social data for product insights, discover potential customers, and understand your target audience.
Forget about the surveys and feedback forms - social listening gives you access to unfiltered opinions, shared online organically.
There are so many ways to make your business more customer-oriented by analyzing social listening data, and acting upon such. Here’s a perfect example of using social listening to raise brand awareness and engage with your target audience in a natural way without spamming them.
Hi! My favorite #Seattle karaoke bar is Hula Hula. Bush Gardens is also a great time! Lmk if you want more recs :) ^AC— Hilton Suggests (@HiltonSuggests) January 24, 2020
Hilton Suggests is a one-of-a-kind program launched by Hilton Hotels which connects local experts with people who are looking for travel recommendations through social listening. Hilton finds people who are looking for travel recommendations on Twitter and responds to them via a dedicated account. The people who give recommendations are the local employees of Hilton who know the best spots in the city in question. That makes the recommendations genuine and personal.
The initiative is a great combination of understanding your audience's needs and taking the action to address them. Not every person asking for travel recommendations is staying in a Hilton hotel, but next time they're choosing a place to stay, they might just remember the one that was so helpful during their last trip.
2. Try selling on social
Social media platforms are working to provide us with more and more ways to sell our products directly in-stream.
Features like Instagram Checkout now enable users to buy from a brand they like, without ever leaving the app, while Pinterest is also incorporating more and more commercial features. These efforts fall in line with customer trends - in a study of 178,421 global internet users aged 16-64, GlobalWebIndex found that 28 percent of users turned to social networks during their online product research.
In 2020, it's worth bringing your sales efforts to social media. But you don’t necessarily have to use Instagram Checkout or the like, you can actually sell on social without any special features by pitching your products to the users that might be potentially interested in them.
But how do you find such users?
By joining relevant communities on social media: subreddits, Facebook groups, Twitter chats and such. People are constantly asking for recommendations, and you can tap into these conversations (just don’t be spammy). Social listening can also help here - tuning in will enable ou to find social posts which indicate buying intent (asking for recommendations or complaining about competitors). You can then engage with these users in real time.
Peripherii is a smart earring brand which is very active on Twitter. They follow hashtags around wearables and AirPods, and promote their brand within relevant communities.
This approach can be risky, and you don't want to be perceived as spamming feeds. But it is worth considering your opportunities to tap into buying intent.
3. Broadcast yourself
Video isn't a new trend - it's been featured as a key social media marketing focus of note for a couple of years now. However, live video is something that still offers significant potential for marketers - and more brands are now picking up on the option.
Streaming enables you to react immediately to what’s going on, connect with your audience in a relatable way, and show them that there’s a real person behind the brand. It lets you communicate with your audience directly.
Almost every social media platform understands the power of live streaming, with even LinkedIn introducing live streaming in 2019.
You can go live to hype up a product launch, engage with your audience, cover a real-life event, or present a social media competition.
Not to seem mean, but credit reporting companies are usually not the brands that you want to follow on social media. There are just not many exciting things about finance - however, Experian proves that theory wrong.
Experian uses live-streaming to connect to its customers. Every Wednesday, Experian hosts a Twitter chat where they discuss personal finance topics, and they amplify the discussion by going live on Periscope and YouTube to respond to users through video.
4. Collaborate with micro-influencers
Influencer marketing can be a powerful strategy, but some brands still envision it being solely related to big-name, expensive, star endorsements. Make no mistake, audience numbers are important, but don't overlook the potential of smaller creators, who tend to have more authentic relationships with their audiences, and thus, are better at establishing trust.
And in marketing, more trust means higher conversion rates.
That’s why 2020 will be the year of micro-influencers. Take a look at those creators who have less than 100 000 followers, find someone who aligns with your brand image and values, and reach out to them for potential collaboration.
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Thank you @samsungmobileusa for having me as your creative guest partner at the Samsung Experience Tour Pop-up in Brooklyn. I had an amazing time working with the team and learning all of the incredible features of your new device. [Picture taken with the Samsung Galaxy S10 in the low-light feature] ???? #WithGalaxy #SamsungPartner
Last March, Samsung collaborated with several creative micro-influencers (up to 25 000 followers) on Instagram to promote the Galaxy Note 10. They worked with several influencers of different backgrounds and interests - for example, one of the collaborators was Urška Ahac, a Slovenian-born sports blogger with a little over 10K subscribers.
In this way, Samsung was able to tap into different audiences, and showcase the phone’s features in more creative, engaging ways.
5. Have fun with AR
If you still think that AR is only good for putting cat ears on a teenage girl’s selfie, think again. More and more brands are now using AR filters on social media to promote themselves - and some are seeing big success.
The three main platforms of emphasis for AR right now are Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat - the three platforms that are also extremely popular with Millennials and Gen Z. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in his listing of goals for the upcoming decade, specifically highlighted the use of AR and VR technologies, which is a sure indicator that Facebook will look to shift further in that direction as well.
Instagram even encourages users to create their own filters through free access to Spark AR Studio, so there’s no excuse not to try it.
Inspiration: Kylie Cosmetics
Even the biggest Instagram celebrities are looking to leverage AR to maximize their performance. Kylie Jenner's 'Kylie Cosmetics' recently created an AR filter which enables viewers to virtually try on its products.
6. Befriend the algorithms
Mastering social media algorithms is a good goal for any year, but if you haven’t done it yet, now is high time to embark on this mission.
Yes, report after report tells us that organic reach is falling, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up. Instead, yuo should look to understand what types of content each platform favors, and use that within your approach to maximize organic reach.
Creativity here is the key: we all know that many social media networks boost video content - but that doesn’t mean that you should produce cookie-cutter videos with no original ideas behind them. And again, the fact that engagement is the key to organic reach is well-known, but you can’t just ask people to like and comment on your posts. You need to come up with engaging content, in line with algorithm shifts, in order to optimize your results.
Inspiration: innocent drinks
This is the brand that knows how to align with content trends, while still keeping it aligned with their core business case. Their content is engaging, without being manipulative, sensational, or cringy.
Innocent Drinks generates engagement by being funny, a little bit absurd, and extremely relatable - though it worth underlining that they do this while also keeping it 'on brand'. never drifting too far from their business niche.
7. Go somewhere new
There are always new social platforms popping up, and while few of them is ever worthy of being tagged as 'the next big thing' in the space, some do have staying power, and can provide reach to engaged, active audiences.
TikTok is one to consider on this front. TikTok isn't really new, but there are still marketers who have doubts about it, though it may be worth experimenting with as part of your approach. A key benefit here is that TikTok’s algorithm is tailored to content discovery, which makes it easier to get eyeballs on your posts even if you’re just starting out.
Inspiration: The Washington Post
A serious newspaper is probably not the brand that you'd expect to see TikTok content from, but The Washington Post joined the platform in 2020, and has quickly became a viral sensation.
What’s even more admirable is that WaPo manage to deliver news content through their short videos, while still making them highly entertaining.
8. Become private
Yes, the word 'social' is right in the name - but one of the biggest social media trends for 2020 will be privacy.
More recent issues with political polarization, data exposure, and even high profile sackings over previously posted controversial opinions have lead to more people closing in their social media walls, and turning to more intimate, private conversations online. People are still using social platforms and apps at similar rates, but their discussions are increasingly being moved out of the public eye - which is an important trend for marketers to note.
Brands can look to cater to this trend by starting a Facebook Group, for example, or creating a 'Close Friends' list for top fans on Instagram. Through options like this, brands can share exclusive content with their most loyal followers, which can encourage others to interact with your accounts in the hope of getting an invite.
Lumen5 is a video editing app which boasts a very loyal user base. The company started a Facebook group to share tips on how to use software and edit videos in 2016, and it now has more followers than the official brand Page.
Users can connect with each other and help others out, as well as ask the team behind the tool about the features and plans for the future.
9. Start messaging
The popularity of messaging is another indicator of the shift to privacy. Nowadays, a lot of social media interactions are happening in DMs - people are talking with their friends, but also with brands. And given this, it's worth paying attention to the opportunity.
In 2020, it's worth considering how your business can better engage with your followers through messaging. Respond to Stories, answer questions, connect through Twitter DMs. Messenger bots can also be a great way to connect to your customers - but beware of automating your conversations too much. Even though it’s 2020, people still prefer to talk with humans.
Inspiration: Whole Foods
Whole Foods is famous for selling fresh organic food, and generally promoting healthy eating. Their chatbot is extremely on-brand - it’s a Messenger bot that recommends recipes tailored specifically to your taste (and using Whole Foods products, of course). You can select your preferences and get a delicious recipe in return, whever you need.
These are some of the key trends that are likely to gain traction in 2020, assigned into goals which you can apply to your strategic approach. And while there's a lot to take on, you’ll notice that many of the points here are inter-connected.
Start using social listening and you’ll be able to discover micro-influencers; Create a private community and you’ll begin getting more direct messages; Create an AR filter and gain traction on newer apps, etc.
But perhaps, your primary social media goal for 2020 should be to figure out which of the major social media trends will benefit your business, and tweak your social media strategy accordingly.