What will a post-COVID world look like for social media marketers? If there’s anything we’ve learned so far in 2020, it's that nobody can ever be 100% prepared for the future. We can predict trends, strategize and plan, but we all have to be ready to shift marketing and business strategies at any time.
Over the past several months, we’ve been hosting discussions within the Social Media Today community to learn more about the pandemic and how it has affected businesses and our field of work. Through these conversations, we were able to identify common social media marketing trends that can help us begin to prepare for the future.
See our recent “Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons from the Pandemic and Beyond” for thought-provoking stories, strategies and advice from marketing professionals in our community.
We followed up with our community more recently to ask their thoughts on what comes next. What will the future look like for people working in social media or digital marketing? Here’s what they predict.
- Social media jobs and creativity skills will be valued more than ever.
- Video content will continue to rise in production and demand.
- The more authentic the content, the better.
- Honesty, empathy, and social consciousness will win on social.
- Social listening and community engagement will be at the forefront of marketing strategies.
- We'll be constantly adapting to new technology and changing consumer needs.
Continue reading to see what our community anticipates for the future of social media in business.
Predicting the Future of Social Media Marketing
1. Social media jobs and creativity skills will be valued more than ever.
"Everyone has had to rely more on technology over the past few weeks. From video meetings to curbside delivery - every company has had to pivot in some way to keep their business going. Everyone has had to lean into Digital and social media more during COVID and they have learned how to use it differently and better than ever before. My prediction is that social media content from businesses will become more creative and the digital strategy will be better than ever. The businesses that pushed up their sleeves and got to work on social media marketing efforts during a major crisis will reap the rewards when the crisis starts to fade. Some businesses may have even found a new niche of online business and will continue to grow that area post-COVID." — Anna Rudicel, Marketing Director of Cyclone Social
A5 - I think (hope!) MORE focus will be put on social in the wider marketing landscape! For one, it's agile - we have seen how important that is recently! It's engaging & customers are more engaged than ever! It's 'real' - closer to your audience, more tangible! #SMTLive— Curated Digital (@curateddigital) June 23, 2020
Lilach Bullock says, "The COVID crisis will likely make a lasting impact in the world, and social media marketing should reflect that too. Even though restrictions are starting to lift, our lives (the lives of everyone in the world, in fact!) will continue to be very different: social distancing, masks and other protective gear and so on will still to be a big part of everyone's lives and the way businesses market themselves should reflect that. But out of all marketing strategies, I believe that social media will be the main one to thrive in the post-COVID world. For one thing, it's easier and cheaper for brands to leverage social media and for another, people all over the world are spending more time indoors than outdoors - and therefore, more time online."
Dhariana Lozano, President of Block & Ave., also believes social media marketing jobs will be taken more seriously moving forward. Lozano says, "I feel social media content and digital marketing post-COVID might be taken more seriously. Brands that had an engaged online presence were able to still pull their audience and create traffic, sales and new opportunities. Many brands used social media to communicate and keep their audiences updated." — Dhariana Lozano, President, Block & Ave.
A5 : Embracing Social media marketing is going to be key going forward. The pandemic has increased amount of time people spend online, which has created opportunities for brands to increase their reach & engagement. There has never been a perfect time to take ur business online.— Karo K (@DJKaroUG) June 23, 2020
"I see a huge positive shift towards the digital world post-COVID," says Esa Mbouw, Deputy Head of Business Administration at Swiss German University. "People of all background are adapting to the digital lifestyle and I predict they will be craving for more social media content. This means social media content would be made and delivered to a wider range of audience in all places. The older generation is now keeping up with the trends."
2. Video content will continue to rise in production and demand.
"I think we are going to see online video continue to explode," predicts Tabitha Jean Naylor, Owner of TabithaNaylor.com. "I mean, look at the massive surge in popularity of TikTok since this all started. The companies growth has been incredible. In March of this year alone, it was downloaded 115 million times."
A5- There's a noticeable emphasis in video & ecom solutions since covid started and since FB has capitalized on the current situation. I could see a tool like #creativelivekit from the @facebookapp team really taking off now, especially with a @Facebook shops integration #SMTLIVE— Bruce Kraft Jr ➐ (@brucekraftjr) June 23, 2020
3. The more authentic the content, the better.
"Since the lockdown took place, it's been really nice to see the human unfiltered side behind brands. Whether that's videos in the kitchen, with kids and without dressing up, it's been great to see authentic content. It's going to be interesting to see whether this continues post-COVID. Similar to brands realizing that their staff can actually work remotely, I expect brands to be more comfortable with creating and publishing unedited visual content." — Neil Sheth, Digital Content Strategist
A5 - I feel it is now even more important than ever to build your community, be authentic, stand for something and deliver. Not to say that's not happening now but it will be even more valuable moving forward #SMTLive— J Fritz PR (@JFritzPR) June 23, 2020
No, authentic content is not a new trend, but a certain type of rawness and reliability is now an expectation of brands on social rather than just an audience prefrence.
A5: Much greater need for authenticity and a human personality behind a brand. People want to get to know people on social, not faceless companies #SMTLive— Terracotta Travel ???? (@TerracottaTours) June 23, 2020
4. Honesty, empathy, and social consciousness will win on social.
Tabitha Jean Naylor recognizes a shiftting trend towards empethetic messaging from brands on social media: "I think that, at least for the foreseeable future, we're going to see brand messaging that's much more empathetic and compassionate.
Social Media Marketing will be more sensitive to the needs and values of the audience. As we're in a 'conscious' era, people are aware of the social & political impact of where they invest their time, loyalty, money etc & will gravitate to content/brands which align with morals.— Social Disruption (@SocialDisruptpr) June 23, 2020
"So much has already changed over the past few months. Many have adjusted their messaging to align with what’s going on in the world and within in their organization. I predict that messaging will soon focus on offering hope and positivity to counterbalance the sadness and uncertainty." — Rachel Strella, Founder, Strella Social Media
"I think that people are looking to share their experiences so that they can have that connection to others. I also think that gratitude will play a central theme in influencing. I don’t think that audiences will have the same fan following for mega influencers like Kylie Jenner, who do a lot of self-promotion and emphasis “outer beauty” I think that she grew her fan base because there was a need for people who wanted to be like her. Now, I think people will resonate more with people that show “inner beauty” in both mind and spirit." — Dory Caplin, CEO of Dream Team Concepts
"The digital marketing world will increase fourfold. I see it growing exponentially every day. Social media content will be a mixed bag of truths, half truths and outright propaganda. The challenge to us consumers will be discerning truth from fiction; noise from facts and useful information." — Roy Benford, Real Estate Consultant at KellerWilliams Realty
5. Social listening and community engagement will be at the forefront of marketing strategies.
Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com, predicts a new era of brand-consumer relationships and engagement behaviors on social. "In a post-COVID world, I think there will be a continued emphasis on the needs of the consumer. Social media will become what it has always meant to be: social. Brands will ask consumers for their feedback on how they are doing and what they can offer that has the ability to make the consumer's life easier. Brands will listen to this feedback and implement new offerings in their company."
A3 - (1) Understanding your audience has always been important! But we are definitely seeing a move to more in depth customer insight & analysis using social listening tools. Brands, now more than ever, need to understand their customers' wants, needs, concerns... #SMTLive— Curated Digital (@curateddigital) June 23, 2020
"Social media content will be created that better engages the consumer — asking questions, sharing polls, and hosting mini-events like Twitter chats and movie watch-along nights that are relevant to their industry on Twitter."
#SMTLive A5. It'll be about nurturing your community and experimenting with tools and platforms (seeing a little of this already). We're focusing on capturing user stories, connecting via live events, delivering the right content and being authentic.— Anita (@anitaloomba) June 23, 2020
6. We'll be constantly adapting to new technology and changing consumer needs.
As always, new technologies will appear and social media platforms with continue updating their platforms to align with new online social needs. As we've said before, at any moment things can change; it's important to never rely fully on any social platform to meet all your marketing needs. For example, be prepared for data and privacy updates to limit your targeting capabilities on social.
A-5 part deux: by privacy issues, I mean platforms explicitly giving users the option to opt out of tracking. Custom interest targeting will get killed, which is why data aggregation & LAL targeting is essential.— Jonathan Berthold (@j_bertho) June 23, 2020
The world will forever be changing around us, but as marketers, we seem to be well-equipt to handle any unexpected obstacles thrown in our direction.
A5:2 - I also want to add if there is one thing about this industry, it's adaptability. You gotta be constantly learning, innovating, & putting it out there. Not to be Captain Obvious but that must continue Consumers want more. I know, I'm one of them! #SMTLive— J Fritz PR (@JFritzPR) June 23, 2020
To read more on this topic and explore advice from our community on preparing for the future, go check out the complete “Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons from the Pandemic and Beyond.”
Thanks to our readers and #SMTLive friends, we were able to assemble this guide for #socialmediamarketing in 2020 and beyond. Go check out this inspiring collection of ideas, advice, and predictions brought to you by the Social Media Today community. ???? https://t.co/2MKpXKAtiY pic.twitter.com/ONiAy6nVC7— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) July 16, 2020