What will 2020 look like in the social media space? Over the course of the decade, social platforms including Instagram and Pinterest launched and were swiftly integrated into personal and professional social media marketing. During the last couple years, micro video app TikTok hit 1.5 billion downloads while Facebook breached data protection laws in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The motto for social media moving forward may be to expect the unexpected, but are there any trends we can anticipate in 2020? I spoke to a few social media influencers and professionals to see what they predict will be on the rise next year — and what won’t.
1. IGTV will be the next TV.
Jenay Rose is a business coach and social media professional who teaches women how to become online entrepreneurs. Rose excels at teaching women how to start and scale six-figure online businesses because she has done it herself. Within the last twelve months, Rose built a six-figure business on Instagram. She has over 80k followers on Instagram, and is able to reach hundreds of thousands of women daily across her social media accounts.
In 2020, Rose says that social media will move into video. IGTV, Instagram’s standalone video app, will be at the forefront of this pivot.
“There’s such a huge push for educational content now, with most viral content becoming funny quotes or meaningful graphics,” Rose says. “Video is going to quickly follow this trend.”
2. Subscribe, rate, and download (more) podcasts.
Video aside, get ready to subscribe to more podcasts. Rose also hosts her own weekly podcast, Align Your Life, and says podcasts are a higher way to convert because you’re quite literally in someone’s ear.
“Once, content only needed to be pretty,” Rose says. “Now, it needs to keep the viewer and listener’s attention for longer spans, as creators who get someone to stay on the platform longer are rewarded.”
3. TikTok will be the next big social media platform.
Technically, TikTok is already a massive platform with adults and Gen Z. Launched by Chinese developer ByteDance, the site launched in 2016. More than 500 million users actively use the app worldwide and over one million videos are viewed every day. In 2020 and beyond, it’s safe to say global brands will likely establish TikTok presences of their own. These accounts will be used to establish a brand voice, engage with audiences, and attract younger consumers.
4. Sea changes for influencer partnerships.
In November 2019, Instagram began testing removing “likes” from their platform. The shift may benefit mental health and relieve the pressure of judgement for site users, but for social media influencers it means re-strategizing their influencer marketing efforts.
Rachel Ford, President of boutique content marketing agency Ford Media Lab, is forecasting that whether or not likes are here to stay, influencer partnerships with brands will change.
Ford compares it to the engagement drop business marketers felt without an ad spend.
“It can be speculated that influencer partnership performance will turn similarly into pay-to-play,” Ford predicts.
Does this mean that influencer partnerships are over? Not at all. “We anticipate that companies will seek new and creative ways to partner with influencers to prove ROI,” Ford says.
What about the influencer? With or without likes, how can they pivot forward? Ford anticipates that influencers will adapt to find new ways to offer value and earn brand partnerships. “Brands can adapt to this change by seeking more integrated partnerships. This utilizes the influencer’s influence on and off of their owner social channels, and allows brands to work more closely with agencies that vet influencer partners to deliver strategic results.”
Kara Freedman is a marketing and eCommerce manager for Conrad New York Downtown, a luxury hotel based in New York City. Her prediction is that in 2020, brands will end working with influencers on a one-off basis. Instead, they’ll regularly work alongside well-known and respected influencers.
“When brands work with influencers on a consistent basis, their followers have a better feel for the product, know they endorse it, and want to follow along to see what’s next,” Freedman says.