Predicting the future of social media is a fun exercise, but as is often the case with the future, it’s always just a prediction. Nothing is certain, even if you follow trends. Digital marketing is also going through a lot of changes throughout the recent years, with the introduction of many new tools and strategies for social media.

Part of what makes predicting the future of social media is how it constantly changes. Social media is rarely the same year after year, and it’s not uncommon to see changes happen over the course of a few months either. That means the potential for growth in social media marketing (SMM) services is immense, both right now and in the upcoming years. That said, being unable to see the future doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act on the present! 

Influencer Marketing

Marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing campaigns in the current year. As the social media trends lean into influencer marketing, established in the last few years through profiles and influencers across Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, many are going into 2020 with a similar mindset.

Influencers are very important. With huge fan bases and a wide audience of followers, influencers and their audience have the capability to generate a whole market of potential customers. Converting that potential into real buyers can make a big difference for companies.

Social media is a great platform to reach out to and maximize the value of a target audience on specific platforms. This process provides a lot of authenticity to your product or business, which can easily influence people to consider or buy your product. Be sure that you work with influencers that have the right skill set to attract the audience you’re targeting.

Shopping through Social Media

Social media sites are making a transition in terms of how their platforms are used. At the beginning, it was the most basic thing, facilitating communication and social interaction. As we move forward on the timeline, ads and community buying and selling groups popped up, which paved the way for this more recent modification. Now, some social media platforms support what could be called a kind of ecommerce lite element that allows people to buy or companies to sell directly through social media supported platforms.

We can predict that this will grow as social media companies extend their influence across different styles of digital interaction and services. Social media shopping has already been introduced with some success on Instagram and Facebook, and as leaders in the industry we can reasonably imagine that these services will grow and make their way to other platforms in the next few years.

Online shopping is no longer restricted to a core business website. The ability to work through social media sites allows buyers to access and purchase products and services directly through social media, rather than navigating to a businesses website. This saves time on the seller’s part, and the buyer will spend more time in digital proximity to the things that they might want to purchase. 

Right now, businesses should be streamlining themselves according to the category they belong to. A well maintained and well established social media site should help buyers and a target audience reach out to brands and businesses, and to take advantage of the huge increase in customers using social media in recent times.

The “Stories” Feature is King

With Instagram, and now Facebook, the story feature is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to digital marketing through social media platforms. Even Youtube has added a stories section to get in on the new trend and popularity. For those planning social media marketing campaigns for the near future, you’ll absolutely want to include stories as part of the campaign.

The stories concept helps people consume the content in an easily digestible way. Another noteworthy aspect of stories is the video formatting. Most stories use video or animations to convey their message, which supports the fact that video tends to perform very well in marketing campaigns, both on and off social media.

Live videos in particular have a high value because they present a somewhat unique cross section of successful marketing techniques. People are more likely to check out live content because it’s time limited, and the fear of missing out is a major driving factor. 

People are also driven to keep themselves up to date on content that they enjoy or find relevant, so providing content that matches with people’s interests is a great way to create and retain repeat interest or potentially repeat customers. The nice part is that it’s beneficial to both newer and older users, as older users can look forward to regular updates, and new users can enjoy the instant gratification that video content typically offers.

Augmented Reality (AR) Will Be Important

AR technology is gradually evolving to support increased application in things like ecommerce, product discovery, special offers, and more. This is one of the newest social media components that has been widely accepted by consumers and social media users. With the wide array of effects and potential applications, AR is a hotbed of potential growth.

For example, this tech can be used to change colors or overlap makeup or other effects on a person’s face. This kind of application has encouraged a lot of makeup companies to improve their marketing strategies and increase their traffic. Almost all smartphones are easy enough to integrate with the AR features built in to a variety of apps. With the projected growth of AR in apps and for use in marketing campaigns, it’s a good area to keep track of when considering new marketing campaigns that you’ll already be placing on social media.

Chatbots are Human Touch 

Chatbots are a much older technology, but ever since its inception, it has been used in a number of applications. Research suggests that chatbots with human-like replies often provide better results and resonate more with customers that engage. In general users are looking for authenticity on the site, which comes from conversation and other key human-like signals.

With the rise of chatbots, some conversational marketing has seen success, trending and opening up the conversation of human psychology in marketing. People feel trusted when they have questions in mind and their questions receive genuine answers. It also helps for some chatbot services that at least some part of the process is run and operated by humans responding in real time or a timely manner, which adds to the trust factor customers look for when interacting with a brand or business.

Customer Service

If your business is product based, then you understand that customer service is a pillar of the product-based site. Even with the tightest ship, customers will still occasionally run into questions or difficulties that can’t be answered on the website or in a quick FAQ. Customer service is the next step, and with social media becoming such a huge resource for people that want answers or feedback from a company in less time.

The majority of ecommerce website will have tons of questions, so they’re a great candidate for social media based customer service options. It’s also appealing for customers that might want their questions and problems resolved around the clock. This is an excellent overall example of how social media is slowly integrating or incorporating other aspects of the digital marketing sphere, to the point that some elements are indistinguishable and shared across platforms.

These are six major factors that you should consider when developing a social media marketing campaign in 2020. The changes that have happened in the past few years are an excellent opportunity to reflect and improve in the coming years, and with these factors in mind you can work to get ahead of the trends and capitalize on their financial and professional benefits. 

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