As these changes come, WE listen

No more Instagram likes? Social media scheduling by Google? Social influence integrated into search engine optimization? More targeting restrictions? The eruption of TikTok? Maintaining a competitive social media strategy means constantly paying attention to changes in the digital landscape.

Over the past decade, there has been a significant digital influence on the traditional marketing mix. Even more recently, changes have come within social media, related to platform usage, data sharing and more.

Here are five changes we see coming to social media in 2020 and what they mean for your business.

1. Instagram Removing Likes from Your Feed

Why? According to Instagram, mental health. As concerns grow about the relationship between social media and lowered self-esteem, Instagram has been testing out a new feed that hides post likes from your followers. Although they will be able to click to see WHO liked a post, users will need to manually count to determine HOW MANY liked a post.

What does this mean for you? Depending on your business, it could mean a lot. If you spend significant money on influencer marketing, you will need to revisit this strategy. Since likes are a major metric used by influencers to validate their rate, it will become more difficult for them to prove value when this metric disappears. Instagram Ads, however, will become an even more attractive option for businesses due to the reliability of reporting metrics.

2. Social Media Scheduling Powered by Google

Why? Google wants in on social media. It tried creating its own platform with Google+, but the network failed to gain traction and was shut down in April 2019. However, the data-hungry giant that is Google still wants a way to gather more information on users and keep them on their services. In 2020, be on the lookout for a social media sharing or scheduling tool that’s run within Google’s engine.

What does this mean for you? It’s a safe bet to say that your business spends significant amount of time using one or more of Google’s services. Imagine a world where you never had to leave the Google ecosystem! Google social media sharing will likely connect to Google Docs, Sheets, etc., making your life easier. However, there will be a learning curve associated with the development as well as the inevitable competition between social media scheduling platforms, which could lead to the allocation of time and resources to research/buying decisions.

3. Social Media Influence on SEO

Why? Social media influence is a very real thing. So real, in fact, that Google recently obtained a patent on technology that can identify an influential social user. In 2020, prepare for Google to begin analyzing social media presence when indexing sites. Traditionally, the search has been separate from social, but with the rise of influencer marketing and social media usage, this is going to change.

What does this mean for you? The need for social media and search engine optimization in your marketing strategy has been well-known for some time. Now you need to place even more emphasis on creating engaging, influential content if you want your pages to land in the top three spots organically. What’s the harm in dropping a spot or two? Well, the top three links in a search get 85% of the total clicks. From there, your probability of getting clicks drops exponentially.

4. Less Targeting Options

Why? Hint: It rhymes with Shark Zuckerberg (a reach, we know). But yes, Mark Zuckerburg, who promised to turn Facebook into a “privacy-focused” platform, will continue the trajectory of pulling back the amount of targetable user data. The past two years, 2018-19, have arguably been the most tumultuous years of Facebook’s existence. Looking to bounce back in 2020, expect Zuckerburg to reduce the amount of data available to advertisers.

What does this mean for you? Life COULD get more difficult. As it stands, businesses that run ads on Facebook and Instagram can choose from a vast list of interests, locations, employers, etc. when deciding where to target. With concerns surrounding user data-sharing on the rise, this list will become smaller and smaller. To maintain strong ad placements, it will become even more important to really understand who your audience is, where they are and what they’re doing online.

5. TikTok … and It Has Nothing to do with Time

Why? Content is king, but video is the queen (and we all know who’s in charge). TikTok, a short-form, video-sharing app from China, has already begun to take the social media world by storm. Primarily targeted toward Generation Z, this new app has surpassed a billion downloads and has not shown signs of stopping.

What does this mean for you? Perhaps a new twist to your marketing mix. Depending on your business’ target audience, TikTok may become the most effective way to get videos in front of people. Additionally, this relatively-new app brings with it a new space to run advertisements. Video is becoming more and more important, so make sure to be prepared to rollout a new form of content on TikTok.

Focusing on the Future.

Social media is dynamic and continues to evolve. New ways to target and engage users will emerge. Keeping up on what’s happening in the social media space and understanding where your audience is and what they love will be the most reliable way to stay competitive and to help drive growth in 2020.

Interested in building a robust digital marketing plan for 2020?

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