2020 has been quite a year – and one that many of us will be happy to see the back of! With its end now firmly in sight, we look back on some of the key trends and changes we’ve seen in the wonderful world of social media in 2020, and their impact on small businesses.
1) The effect of COVID-19 on social media
2020 was a year of transformation – from how we work, communicate, socialise, and do our shopping! In July 2020, over half of the world’s population was using social media for the first time. Social media has been a vital way of businesses reaching consumers during a series of lockdowns and closures. With users spending up to 40% more time online during the peak of the pandemic (a habit that some have yet to break), there is a golden opportunity for businesses to capitalise on this with their social media activity.
Even the baby boomer generation became more open to social media in 2020, spending more time on it and forming new digital habits. Again, this shift represents a clear opportunity for businesses to target these users in their social media marketing as their efforts now may have more success than they did in 2019!
2) The rise of TikTok
So, what is it and why all the fuss? TikTok is an app that allows users to create and share 15-minute “micro-entertainment” videos using music, filters, and other features. It’s one of the fastest-growing social media apps worldwide, demonstrated by its whopping 689 million active users! Its simplicity of use also means that anyone can create content using it. It’s particularly popular amongst teens and young people, and its usage skyrocketed during the lockdown, so if your business is marketing to a younger audience, TikTok could certainly be one to try!
Not quite ready for TikTok? Try working out how your business could introduce more light-hearted, fun videos into its content strategy. The trend for playful content has been noticeable throughout 2020.
3) The growing popularity of ‘stories’
Social media stories are full-screen, vertical videos and images that are optimised for mobile and created using mobile devices. They appear outside of your usual feed and expire within 24 hours. They’re particularly popular with millennials and Gen Z who enjoy more ‘authentic’ brand interactions. You’ll find stories on a number of apps including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and (more recently) LinkedIn and Twitter. Used by over one billion people daily worldwide, they can represent a great marketing opportunity for your business. If you’re not yet taking advantage of them as part of your business’ social strategy, now’s the time to start!
4) Facebook tightens its algorithm
You’ll no doubt be aware that achieving organic reach on Facebook is becoming ever-harder! As of late 2019, average reach for posts was down 2.2%, meaning that businesses could expect to have their posts seen by around 5.5% of their Page’s followers. Facebook has stated that its focus is on helping users understand the algorithm (which is now weighing up several factors before it decides to show them a post from your business). All is not lost, however, and there are some strategies you can follow to try to improve your reach! These include: posting when your audience is online, posting content that encourages engagement, posting high-quality videos over 3-minutes long (contrary to advice about making videos as short as possible), and posting regularly and consistently. Think value when adding content to Facebook (and other channels) rather than simply ‘adding to the noise’. If you do this, you shouldn’t go far wrong in boosting your impact and fighting back against the algorithms!
5) The influence of social media in politics
Social media has changed the political landscape, allowing politicians and public figures to speak directly to the people. As we all know, Donald Trump regularly communicates to the masses on Twitter to express his unfiltered opinions! There has been much recent controversy worldwide concerning the role of social media in political campaigns, the dissemination of political views, intentional misinformation, and hate speech. With little in the way of regulation in place, (other than the algorithms doing their best to clamp down on it) this trend looks set to continue.
6) Rapid digital change
Here’s an interesting thought to wrap up with. In September of this year, Google’s Allan Thygesen said:
“In the last six months alone, we’ve probably experienced 10 years’ worth of change.”
Wow – a decade’s worth of change over just a few months! There’s no denying that social media in 2020 has had a rollercoaster year, fuelled in no short part by COVID-19 and the forced behaviours placed upon people as a result. Has your digital and social strategy evolved to keep up?
Stay tuned for more social media news from us in 2021!