Social media is constantly evolving. With algorithm changes, new platforms and never-ending updates to already existing platforms, it’s hard to get ahead of the curve. As we look ahead to the upcoming year, here are some of the biggest media trends to watch out for in 2020.

  1. Visual Storytelling

    Video is everything. We’ve been saying this for a while now, and the trend will continue into 2020. We’re familiar with platforms like YouTube, but now we’re seeing social media apps begin to legitimately compete in the landscape.

    TikTok

    Oh, TikTok. It looks like you’re here for the long run.

    This time last year, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the U.S., surpassing both Instagram and Snapchat. Now, users are spending nearly an hour a day on the app (which is more than Facebook) and there are 500 million active monthly users, worldwide, according to Digital Media Ninja Agency.

    For this upcoming year, expect to see more advertising budgets spent on TikTok, likely reducing incremental ad budget on other, larger platforms. You could still see traditional looking ads, but more than likely advertisements will be featured in video format as viral challenges, influencer collaborations and imperfect, authentic content.

    Instagram Stories

    Ross Simmonds cites in 2018, 400 million Instagram users watched IG Stories on a daily basis, in 2019 it’s closer to 500 million. Expect this number to continue rising in 2020.

    IG Stories are made specifically for mobile, and mobile is continuing to become everything. Think about it, you literally won’t leave home without your phone. The growing mobile-only content trend will allow for more experimentation, cheeky posts and that authentic connection every user is seeking.

    Some tips to take into 2020: Talk to your audience and learn about them. The need and want for “perfect imagery” will continue to decrease in the upcoming year. Instead, we’re seeing people yearn for video footage of behind-the-scene moments. A tip: Encourage takeovers with employees or influencers and ask questions to help create a community.

  2. Curated Conversations

    The ability to converse with brands is more desirable than ever ¾ and more attainable than ever. Consumers are looking to “get-to-know” the company/organization/person, their goals and the causes they support. They want to feel like they are part of the conversation.

    Exclusive groups and podcasts are showing more behind the scene moments and giving brands an opportunity to talk about more than just a sales pitch.

    Private Groups/Communities

    Private groups will be a game changer, moving forward. Facebook has recently changed their algorithm to move group content to the top of the feed. In his article “7 Social Media Trends to Watch Out for Before 2020 Hits,” Oliver Yonchev explains while private communities are not a new concept, brands beginning to curate them, is new. Take advantage of the Facebook algorithm while it lasts.

    As we move into the upcoming year, look to curate exclusive conversation with your loyal followers by posting regularly and engaging with your audience on an authentic level.

    Podcasts

    The popularity of podcasts has growing steadily over the past 10 years. In that same article, Yonchev said 50% of brands have launched or are planning to launch a podcast in the next year. This relatively low-cost investment allows brands to create self-owned, authentic media outside of algorithms.

    If you’re one of those brands starting a podcast, capitalize on your creation by filming and recording simultaneously. Launch the audio on platforms like iTunes, Apple/Google podcasts, Pandora or Spotify while you share the video on social platforms like YouTube and IGTV. This will allow you to reach a larger audience with a single piece of content.

    Even if you’re not looking to start your own podcast, look into sponsoring one with a similar audience to your own. Sponsor a podcaster (read: influencer) to create a paid ad or provide an affiliate link for their audience. Regardless of the sponsorship type, look to get the ad/mention in the first half of the episode. This will ensure you get more impressions, since only 35% of people who listen to podcasts listen to the entire thing, according to Podcast Insights.

  3. Authenticity

Authenticity is the only thing that truly matters as we approach the upcoming year. Trustworthiness and cause matter more to consumers than ever. They aren’t looking to be sold to ¾ they’re looking to be heard, seen and part of the solution. Consumers are supporting brands that “feel real.” They are looking for behind-the-scenes moments and humanity. Make sure your content has a purpose and feels customized. Talk directly to your audience and prioritize their informational needs over your sales pitch.

The goal for 2020? Be perfectly imperfect.