2020 in social media: how can brands get ahead of the game?

The biggest shift for brands’ social media in 2020 is: how to connect with people in ways that they find meaningful. 

While brands are getting used to creating meaningful content – such as social media posts that help tell the story of the brand – there’s a way to go when it comes to connecting with individuals. Brands who are planning their 2020 social media campaigns could start by switching their thinking away from what works best for the brand, and instead looking at what works best for their consumers.

With that in mind, what does 2020 have in store for brands on social media? Here is my list of the top things brands could consider in the year ahead. 


Brands need  to consider commercializing their social media presence. Producing engaging content will always be important, but with more people willing to make purchases on social platforms, brands need to make sure that they invest in social selling. Almost twice as many American brands started investing in social commerce from 2017 to 2018 and the trend is growing in popularity. Your brand can’t be left behind. 

Privacy is a major concern.

Privacy scandals like Cambridge Analytica have made people more aware of the data they’re sharing on social media, and how unscrupulous organizations are able to use that information to manipulate their emotions and actions. In 2020, trust will be the most important factor in brands engaging with consumers. 

Consumers are moving away from the pressure that social media can bring.

We’re seeing more people shifting to private messaging and dark social apps, like WhatsApp and Cocoon; meanwhile, public-facing apps like Instagram are working on ways to decrease the social pressure on their users (such as hiding the number of likes on posts).  This means brands will have to work harder to engage consumers and inspire them to contribute to public conversations. 

Finding and targeting the right audience is becoming harder.

Fake news, fake followers and fake likes have made it even harder for brands to find and target the right audience in recent years. In 2020, regulators and social media companies continue to look at ways to tackle fake news and to ensure that social media remains a place where meaningful collaboration can occur. These new regulations will benefit brands, and while there may be a decline in follower numbers and shares, brands can trust that the engagement they do get is more likely to be genuine. 

Use data-driven insight to deliver meaningful content.  

Data (collected with full respect for people’s privacy choices) provides exceptional insight into the individual consumer’s specific needs and wants. 2020 will see brands refine their social listening tools to help them better understand how they can communicate with people in more meaningful ways.

Consumers trust smaller influencers, so brands will renew their focus on nano-influencers.

Influencer marketing will still play a leading role in social media marketing in 2020, but again, trust is key. Nano-influencers (those with 1000 to 10,000 followers) will be especially important for brands to work with. It’s these influencers who tend to have more time to get to know their own audiences. They’re specialists in their subjects, and their followers are highly engaged in their area of influence. By working with nano-influencers, brands can reach passionate, niche audiences and gain more insight into what kind of content engages specific audiences. 

All this shows that brands will place greater emphasis on meaningful engagement. The most successful brands on social media in 2020 will be those who create genuine connections with their consumers, listening to and understanding what they want from the brand, and letting that insight shape their social media campaigns.


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