Top 5 Social Media Trends (What it Means for You)

7-min read

Hootsuite’s social media trends report for 2020 and how you can apply it to your business.

Every year Hootsuite, a social media management platform tool, releases a yearly report on social media trends. This year Hootsuite uncovered major trends that can heavily impact the way your business manages their social media profiles. In this article, you’ll learn the top five social media trends and what they mean for you.

Social Media Trends

Trend #1) Many brands use both public and private engagement.


As you may already know, privacy has become a common concern for many social media users. To combat this, major social networks are launching more private features to better protect their audience. For example, LinkedIn recently released a ‘teammates feature’ – which ensures the people on your team never miss an update, report or other important internal news.

While private channels can keep your team informed, public social media feeds are just as important. In fact, according to the annual social media trends report, 52% of brand discovery online happens in public social feeds. This is where the audience member becomes enlightened about a product or service for the first time directly from browsing on social media.

Hootsuite concluded that successful brands utilize both private and public feeds because they’re advantages to both. For instance, public feeds increase reach and brand awareness while private feeds grow relationships and build trust with your audience.

Furthermore, the report predicts that more and more businesses are creating a seamless journey between private and public channels as well as automate basic conversations with artificial intelligence bots. AI bots can help initiate conversations, guide buyers in the right direction, and can save you time.


What it Means for You:


This trend of utilizing both private and public sectors for engagement means you should use both too – but be cautious – private and public features tend to be treated very differently. For example, use private feeds when you need to share links, photos, and other important files internally. Use public feeds when you want to communicate directly to your target audience.

You must respect the nuances of private channels and not be overbearing to your audience. Many people use Facebook and other social media channels to communicate with friends and family, not necessarily with businesses. Don’t overstep your boundaries by bombarding your audience with constant private messages. Be strategic and let the bot answer simple questions to start the conversation.


Trend #2) Employers are your biggest source of trust


It’s no question that your employers should be trustworthy. Your trust them by communicating with clients, completing projects and holding each other accountable. According to Hootsuite, 75% of people look to employers as the most trusted information. So, how does this relate to social media?

Businesses across the world are “making things better” more so than “making better things”. They’re doing this by using their trusting employee advocates to fuel the trust between the business and the consumer. Think of it like this: if the employee is happy, trustworthy and loves their company, what’s stopping the consumer from thinking the same thing?

Let’s take the brand Patagonia as a case study example. Patagonia’s culture revolves around treating their employees as their best customers. One of the employees of Patagonia turned to social media to share how wonderful her maternity leave benefits were and it went viral:


Holly, the proud viral mother, has ultimately shed light on how great Patagonia treats their employees. Note her sentence where Patagonia has “100% retention of moms”. Which in turn, makes people attracted to the brand more. Holly’s genuine social media post has fueled trust between Patagonia and their audience in the perfect way.

What it Means for You:


This means you must make employee advocacy a business priority. One of the main takeaways of trend two is to act before you talk about it. Patagonia already has a great maternity leave program in place and Holly simply shared her appreciation. Consider tactics like Patagonia and have your staff be your most trusted customers.

According to the research report, the biggest challenge with making employee advocacy a priority is finding time to source content and run the program. Additionally, Hootsuite recommends that this practice needs to be a corporate strategy to be the most effective. Your organization must lead from the top.


Trend #3) The rise of Tik Tok



For starters, Tik Tok was formally named Musicly and it’s the first popular social media platform from China. The whole premise behind Tik Tok is to create short, relatable videos focused on music. The main target audience of Tik Tok is Generation Z, which are individuals 16 to 24 years of age.

Tik Tok has been noted to use sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) tactics by using machine learning to track details of user interests. In fact, the users of Tik Tok can have a personalized feed and custom content within minutes of using the app. So far, there are 800 million monthly active users and the most installs were during the first three months of 2019.

Recently research suggests Tik Tok might be slowing down in popularity. Hootsuite notes that they have seen a 4% decline in first-time downloads year over year. Although Tik Tok can be a valuable source of insights for the next generation, I don’t recommend utilizing it in your social media marketing strategy.

What it Means for You:


This relatively new and trending application is not commonly used for businesses but more so for person to person relationships. Hootsuite concluded that the Tik Tok “hype” will not last and businesses need to be weary in participating. Unless Gen Z is your targeted audience and you feel comfortable creating short, interactive and relatable videos with music, then Tik Tok is not for you.

Although the hype will not last, it’s advised to keep an eye on Tik Tok. This trend means that the next generation values video creation because it fuels real people doing fun and creative things. Next time you need to generate content for your business’s social media or website, consider Tik Tok’s overall strategy.


Trend #4) Changes in Performance Marketing


This trend revolves around the changes to social and performance marketing. For example, many social media platforms are taking away “likes” and turning to online digital advertising to become the entry point. In fact, 44% of senior marketers cite driving conversions as the desired outcome for social.

Companies are taking note of how well their social media platforms are performing to deliver a type of concrete ROI. Besides, companies need a strong brand and performance to succeed. Social media gurus are also updating their day to day tasks by approaching social media with a more holistic skill set.

In other words, social marketing teams are doing it all – manage an online community, make creative content, analyze the social data, make day to day interactions with the audience and planning content for the future. They are using this do-it-all approach to not only drive short-term conversions but also to create long-term strategies that build the brand. 


What it Means for You:


It means you need to start looking at social media to fuel conversion if you haven’t already. Social media is another platform where you can sell your products and services, get instant consumer feedback and build relationships with your target audience. You must unite your social media tactics with your SEO tactics for optimal performance.

This trend also means that it takes time for brands to grow on social media. You must give your brand campaign time to perform to see measurable results. In other words, brand building happens over time and you need to be patient for your target audience to love your brand just as much as you do.


Trend #5) Social Proof Gap is Closing


Recent research suggests that social proof is a psychological theory that describes a human’s tendency to rely on the opinions or actions from others to inform our own. It can have a big or small influence on how one operates their day to day lives. Since this social proof gap is closing, it’s challenging social marketers to drive more business results.

Everyone wants their social media profiles to earn them a profit, but sadly that is not the case. In fact, most social markets aren’t using any type of attribution model to measure the success of their campaigns. It’s hard to prove the value of social media with no attribution model in place. Hootsuite mentions that although there is no one universal perfect method, companies need to start somewhere to recognize ROI on social.


There are three traits for measuring confident ROI:


  • Unite social media with other data for a holistic view – this means that during your monthly reporting, be sure to include social media data in your report as well. For example, take note of your CRM updates, digital analytics and analyzing them into the whole set.
  • Omni-channel marketing – this means that the same message is promoted across the board on all platforms. For instance, what you put on Facebook should be connected to other marketing initiatives. Let social strength your message, not confuse your audience.
  • Attribution models you already have – Hootsuite recommends to not reinvent the wheel when it comes to attribution. If something is working for your business, keep it going but don’t get lost in attribution.


What it Means for You:


By now you should know that your social media techniques need to align with your other marketing tactics, but what exactly can you do for this to happen? Hootsuite recommends standardizing UTM codes. UTM codes are snippets of text attached to the end of a URL in order to track a source, medium or campaign name with Google Analytics.

This will help you determine which platforms and campaigns are the most successful with your target audience. In addition to UTM codes, you must invest in both the skills and tools for winning social media perception. Writing engaging content is one thing but having the necessary tools and expert guidance is another.

Going forward you should consider these tactics for your business’s social media. Hootsuite’s report has helped many businesses reshape the way they approach social and the company itself is trusted by more than 18 million customers. If you need help with any of the techniques I mentioned, then reach out to an experienced social marketer for help.

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