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The top five social media trends of 2020

As we move into a crucial decade for social responsibility, it’s likely that we’ll see more online branding emphasise green initiatives and sustainable business practices. Likes and follower counts are set to become less important too.

It’s no secret that social media usage changes year to year. As new trends develop and our political landscapes shift, so too do the ways in which we use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our connections with one another and the communities around us are constantly evolving, particularly as far as Gen Z is concerned.

But how will 2020 shake things up? For one, we’re likely to see less emphasis on numeric value on our social media profiles – less likes, followers, and engagement will be visible or present across the web. Video content will probably remain king and TikTok’s popularity is likely to continue to grow. Don’t expect short form video memes to go away anytime soon.

The biggest trend worth talking about, , is increased branding around sustainability and green initiatives in what will be a vital decade for social change. More companies big and small are set to push anti-plastic campaigns, reduced emission programmes, and attempt to connect with social media users through green action.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of all the trends worth keeping an eye on in 2020 below to keep you in the know.

Instagram and Facebook are likely to fade out ‘likes’ and move away from clear cut metrics

Social media sites have had to tread a fine line in recent years.

While they exist to make money and ad revenue, obviously, they’re also now having to contend with the mental health of their users, especially Gen Zers. Having follower counts, ‘like’ tallies, and clear data on how many people engage with your profile is useful for marketers and business, but can take a toll on ordinary people whose self-esteem and self-worth may become tied to social media metrics.

Instagram arguably gets the full brunt of this controversy. The site is routinely accused of encouraging image editing, influencer culture, and perpetuating idealistic standards that are impossible to live up to. So, how can things be improved?

In 2020, social media sites seem keen to scale back their emphasis on numbers and metrics. Instagram has recently been removing the visibility of likes on some posts in the US to test how it affects user experience, and have introduced subtle changes to the platform that encourage users to spend less time scrolling. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, meanwhile, has described follower counts as ‘meaningless’ and has expressed interest in scaling back likes and retweets.

In short, 2020 will be a year that prioritises content quality rather than quantity. It’s more about authenticity than engagement numbers – which is probably a good thing for everyone involved.

Nano-influencers to make a bigger splash than big names

For years our social media profiles have been all about influencers – gaining as much engagement as possible with the biggest names. This is starting to change however, as Facebook events and smaller groups have gained traction throughout 2019.

This year we’ll see much more focus on nano-influencers, smaller content creators whose followers are more closely tied to their work. Think Instagram pages with 10k followers. Brand deals with these profiles are likely to go a long way with a smaller audience.

Companies want to move away from bland, faceless, or uninspired advertising. Reaching people through top profiles with millions of followers is probably less cost effective than hitting up multiple smaller channels with dedicated fan bases.

2020 is set to be a year in which nano-influencing grows significantly.

Increasing activism groups and social change communities popping up online

Speaking of smaller creators, activism groups and social change movements have found a home on social media sites, particularly through Facebook’s groups and events features. Using the internet to reach out to other like-minded people is considered an essential part of creating genuine change and 2020 will see more of this happening around the world.

We saw this happening last year with Greta Thunberg’s marches and climate change rallies, of which there were many across the globe. More smaller, manageable groups are coming together to act and protest against injustice via Facebook groups and WhatsApp messaging. This year will see more of this than ever before.

More emphasis on sustainable branding and green marketing on social media

Company initiatives this decade will be all about sustainability and ethically sound business practices. It’s crucial that brands earn the trust of consumers to be environmentally responsible, something we’ll be seeing a lot more of online as digital advertisement focuses on plastic use, recycling, and charitable donations.

There are some pitfalls with this, mind. For one, there’s a very big risk of greenwashing and confusing miscommunication. We wrote about this several months back and it’s a real possibility in 2020, given that companies have to prioritise sustainability just as much as profitability if they want a chance of being embraced by the public.

But all of this green marketing does mean that business is being pushed and encouraged to be less environmentally damaging. The more engagement that sustainable practices receive, the higher the likelihood that other businesses will follow suit. Here’s to a greener year with more positive social change advertisement.


TikTok will continue to rise with Gen Z

We’ve written a lot about TikTok recently. The app has made a huge splash with consumers worldwide in the last few years, striking a chord with Gen Zers looking for something that’s quick and youth-focused. In recent months the app has managed to finally break through to the mainstream, growing well beyond its original lip syncing content.

This year we should all expect TikTok’s reign to continue, taking over as the main social media platform for under 25s. The app’s emphasis on quick, loose content provides the perfect antidote to the heavily curated aesthetics of apps such as Instagram, which probably explains why parents and businesses have largely avoided it up until now.

2020 could be the year that changes, though, and we may end up seeing new marketing features like magazine-style spreads added in a similar fashion to Snapchat. TikTok content will continue to permeate other platforms such as YouTube, too, so expect plenty more compilation videos to be everywhere online for the foreseeable future.