Top Trends in Social Communications

Predictions are bountiful this time of year. With so many viewpoints, social communicators can be left scratching their heads wondering which ones are ‘most likely to succeed’. The answer? 

It depends. 

Communication strategies are like fingerprints—no two are identical. As a result, the trends, tactics and target audiences that apply to one strategy may not be relevant to another. Having said that, below are my best bets for this year.

Video, video, video. People are becoming more passive in their consumption of content. Whether it’s via YouTube, IGTV, Facebook Watch, LinkedIn Video, Snapchat Shows or TikTok, showing (and telling) is better than telling alone. For example, a new State of Video Marketing Survey finds that people watch an average of 16 hours of online video per week—a 52{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} increase in the last 2 years. And, 86{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of people would like to see more video content from brands in 2020. The same survey found that 92{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy, and 59{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of those who don’t currently use video, say they plan to start in 2020.

Stories. Storytelling has always been an integral part of public relations communications. The format of telling stories has evolved throughout history and 2020 is no different. The most popular social media platforms—Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp particularly, have been instrumental in the most recent changes. For instance, more than 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories every day, and the same number use WhatsApp Status (their version of Stories). This is especially important if your target audience is younger. A study by VidMob showed 59{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of Millennials and 70{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of Gen Z users watch Instagram Stories.

Social Listening. Social listening is used for many purposes, but one of the most common use cases is for research—audience, trends, competitors and products. Other uses include reputation management, garnering feedback, and improving customer service. According to one survey, social listening is not limited to Facebook and Twitter but also takes place on Instagram (71{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7}), YouTube (65{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7}) and Reddit (27{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7}) in addition to others. Another recent report showed that 90{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of consumers try to reach out to brands via social media—and you need to be listening when they do.

Personalization. Recent research shows 90{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} of those surveyed found personalization particularly appealing, and 80{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7} said they would be more likely to do business with a brand that presents a personalized experience. Many communicators are going to take this a step further to hyper-personalization through the use of segmented big data, artificial intelligence, A/B testing, and user-generated content.  Of note, a Gartner study concluded that B2B companies investing in digital personalization technology are outselling their counterparts by approximately 30{fb2cd6ecc5ea822e7d55867f94952838aab4b89ae39846a722113040866900c7}, but they caution there is a fine line between hyper-personalization and “creepy”. 

One more growing trend worth mentioning is a result of intensifying privacy concerns, which is leading to increasing usage of ‘dark social’—the usage of private messaging apps and texting. While this makes it more challenging (but not impossible) to monitor, track and evaluate, it is nonetheless an important factor to consider. 

What social communication schemes are you investing in or implementing this year?

Chris Kuban Chris Kubanstarted Chemistry PR and Multimedia with a vision to effectively formulate corporate and non-profit brands across the country. In doing so, he has become an expert in Media Relations, Event Management, Social Media implementation and video production.  He engages, coordinates and oversees a diverse team of local and national suppliers, vendors, employees and consultants, allowing him to successfully coordinate over 120 national events focusing on overall logistics, media relations and his clients’ expected ROI. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.