The use of social media has increased tremendously over the last few years and shows zero signs of slowing down. In the past, social media used to be a place where you could give a quick “Happy Birthday” to an old friend, or post a #ThrowbackThursday photo of your children when they were young.

Now, brands cannot afford to ignore the growth of social media any longer. It is imperative that brands learn how to use social media to their advantage and leverage these platforms to drive results for their business.

As new trends continue to appear throughout social media, it is crucial that marketers stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and information that will benefit their overall social strategy.

After reviewing data from previous years and the new trends that have appeared in 2019, we are going to take a deeper dive into the top five trends we can expect to see in 2020.

Trend #1 – Live video will continue to increase.

Live video started appearing toward the end of 2016 and has grown dramatically since then. If you are not currently utilizing live video in your social efforts, now is the time to start.

Why? It’s simple – people love video content. We are visual beings. In fact, 80% of audiences prefer watching live video rather than reading a blog or article. In addition, social media users also greatly favor live video over text posts now, with 82% of users preferring a live video.

This is why many platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, have implemented live streaming options for users and brands. One of the biggest trends to pay attention to over the next few months is Stories. Stories are on the rise and becoming one of the most prominent ways to share content. They help to capture the user’s attention and encourage engagement.

Marketers must educate themselves on just how important live video is and monitor its growth in use.

Trend #2 – Influencer marketing will continue to evolve, especially on Twitter.

While many are already familiar with influencer marketing, the way it is being used on social media is definitely evolving.

Companies are now partnering with influencers to increase their awareness, credibility, and engagement.

Most of these influencers are considered micro-influencers because they are not of a celebrity status, but they do have a pretty large following. In some cases, companies with a larger budget partner with influencers of higher status too, like celebrities.

There a few reasons why it is a good idea to partner with influencers to market your brand or product. One reason is that it is typically a very cost-effective approach to advertising. Because the trend is a bit newer, not many influencers have a standard rate card but rather take on projects on a case-by-case basis. Many companies even exchange free products or services for the post – instead of paying an upfront rate. Another reason is that influencers tend to have very high engagement rates. This, in turn, drives their followers to a brand’s page and results in an increased following, engagement, or traffic to the company’s website.

Because of the ever-changing privacy laws on Facebook and Instagram, for example, Twitter is a platform where we can predict an increase in influencer marketing over the next year.

Trend #3 – eCommerce companies will begin to make a push within the social world.

eCommerce companies will start to dive into social platforms as a means for selling their products. We have seen this start to roll out with platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.

As technology continues to advance and traffic continues to grow on the various social platforms, we can expect to see this trend grow immensely over the next year.

Trend #4 – Paid advertising is not slowing down anytime soon, and brands will need to start taking advantage of this method.

While it is crucial that brands maintain an active presence on social media, that is simply not enough to keep up with the growth and competition. In fact, Facebook currently has over 6 million advertisers and Instagram has over 2 million monthly advertisers.

This is because social media advertising has greatly advanced over the last few years with comprehensive targeting, new ad objectives, new features and updates, and much more. In addition, it is fairly simple to create ads with different objectives to split-test and see what is working and what is not.

Social media also allows you to adjust your budget in real-time. You can change your budget daily, weekly, monthly, or just set up a campaign with a total budget in mind. This way, if your ad is not performing well, you can simply pause it and create another one.

If you are not currently advertising on social media, you are late to the party.

Trend #5 – Social media use will continue to grow overall.

This trend should be a given. A study was recently published that analyzed the global use of internet, social media, and mobile.

This study found that social media use has grown significantly over the last few years and has continued to stay on an upward trend. In 2019, there are currently over 2.7 billion social media users with an expected growth to 3.02 billion users by 2021.

All of this information just proves how much social media has grown and will continue to grow over the next few years. We may even see new platforms arise, and we will most definitely see new features and updates to existing platforms.

If your brand is not yet utilizing social media for your advantage, you may be missing out on potential new customers and overall business.