There’s no denying that 2019 was a game-changer for social media platforms. Google+ bit the dust in April of this year, Tik Tok became an overnight sensation, Facebook was forced to create more transparency for consumers and just this month, Instagram opened up Collabs Manager to connect creators and brands.
The nature of social media marketing platforms is that they evolve often and quickly, which means that the best practices that marketers need to follow to see success, also need to adapt.
But, that begs the question: Are marketers actually adapting their social media marketing approach at the rate that they should to be successful?
Creating Meaningful Experiences That Inspire
Since inception, social media platforms have launched with a very clear objective in mind: connecting like-minded people together to share and communicate digitally, much like they would in the real world.
As these platforms start to be adopted by marketers as a communication method, there is a large shift in the way that they are leveraged. Two-way communication is overlooked in favor of pushing brand and product messages to what is considered a captive audience.
2020 is the year that B2B social media marketers must go back to basics. Instead of utilizing social platforms as a way to push communication, they’ll need to focus on implementing social strategies that are designed to create meaningful experiences for their audience in an authentic and transparent way that inspires them to take action or develop loyalty for the brand.
By participating in and helping to lead this new narrative, successful marketers will find that their audience is much more engaged than in years past. What do our other social media marketing experts predict for social in 2020? Read on to find out.
13 B2B Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2020
Vice President, Digital & Social Media at Wells Fargo
Targeted, Authentic Conversations on Social Platforms
As social media connection centers around the video, story and message threads of authentic users, I see brands evolving their approach to interact with these consumers. My prediction is that brands will divert spend from large paid awareness campaigns to more targeted authentic conversations found on platforms like Reddit or in Facebook Groups. Essentially a shift of paid spend to the channels enabling a more focused and direct conversation with a customer. Personalization will continue to dominate social conversation, as brands emphasize both staying connected and infusing some fun into the message.
Sr. Marketing Manager at Cox Business
The Shift to Social Commerce
Brand adoption of social commerce in 2020 is poised to be a significant trend. Social commerce isn’t traditional social media marketing that drives visitors to an online store, website, or e-commerce platform, but rather the entire shopping experience from browsing to comparing products, to making a purchase takes place on the native social media platform.
While we are still in the early stages of social commerce, it’s growing quickly. The barriers to entry are low for businesses of all sizes, and those who begin adoption, testing, and experimenting in 2020 will be well ahead of the curve.
Brands will adopt social commerce to include the entire shopping experience from browsing to combining products, to making a purchase on the native social media platform. @martinjonesaz Click To Tweet
Global Head of Social Media Strategy at Cognizant
Renew Focus by Leading with Internal Influencers
In 2020, brands will continue to have difficulty to connect to organic social media feeds due to the cacophony of content and the algorithm Armageddon. And, paid social bidding will continue to increase, stressing content and social media marketing ROI. This evolution will necessitate brands to identify and cultivate internal influencers— the SME and leadership rock stars, who will become the center of business unit gravity for their target community. With a renewed focus on training and storytelling, this influential group will help brands connect with and build meaningful digital and in-person relationships.
Brands will put internal influencers at the center of social to renew focus on training and storytelling for their target social community to connect with and build meaningful digital and in-person relationships. @GerryMoran Click To Tweet
Director, Social Media Marketing at Oracle
Make Personalization Authentic & Transparent
Personalization in Social Media is no longer going to be a “nice-to-have” but a key strategy for brands in 2020. The challenge for savvy social media marketers will be to make personalization authentic and transparent by finding the right balance of technology and human. Data and machine learning will be crucial to help you better understand, target and engage with your audiences. However, use customer data wisely, as they have placed their trust in you and trust is what you need to create a deeper relationship with your customers.
In 2020, marketers will need to make personalization on social media authentic and transparent by finding the right balance of technology and human, while still building trust with customers. @srijanaa Click To Tweet
Director – Global Marketing, Sodexo
Credible & Meaningful Engagements
According to the data, Joe Pulizzi was spot on when he asserted at CMI this year that marketers need to get ready for the end of social. Consumers are going through ‘digital detox’, accelerated by consumer sensitivity to data privacy and security across all consumer segments. This makes it more important than ever for marketers to ensure our social presence is credible and meaningful to effectively engage our audience, while also preparing for what’s next as our audience moves to new channels. As always, marketers will need to lead the change for our organizations.
Customer sensitivity to data privacy and security will make it more important than ever for marketers to ensure our social presence is credible and meaningful to effectively engage our audience. @marketermalone Click To Tweet
Founder, CEO and Keynote Speaker at iSocialFanz
Aligning Around Real-Time Customer Engagement
In 2020 social media marketing will move from vanity metrics and twitter squabbles to transparent and authentic channels for brands to build trust and extend their marketing leveraging employees, brand advocates and real-time customer engagement.
Global Social Media Communications at Boston Scientific
Social Listening for Deeper Insights
While it isn’t a new trend, a key area of focus for me next year is social listening and insights. There is increasing pressure for companies to level up their analytics capabilities to keep up with the growing mountain of data pouring in from all sides. If used properly, this data can lead to better reporting, forecasting and strategic planning. Social listening, in particular, can help with market research, issue detection/management, competitive intel, brand perception, etc. I’m excited to invest in tools and capabilities that will enable deeper insights and to see where the data leads us.
CEO at Jeffbullas.com
Implementing Technology to Create Content at Scale
Content creation has always been one of the big challenges for marketers. In the past, it was hard to scale or automate. In 2020, one of the top trends will be the ongoing evolution of creating video content at scale using technology including machine learning and AI. Two different companies at the forefront of this are ShuttleRock which transforms images into video into mobile video ads for every channel. The other is the InVideo platform and app that can convert articles into videos.
Director, Brand Publishing and Enterprise Social Media at Adobe
Back to Community Building Roots
In 2020, social media will go back to its community-building roots. When I started managing social media programs back in the late 2000s (humble brag ! And a sign I’ve been around perhaps too long…), there were no paid social media programs, everything was earned. We had to be creative, clever, and actually connect with people in our community.
Now that social platforms have become broadcast channels for leveraging paid, we are all becoming immune to their sway. This will drive social managers to get creative and look more deeply at building real community again by all focusing on the same objective — how do I connect with my customers? One way to build a community is to partner with micro-influencers by bringing them into your high-touch customer community.
International Keynote Speaker, Thought Leader, Analyst
The Truth of the Customer
Social media has become an online reflection of a fractured society. In 2020, social media will experience its worst polarization yet…and, it’s all by design and orchestrated by ill-willing actors. This isn’t about politics, this is about attention span, emotion and mental capacity. If you’re a social media marketer, this is your market…a human network of people who are debating one another, fighting among each other, stoking their communities, trying to keep up with the barrage of information, and misinformation, to stay informed. Now, let’s talk about social media marketing in this climate. The last thing we need is more marketing. What people need is a reassuring sense of reprieve, entertainment or genuine engagement. Customers need insights and direction. In 2020, and for years to follow, empathy becomes the killer app. In a time when truth is elusive and even divisive in other conversations in our lives, we need to find common truth in something. That’s the heart of any community. Let customer truth guide your strategy from here on out. Be the truth of the customer.
Director, Global Social Media at Oracle
The Intersection of Personalization & Technology
Personalization will be the expectation. As technology is evolving, so are consumer expectations. In a recent survey, 80% of respondents said they are more likely to do business with a brand that offers a personalized experience. Next year will see social marketers increase investments in dynamic advertising, personalized video, chatbots, and retargeting campaigns to create unique experiences that nudge buyers along the journey.
Having the right social listening/monitoring platform in place will be key to organic growth. Gathering real-time insights in order to accurately interpret buyer intent (pre or post-purchase), answer questions expeditiously, and acknowledge and resolve complaints quickly, will help marketers connect with consumers – in the right place, at the right time, with the right message.
As technology evolves, so do customer expectations. Social media personalization will become the expectation for creating unique experiences that nudge buyers along the journey. @lisa_marcyes Click To Tweet
Social Media Speaker and Consultant
Custom GIFs for Injecting Humor
My top social media trend in 2020 will be custom GIFs. We all know how popular GIFs are. They are a simple and easy way to convey tone as well as fun and humor in a post or comment. The best way to level this up is to create and use your own custom GIFs. It’s a great way to grow your bond and connection with your audience. Who wouldn’t want to see you giving a thumbs up with a big smile on your face? The best part, you’ll see your engagement grow exponentially. People just love responding to tweets and comments when you share a piece of yourself in it.
CEO at TopRank Marketing
Humanizing B2B by Borrowing From B2C
Behind every business to business company are people who increasingly expect B2C experiences, especially when it comes to social networks. Empathy for what the business buyer wants when it comes to information discovery and engagement in 2020 means borrowing content creation strategies and tactics from B2C. From live streaming shows on LinkedIn to server unboxing videos on YouTube to behind the scenes Stories content that promotes the latest research, B2B marketers that consumerize social experiences will stand out, and in turn, buyers will stand up to engage.
B2B buyers will increasingly expect B2C experiences on social networks. B2B marketers that consumerize social experiences will stand out, and in turn, buyers will stand up to engage. @leeodden Click To Tweet
Jumpstart Your Focus on Customer Engagement Now!
There are many elements to creating a successful B2B social media strategy for 2020 and beyond. But at the core, each of these predictions centers around the customer experience. Be it authenticity, humor, the privacy of data or simply having the right technology in their stack, marketers will need to lean in on consistently creating great experiences across platforms to inspire their audience.
How do you plan on utilizing social media in 2020 to inspire your audience?
What else is on the 2020 marketing horizon? Get a glimpse with our roundup of top B2B influencer marketing trends for 2020.