Social media change rapidly from year-to-year, responding to growing interest and demand and bringing new opportunities. Let’s look at the 3 must-know social media trends that you need to take action on in 2020.
1. Short-Form Video (Content under 15 sec)
Social video remains trending, but a short-form video is the first megatrend for 2020.
Of course, the first type of content that comes to mind in this regard is Instagram Stories, which is not a surprise to a lot of people. Stories are just 15 seconds long, and there are half a billion people watching Stories every day.
These videos are unedited, vertical and shaky, they are done with a phone and don’t look professional, and though weird as it may seem, it is what the world is trending towards.
It’s not only Instagram that has stories, this format is everywhere. It actually started with Snapchat, and then Instagram took the idea, now Facebook has it, and all the social platforms are trending towards this stories’ concept. Even YouTube has Stories now, but they are available only on mobile devices and for channels with 10,000 subscribers and more.
Such popularity of short video results from the idea that we are living in an age where people don’t have much time. And this idea falls dead against what YouTube is. When you go to YouTube, you are likely to consume hours’ worth of content, or you devote considerable time to it. But when you’re on social media, you’re in and you’re out, you don’t spend much time there.
A lot of YouTube creators might struggle with the idea of creating a raw 15-second video that isn’t polished, but while the status of Stories as a new medium is a hard thing to understand, this format is very easy to produce. The challenge that many video creators have is to prepare for making a video, decide on what to talk about, and how to look good and speak excitingly. While with Stories, you just take out a smartphone, say “Hey!”, and show what is going on. It’s done in two clicks. Quickly and easily.
What’s fascinating about this is that the transaction is private, unlike on YouTube. The only way people can communicate on Stories is by actually private messaging. And this is a change in the way creators communicate with the audience. A lot of creators might struggle with this because working with comments can be delegated out to someone else, and with direct messages, you’re expected to respond.
That form of communication doesn’t scale, but at the same time, it allows you to develop core fans in a pretty creative way.
2. Live Video
The second big trend is Live. We’re seeing live a lot of places. Of course, Facebook Live has been around, and YouTube Live has its own different nuances, but there’s something unique about Instagram Live that we should be paying attention to in 2020.
Instagram Live is delivered through the Instagram Stories format, so when you go live, your profile picture appears highlighted in the top of the Instagram feed. The unique thing about Live is that you can go live for as long as you want to, and you can bring people on live and engage with them. It’s vertical video so you can have a stacked experience where you could bring in guests, ask questions, get answers, and even pin comments to the top of the video. You can then take that content and save to Instagram Stories or repurpose that into IG TV or other platforms.
But what’s unique about it is it’s vertical, and it’s done only with your phone, unlike YouTube Live, where you can use technology to pipe the channel in. Instagram Live is only done through the Instagram app, which creates a very different kind of raw, unedited, and real experience.
Some might wonder how these things scale. Instagram Live or Stories is probably going to be hitting smaller numbers of followers comparing with YouTube subscribers, but one of the big important factors here is the depth with your community. It’s the conversation with those that happen to be just watching at that time.
It raises the question, what gets us motivated to take advantage of these trends?
On top of that, it all disappears in 24 hours. So the key thing that a lot of really great creators are doing is they’re just doing Q&A sessions with their audience. They are putting their phone on a little tripod, and some of the people are just sitting in front of the mirror, maybe doing makeup or having coffee in the morning while they’re actually talking to their audience. They watch the questions come up on the screen and give answers. It’s much like going to a Starbucks with a bunch of friends. And while it may not seem scalable, it’s the intimacy thing that takes it to the next level. This is the moment when you can see the followers not passively consuming but actively consuming. And the idea that they could come on live and talk to the creators is a big deal for a lot of followers.
A lot of people do not understand TikTok. However, some experts from the social media marketing world admit that they could sit for literally hours watching tiktoks. These tiktoks are from 15 seconds to 60 seconds long. They are vertical video, and the way TikTok works is different than all the other social platforms.
When you log on the TikTok and set up an account, the platform recommends content based on your behavior, and there are the people that you follow and there is a tab called For You which is just like suggested content on YouTube. The difference is the stuff on TikTok tends to be very much fun, gags, technique – the kind of stuff you would think high schoolers would be interested in, but there’s a lot of people there that are crushing and even Arnold Schwarzenegger is crushing it on TikTok. So it’s not a platform for teenagers as it seems. Brands and businesses also tap into TikTok despite the lack of convenient promotional tools.
It’s a kind of a new medium that is almost like an extension of Instagram Stories except for the content just keeps coming and coming and coming. On YouTube, at the end of the video, they’ll keep playing the next suggested video, on TikTok video just rolls right through constantly. A lot of creators are getting planning a flag in TikTok right now, not quite sure what to make of it. So if you have a big following on some of the other platforms like Instagram or YouTube, experiment with TikTok and just see where it goes.
Remember that TikTok is a fully self-contained platform; there isn’t an easy way to leave it like Instagram, so right now it’s just kind of a platform to watch. It is blowing up; it is the next Snapchat. The big question is going to be how are we going to make sense out of it all, but it’s a megatrend.