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5 social media trends for small businesses

By Fi Darby

The daily usage of social media has immensely increased over the years. According to the latest global figures, more than half of the world uses social media. More than 4.7bn people around the world use social media, and 227 million new users have come online within the last 12 months. The average daily time spent using social media is 2h 29m.

For those interested in social media trends for business, it’s worth noting these social media statistics and the fact that online shopping is still growing. Social media marketing can also be an income boosting side hustle and is set to be as fast-paced in the years to come. 

Existing platforms are dropping ‘likes’ and loving ‘stories’ and newer apps such as TikTok are eagerly starting to exploit Australia’s online market. If you’re a small business owner, you need to keep up with social media trends and their implications for your marketing strategies

5 social media trends for small businesses

  1. Vanity metrics are losing their emphasis.
  2. Social media will become vital to customer service.
  3. Video content is strong and growing.
  4. Influencers will require increased authenticity.
  5. Social media groups will have the real marketing power. 

1. Vanity metrics are losing their emphasis.

The reign of the social media ‘like’ is almost over. In an attempt to have a positive impact on mental health, both Facebook and Instagram have been trialling a reduction in the visibility of ‘likes’ on their platforms. Australia has been one of the first countries involved in these trials. 

Some trial social media feeds have noticed that other people can no longer see their numbers of ‘likes’ and ‘views’, although they can still see it for themselves. If trials prove successful, this removal of visibility will shift the focus of social media marketing towards higher value and community-based content.

However, it’s worth remembering that engagement measured in numbers is not as important as engagement measured in sales. It may well be that a shift in your content style and your community engagement strategies bring about the results you’re seeking. This trend will have particular significance for industries that utilise high volumes of social media images and videos. For example, the beauty market including beauticians and hairdressers.

2. Social media will become vital to customer service

online chat, social media concept

When a customer complaint is posted online, it has a large audience. Negative responses to your small business services can be highly visible and have the potential to be damaging. You might be surprised how many negative reviews, complaints and comments about your business are out there. 

Failing to respond quickly enough to consumers is a mistake you don’t want to make on a public platform. Globally, over a third of social media consumers expect an answer to queries within 30 minutes.

The personal training and fitness market is a good example of how important social media feedback can be. With this type of one-to-one service, connection and relationships are everything, making negative feedback particularly damaging. 

The good news is that social media can give you great opportunities to provide excellent and publicly visible customer service. This is an important social media trend for 2020. By learning more about social media for business and developing a solid social media customer service strategy, you can enhance your public profile and build consumer confidence.

3. Video content is strong and growing.

If you already have a social media side hustle going, you’ll know that social media video content continues to be really popular. In fact, video is one of the key social media trends for 2020. By 2022, it is predicted that 82% of traffic on the global internet will be video traffic

This means that social media platforms are going to be maximising on the potential of video content. It also means that social media platforms such as TikTok, which specialise in enhanced and community video content, are going to see an increase in popularity.

For small businesses, response to this prioritisation may well require a re-focusing of social media efforts and the development of new social media skills. Online training is a great way to build your social media toolkit. Upskilled’s 10118NAT - Diploma of Social Media Marketing is a nationally recognised course, which includes units on planning, implementing and managing social media marketing strategies.

4. Influencers will require increased authenticity.

social media influencer concept

The continuing popularity of social media means that influencer marketing is going to be with us for some time to come. Paid social media advertising campaigns can be expensive and working with influencers to promote your brand is a useful alternative. Not only can the right influencers generate sales, they can also up your standing in important online communities

Influencer marketing has recently had some bad press and there are suggestions that the public are fed up with high paid celebrity promotions. One of the key social media trends for businesses in 2020 is that personalised comments from small, authentic influencers are going to carry a lot of weight with consumers.

Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be limited to the wider online community. Employees make great influencers and can really strengthen your brand’s reputation. As well as being good for you, employee advocacy can also be a positive for your employees. It helps them to gain recognition as industry experts and can help them feel more involved in company decisions.

5. Social media groups will have the real marketing power.

Social media began as a platform for sharing information and pictures with families and friends. As it grew, its potential for marketing was picked up on and providers started to introduce promotion-based attributes such as business pages and paid advertising. 

Whilst this has seen success, this type of direct social media advertising does not appeal to everybody. Marketing strategies that operate within social media groups target a smaller but finely defined audience. It’s clear that this is a key social media trend from Mark Zuckerberg’s comments about Facebook Groups -  “Groups are now at the heart of the experience, just as much as your friends and family are.”

A social media group that represents your brand is easy to set up and gives you a fantastic opportunity to share information and offers. Not only that, your own social media group is a great way to form uninterrupted lines of communication with your audience

Once your group is set up, it’s important to regularly join in with discussions but avoid over involvement. You should also avoid direct sales pressure within the group. This is a place for subtlety and community engagement. 

Study social media marketing to boost your business or side hustle

Whichever way you look at it, social media marketing is the future for businesses of any size. For small to medium-sized businesses, it offers the opportunity to build a marketing strategy around values that really matter. Community, dependability and a loyal audience are worth their weight in gold when competition is strong. 

Online learning can make a real difference when it comes to your skills toolkit and knowledge base. Upskilled’s 10118NAT - Diploma of Social Media Marketing has been specifically designed to give the skills required to make sure your business is making the most of the opportunities offered by social media marketing. If you want to keep ahead of the social media trends for 2020, get in touch today with the Upskilled team to make a start.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in February 2020. Content has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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