2020 Digital Forecast

Dear Doc D, as it’s a new decade, I’m expecting some pretty big things from your crystal ball this year. What can you tell us about all things digital and social?

Doctor Digital Says

All the feels for how epic 2020 is going to be, but what’s the scoop on the digital front you ask? There are scoops a plenty, and some future proofing truth bombs to boot. If you haven’t caught up with the end of year Coach wrap up, start there, as that foreshadows some of the predictions, especially for socials.

If you are an Instagram or Facebook person and by person I mean if you aren’t an influencer you are a business brand, you will be familiar by now with the rug pulling out that has happened in regards to vanity metrics and free organic views of your feed. Getting eyeballs on your stuff is all about using the paid tools, along with ensuring that your adoring fans and followers like, comment and save your posts, helping to give you visibility through validating the algorithm.

The murky unregulated frontier that are Influencers has seemingly been dealt a pretty harsh blow with the removal of likes, and a general reduction in trust in the whole unregulated catastrophe of random popular people pushing brands. What is growing and meaningful is the work of the micro influencer, who are deeply engaged, transparent and authentic with their audiences. Think 5 – 10k followers rather than 500k, and who is in your sector that speaks to their audiences and would be right to partner with your brand. For more on the micro influencer, have a listen to our podcast on Influencers with Katie Parrot, who has some epic intel on how it all rolls and how to work with influencers.

Bottom line, social for business is changing, and the fundamentals are a back to basics approach of giving value through your posts, appreciating that if you want people to pay attention you need to give them something worthwhile amongst the competition, and to do all of that, you have to be close to their needs and wants and desires. Get out your marketing and comms plans, your UX, your data analysis and remember why you started doing what you’re doing, what your ‘why’ was, and how you are in service to the audience you are connecting with.

Work out whether your demographics are after stories, posts in your feed or a combo meal, and give them what they want. Stories has really picked up pace in some industries and segments, and its critical to not be leaving engagement on the table. If you are feeling Gen Z frisky, you can dip your toe into TikTok, the fastest growing channel on the planet right now, and while heavily skewed to the under 25s, there is a smattering of all ages there who are early adopting for their peeps.

I wrote about social listening on the blog a while ago and in the current climate, it is more relevant than ever to keep a close finger on the pulse of what is being said about your brand on socials. Customers want to connect, don’t leave them hanging!

2020 is an election year in the USA, which means that socials will be under pressure to control the fake news and voter manipulation scandals which rocked Facebook in 2016. New regulations will underpin this tightening and as scrutiny grows, so too may censorship and new algorithms to limit a broad range of undesirable posts and pages. These are often buggy at the start and can catch completely innocent pages, so keep your eye on any announcements.

And what of video I hear you ask, as every year for the last four I’ve been pushing the video is sticky mantra. It’s still sticky, but the stickiness is now about live streaming video rather than on-demand stuff. This may be in part due to changes at YouTube, (which will be the subject of a new blog in 2020), but more likely to be part of the hunger for connection and the need to be on fleek with everything in real-time. Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and YouTube are all doing live streaming video, and your brand should be too. What do you have to say that is going to add value to the world? Plan it, prepare for your narrative, then bring it to your feed and your audience in 2020.

My final truth or perhaps love bomb from the crystal ball is to do an audit of where you market and how you connect with your people. 2020 will be another social media roller coaster because that’s how those channels roll. If your business is entirely built on likes and follows, think about your risk mitigation if a change in their business model wipes out yours. Build a safe and secure funnel that you have ownership and control over – email and a great website is the best for this, so if everything changes, you are aren’t high and dry and hostage to a platform you have no control over.

I hope 2020 is your most successful year EVER, and I look forward to keeping you company with my blogs on the Digital Ready website.

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