What to expect from social media in 2020 2020 may seem like months away, but the truth is that as the evenings grow darker and the temperature drops, the end of the year is well and truly in sight. The new year brings with it many resolutions, lots of retail sales and discounts, and some exciting new developments for technology – especially social media. Ever since the launch of Facebook over 15 years ago, the way we use the internet to interact with each other has never quite been the same, and it seems as though every month there is a new trend or social channel that’s got the young people hooked to their phones and devices. So, with the promise of many more updates and developments, what sort of changes are we likely to see in 2020? Privacy Privacy and online security have become a far bigger threat in recent years, with so many different social channels available and the average user age dropping every year. Information is collected by these social media platforms and we are expected to tick a small box to acknowledge this – but do we know what it all really means? Facebook have recently launched a televised advert about the importance of privacy settings and understanding what information is available to who – and in 2020 we predict be a much larger focus on being aware of your online security. Video content In a world where everyone wants everything immediately, reading a blog suddenly seems long and laborious. Why read a whole article when you could learn the same information in a one-minute video? Video content makes for a great and memorable marketing platform for many small businesses, and as such has seen an incredible rise in usage recently – from video ads to GIF’s that we send privately in messages. Facebook and Instagram have even upgraded to allow for automatic video playing – what more reason do we need to assume video content is set to grow even bigger? Augmented Reality Carrying on the technical branch, augmented reality is set to rise very soon – as the new and more sophisticated older brother of virtual reality. While virtual reality creates something entirely new and makes you feel like you’re in it, Augmented Reality is an extension of what is already there – adding extra elements to existing experiences or images. The most basic explanation of this is the filter features you see on Snapchat and Instagram – being able to alter and add props to existing photos and screens. It will simply be able to do more In short, social media will be able to do more. Facebook and Instagram recently extended many services into online shopping channels, and social media is fast becoming people’s go-to when they want local news and gossip. So much so that very soon we anticipate social media becoming the main news reporter across the board. Promoting engagement and sharing, people are continually reporting that most of what they know about global issues comes from social media – and this is set only to increase as these channels grow. Of course, the risk of fake and highly opinionated news is prominent if you rely entirely on social media for your daily updates, but on the whole social media channels do a good job of filtering the real from the so-called “fake news”, and can even tailor stories just for you based on your interests and location. Specialised search engines If you’re looking for a video or audio example of something specific, you search in YouTube. If you’re looking for a certain person or business, you might use Facebook. If you’re looking for a particular company or organisation, you could use LinkedIn. Becoming more like modern search engines is the direction that many social media channels seem to be moving in, promoting the search function and allowing users access to as much information and predicted search terms as possible. Influencers As social media grows, so too does the barrel of influencers who specialise on each channel. Of course, with so many smaller businesses opening their doors and their websites every single day, influencers are a valuable asset in terms of endorsements and effective consumer marketing. With such high demand, 2020 is likely to see the rise of influencers gain even more traction – and even more competition! Personalisation The more personalised and specific your marketing is, the more of a buzz you will generate among your users. Personalisation is already all over social media, but the challenge remains that with the increase in privacy and security, gaining the information needed to create a unique and personal experience on every channel could begin to be a problem. How social media channels deal with this will be interesting to look out for – watch this space! In short, 2020 will be a big year of social media. A constantly evolving and always updating platform for marketing and online interaction, each channel has its own user base, its own demographic and its own benefits. Each of the above trends exist in some form already, and how social media chooses to develop these in the next 12 months will certainly be an interesting one to watch.