With more than three billion people now using social media every single day, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to your brand or client’s social media activities.

But this can be tricky when social media keeps changing. There have been a host of updates to social media platforms throughout 2019 and into 2020. There are also a ton of new trends that affect how users engage on these platforms. Each of these changes has been a catalyst for businesses to adjust their social media marketing strategies and tactics.

In order to stay competitive, you need to adjust your strategy, as well. Here are seven tactics that your social media strategy needs in 2020, including examples of these social media strategies in action.

Target true engagement

Cheating the system to encourage engagement has been a popular social tactic for some time, but it is a social media marketing mistake to avoid. Brands will share posts that suggest users simply “tag a friend in the comments below” to rack up interaction figures without actually creating a conversation. But algorithms are getting smarter, and engagement bait isn’t going to cut it this year as platforms crack down on spammy systems for garnering likes and shares.

With organic reach declining and more businesses upping their social ad spend, content needs to be truly interesting and engaging so that followers, and wider audiences, can’t help but get involved. Whether that’s irreverent conversation in the style of the MERL and Gregg’s, or creating artistic vertical video for Facebook, it’s more important than ever to find the voice and the stories that work for you

Work with micro-influencers

On the theme of true social media engagement, it’s no surprise that micro-influencers continue to win ground over their more celebrity-like counterparts. Aside from budget benefits, in that micro-influencers often work on a gifting basis or simply have much lower fees than the big names, research continues to show that their audiences are more highly engaged and can be more niche-specific than all-singing, all-dancing social media stars.

Some research has even clearly shown that once a profiles amasses more than a few thousand followers, engagement rates on sites like Instagram start to rapidly decline. Collaborating with digital socialites who have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers comes at a fraction of the usual influencer cost, but with a likelihood that genuine engagement will be much greater.

This is in part attributed to a level of believability that can be lost with bigger “influencers.” While some brands turned their nose up at the idea of micro-influencer collaborations in 2018, anyone hoping to produce credible collaborative work this year needs to embrace the up-and-comers.

How to jump on the trend: Take the time to research up-and-comers in your niche. Search relevant hashtags to find social stars who aren’t represented by agencies, where audiences are smaller and engagement rates are higher. Plan influencer campaigns based on relevancy, not audience size.

 Get rid of fake followers

On the theme of genuine engagement and influencer marketing, it would be wrong not to address the issue of fake social followers that really gained momentum throughout 2018. Fake and spam accounts have been around since the dawn of social media, but now it’s increasingly common to find so-called “influencer” profiles with millions of followers, where the reality isn’t quite what it seems. Even politicians and celebrities have been caught cheating.

Part of the reason that it’s so important to check engagement rates before connecting with an influencer is that audience size does not necessarily equal views or activity. Fake followers and paid-for likes can make it seem that someone is popular, but on closer inspection, collaborating could be a waste of time and money.

2019 is already shaping up to be the year that fake followers are public enemy number one, with sites like Instagram and Facebook announcing their plans to stamp out fraudulent activity once and for all.

Test out augmented reality ads

AR is making waves in customer experience already, used in apps that help customers try on sunglasses and makeup, or imagine what a paint color might look like on their living room wall. Facebook has already been testing AR-ready advertising, which allows users to tap a product ad and try the item out without ever leaving their newsfeed. But Snapchat has long led the way, offering brands the chance to target consumers with branded selfie filters and stickers.

Augmented Reality has been hailed by some as the future of digital marketing, though the impact it will have will (at least for a while) depend on your industry. Beauty and fashion brands are naturally the early adopters, with NYX, Sephora, and Michael Kors already testing out the new Facebook function.

But equally, homewares brands like Wayfair are not far behind—and just as Pinterest’s shoppable pins help users go from inspiration to checkout in a matter of moments, AR advertising on social looks set to create a more impulse purchase-ready arena.

How to jump on the trend: If your budget stretches as far as AR ads and apps, it’s time to get developing. If these things still feel well out of reach, now’s the time to take notes, learn from successes and failures, and prepare ideas for a future date when AR technology has become more widely accessible.

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