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Social Media Marketing Post-COVID: Marketers Predict the Future

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What will a post-COVID world look like for social media marketers? If there’s anything we’ve learned so far in 2020, it’s that nobody can ever be 100% prepared for the future. We can predict trends, strategize and plan, but we all have to be ready to shift marketing and business strategies at any time. 

Over the past several months, we’ve been hosting discussions within the Social Media Today community to learn more about the pandemic and how it has affected businesses and our field of work. Through these conversations, we were able to identify common social media marketing trends that can help us begin to prepare for the future. 

See our recent “Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons from the Pandemic and Beyond” for thought-provoking stories, strategies and advice from marketing professionals in our community.

We followed up with our community more recently to ask their thoughts on what comes next. What will the future look like for people working in social media or digital marketing? Here’s what they predict.

Predictions:

  1. Social media jobs and creativity skills will be valued more than ever.
  2. Video content will continue to rise in production and demand.
  3. The more authentic the content, the better.
  4. Honesty, empathy, and social consciousness will win on social.
  5. Social listening and community engagement will be at the forefront of marketing strategies.
  6. We’ll be constantly adapting to new technology and changing consumer needs.

Continue reading to see what our community anticipates for the future of social media in business.

Predicting the Future of Social Media Marketing

1. Social media jobs and creativity skills will be valued more than ever.

“Everyone has had to rely more on technology over the past few weeks. From video meetings to curbside delivery – every company has had to pivot in some way to keep their business going. Everyone has had to lean into Digital and social media more during COVID and they have learned how to use it differently and better than ever before.  My prediction is that social media content from businesses will become more creative and the digital strategy will be better than ever. The businesses that pushed up their sleeves and got to work on social media marketing efforts during a major crisis will reap the rewards when the crisis starts to fade. Some businesses may have even found a new niche of online business and will continue to grow that area post-COVID.” — Anna Rudicel, Marketing Director of Cyclone Social

Lilach Bullock says, “The COVID crisis will likely make a lasting impact in the world, and social media marketing should reflect that too. Even though restrictions are starting to lift, our lives (the lives of everyone in the world, in fact!) will continue to be very different: social distancing, masks and other protective gear and so on will still to be a big part of everyone’s lives and the way businesses market themselves should reflect that. But out of all marketing strategies, I believe that social media will be the main one to thrive in the post-COVID world. For one thing, it’s easier and cheaper for brands to leverage social media and for another, people all over the world are spending more time indoors than outdoors – and therefore, more time online.”

Dhariana Lozano, President of Block & Ave., also believes social media marketing jobs will be taken more seriously moving forward. Lozano says, “I feel social media content and digital marketing post-COVID might be taken more seriously. Brands that had an engaged online presence were able to still pull their audience and create traffic, sales and new opportunities. Many brands used social media to communicate and keep their audiences updated.” — Dhariana Lozano, President, Block & Ave.

“I see a huge positive shift towards the digital world post-COVID,” says Esa Mbouw, Deputy Head of Business Administration at Swiss German University. “People of all background are adapting to the digital lifestyle and I predict they will be craving for more social media content. This means social media content would be made and delivered to a wider range of audience in all places. The older generation is now keeping up with the trends.”

2. Video content will continue to rise in production and demand.

“I think we are going to see online video continue to explode,” predicts Tabitha Jean Naylor, Owner of TabithaNaylor.com.
“I mean, look at the massive surge in popularity of TikTok since this all started. The companies growth has been incredible. In March of this year alone, it was downloaded 115 million times.”

3. The more authentic the content, the better.

Since the lockdown took place, it’s been really nice to see the human unfiltered side behind brands. Whether that’s videos in the kitchen, with kids and without dressing up, it’s been great to see authentic content. It’s going to be interesting to see whether this continues post-COVID. Similar to brands realizing that their staff can actually work remotely, I expect brands to be more comfortable with creating and publishing unedited visual content.” — Neil Sheth, Digital Content Strategist

No, authentic content is not a new trend, but a certain type of rawness and reliability is now an expectation of brands on social rather than just an audience prefrence.

4. Honesty, empathy, and social consciousness will win on social.

Tabitha Jean Naylor recognizes a shiftting trend towards empethetic messaging from brands on social media: “I think that, at least for the foreseeable future, we’re going to see brand messaging that’s much more empathetic and compassionate.

So much has already changed over the past few months. Many have adjusted their messaging to align with what’s going on in the world and within in their organization. I predict that messaging will soon focus on offering hope and positivity to counterbalance the sadness and uncertainty.” — Rachel Strella, Founder, Strella Social Media

“I think that people are looking to share their experiences so that they can have that connection to others. I also think that gratitude will play a central theme in influencing. I don’t think that audiences will have the same fan following for mega influencers like Kylie Jenner, who do a lot of self-promotion and emphasis “outer beauty” I think that she grew her fan base because there was a need for people who wanted to be like her. Now, I think people will resonate more with people that show “inner beauty” in both mind and spirit.”  — Dory Caplin, CEO of Dream Team Concepts

“The digital marketing world will increase fourfold. I see it growing exponentially every day. Social media content will be a mixed bag of truths, half truths and outright propaganda. The challenge to us consumers will be discerning truth from fiction; noise from facts and useful information.” — Roy Benford, Real Estate Consultant at KellerWilliams Realty

5. Social listening and community engagement will be at the forefront of marketing strategies.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com, predicts a new era of brand-consumer relationships and engagement behaviors on social. “In a post-COVID world, I think there will be a continued emphasis on the needs of the consumer. Social media will become what it has always meant to be: social. Brands will ask consumers for their feedback on how they are doing and what they can offer that has the ability to make the consumer’s life easier. Brands will listen to this feedback and implement new offerings in their company.”

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“Social media content will be created that better engages the consumer — asking questions, sharing polls, and hosting mini-events like Twitter chats and movie watch-along nights that are relevant to their industry on Twitter.”

6. We’ll be constantly adapting to new technology and changing consumer needs.

As always, new technologies will appear and social media platforms with continue updating their platforms to align with new online social needs. As we’ve said before, at any moment things can change; it’s important to never rely fully on any social platform to meet all your marketing needs. For example, be prepared for data and privacy updates to limit your targeting capabilities on social.

The world will forever be changing around us, but as marketers, we seem to be well-equipt to handle any unexpected obstacles thrown in our direction.

To read more on this topic and explore advice from our community on preparing for the future, go check out the complete “Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons from the Pandemic and Beyond.”

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YouTube Tests Improved Comment Removal Notifications, Updated Video Performance and Hashtag Insights

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YouTube Expands its 'Pre-Publish Checks' Tool to the Mobile App

YouTube’s looking to provide more context on content removals and violations, while it’s also experimenting with a new form of analytics on average video performance benchmarks, along with improved hashtag discovery, which could impact your planning and process.

First off, on policy violations – YouTube’s looking to provide more context on comment removals via an updated system that will link users through to the exact policy that they’ve violated when a comment is removed.

As explained by YouTube’s Conor Kavanagh:

“Many users have told us that they would like to know if and when their comment has been removed for violating one of our Community Guidelines. Additionally, we want to protect creators from a single user’s ability to negatively impact the community via comments, either on a single channel or multiple channels.”

The new comment removal notification aims to address this, by providing more context as to when a comment has been removed for violating the platform’s Community Guidelines.

In expansion of this, YouTube will also put some users into timeout if they keep breaking the rules. Literally:

If someone leaves multiple abusive comments, they may receive a temporary timeout which will block the ability to comment for up to 24 hours.”

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YouTube says that this will hopefully reduce the amount of abusive comments across the platform, while also adding more transparency to the process, in order to help people understand how they’ve broken the rules, which could also help to guide future behavior.

On a similar note, YouTube’s also expanding its test of timestamps in Community Guidelines policy violation notifications for publishers, which provide more specific details on when a violation has occurred in video clips.

Initially only available for violations of its ‘Harmful and Dangerous’ policy, YouTube’s now expanding these notifiers to violations related to ‘Child Safety’, ‘Suicide and Self-Harm’, and ‘Violent or Graphic’.

If you’re in the experiment, you’ll see these timestamps in YouTube Studio as well as over email if we believe a violation has occurred. We hope these timestamps are useful in understanding why your video violated our policies and we hope to expand to more policies over time.”

On another front, YouTube’s also testing a new analytics card in YouTube Studio which will show creators the typical amount of views they get on different formats, including VODs, Shorts, and live streams.

YouTube average video performance

As you can see in this example, the new data card will provide insight into the average amount of views you see in each format, based on your the last 10 uploads in each, which could provide more comparative context on performance.

Finally, YouTube’s also launched a test that aims to showcase more relevant hashtags on video clips.

“We’re launching an experiment to elevate the hashtags on a video’s watch page that we’ve found viewers are interested in, instead of just the first few added to the video’s description. Hashtags are still chosen by creators themselves – nothing is changing there – the goal of the experiment is simply to drive more engagement with hashtags while connecting viewers with content they will likely enjoy.”

So YouTube will be looking to highlight more relevant hashtags in video clips, as a means to better connect users to more video clips on the same topic.

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Which could put more emphasis on hashtag use – so it could be time to upgrade your hashtag research approach in line with the latest trending topics.

All of these updates are fairly minor, but they could impact your YouTube approach, and it’s worth considering the potential impacts in your process.

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