Social media never seems to sit still. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on what methods you need to be doing for your business, bang, there’s a new platform, a new feature, or a new algorithm that’s forcing you to change course.

Of course, you can’t do everything, nor can you constantly be adjusting your social media strategy on the fly. A better way to do it: pay attention to social media trends, and look for patterns in them that you can use to guide your next steps. To help you get started, we’ve outlined some of the most compelling social media trends of the year and what we can learn from them. Let’s dive in.

1. Behold the Rise of User-Generated Content

User-generated content (or UGC) is taking off, with customers turning into advocates for brands for the benefit of both businesses and consumers. And it’s clear to see where these advantages come from. Ninety-two percent of consumers trust UGC more than traditional advertising, which is in line with the growing importance of peer-to-peer recommendations and influencer marketing. For brands themselves, UGC is a low-cost, high-impact way to increase brand integrity, with a constant churn of valuable content that requires very few resources to maximize on and maintain.

2. Gen Z Is On The Scene

Social media marketing used to be all about connecting with Millennials, but today, you’d be remiss if you neglected Gen Z. This generation spends the most time on social and is shaping how brands interact with their audiences, and where they do it. If your audience includes consumers who are 25 and under, then you’ve got to meet them where they’re at — which means it’s time to amp up your usage of Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok.

3. Success Is About More Than Just Clicks

Click-through-rates from social media dropped from 2018 to 2019. If you only measure your social media success through your CTR then, you’re probably going to end up frustrated at the difficulty of getting users to follow through to your landing pages. But what if your CTR isn’t the true measure of success anymore? Today’s social media users want to engage with brands on social, but not necessarily through clicks. Instead, on-platform engagement and social-based customer service seem to be reigning supreme as metrics of performance and should take precedent when evaluating how you’re doing. 

4. The Video Revolution Isn’t Over

“Pivot to video” is pretty much a curse word in the world of media these days. Like it or not, though, video continues to be a smart social strategy — even if it’s not the end-all-be-all it was once poised to be. Ninety-three percent of brands report getting a new customer because of a video on social media, and eighty-eight percent report being satisfied with the ROI of their social media video marketing efforts. Just look for balance, instead of putting all of your resources into one type of content. Diversify content formats to keep up engagement and interest, and be sure to make video part of it. And, make sure you know what kinds of videos your audience wants to watch

5. Social Listening Is Crucial

Social listening refers to the practice of monitoring direct mentions of your brand across social media — and it’s currently the number one tactic used by marketers to guide their social strategy. Social listening does more than just cue your marketing team in on what consumers are saying about you. It gives you insight into brand perception and popularity, and an opportunity to engage in discussions that you might otherwise have been left out of. Many social media marketing platforms now offer social listening as a feature, so it pays to take advantage and keep an ear to the ground regarding your social reputation.

6. Sharing Is Caring

Ninety-four percent of marketers use social media for content distribution, and you should be one of them if you’re not already. Social media offers your brand one more way to get attention on the content that you create — even if, per trend number three, it’s not necessarily guiding users back to your site. Every piece of content has some benefit for your brand, so capitalize on the audience that you’ve built on social and make sure that you’re sharing there. Instead of just linking, though, look for other ways to share, such as snippets, images, or videos that get across your main point without redirecting to another page.

Social media isn’t going anywhere, so your strategy for using it needs to be just as comprehensive as the one you create for other marketing efforts. With a nearly limitless reach potential, there’s a lot of value to be eked out of social media channels, and a lot of reasons to pay attention to important trends.