Great news... It’s nearly time to get your Christmas decorations up! But for digital marketers and social media managers, it is now also time to start considering how social media will change in 2020. With the end of the year fast approaching, it is crucial to sit down and examine the top social media trends that are expected to dominate in the new year.
Specifically, this article will investigate 7 keyways social media will change in the Food & Beverage industry (F&B). If you are looking to determine your F&B based social media strategy for 2020, be sure to take these expectations into account!
1. Groups and group chats will hold more influence in restaurant purchasing decisions.
A staggering 200 million are actively involved in Facebook groups. Considering their growing popularity, it is significant that Facebook has allowed for brand pages to also join Facebook groups. Compared to Facebook pages, Facebook groups are all about community interaction. They encourage users to leave comments, post, ask questions and leave recommendations.
Generating conversation is exactly what Facebook groups are designed to do, so they are great for businesses looking to be a part of a loyal online community sustained by your target audience. Essentially, they offer a sense of exclusivity and connectivity that is extremely difficult to cultivate on other generic social channels.
With more and more young people becoming hesitant to believe online reviews left on TripAdvisor or Google, Facebook groups are growing in importance. Indeed, users are increasingly turning to tight-knit and trusted Facebook groups to find honest reviews. With Facebook groups, users can see exactly who's giving the recommendation and importantly, they can ask more questions in an informal and unmonitored setting.
Ultimately, groups can either be a blessing or a curse for a F&B brand. In local groups, say for a particular town or city, people will ask for, and share, recommendations of local businesses and restaurants. If your F&B has a good reputation with good customer service, then you should have nothing to worry about. It is likely that people will share good recommendations. However, if you have had issues with customer service, this could become visible for all to see on Facebook groups. If this is the case, make sure you try to resolve any negative reviews quickly!
With Facebook investing more into social interactions and into groups, the importance attached to group pages is only set to continue into 2020.
2. More Food and Beverage brands will develop social media personas to encourage comments
- Comments will become more important.
First and foremost, social media must be social. Creating a buzz around your brand through comments, messages and interactions is paramount. Totalling up the number of likes per post is no longer a reputable measure of success. The key is to fully engage with your followers and... you guessed it, be social!
With Instagram looking to roll out their removal of likes across the globe, brands will have to focus on other forms of engagement to enhance their online presence. Fundamentally, Instagram aim to encourage more genuine connections between brands and customers. This means comments, comments and more comments. Likes will no longer be a source of brand credibility. Without likes, people will judge the popularity of a brand solely on their engagement levels (i.e. comments and unfortunately, on the number of followers). By 2020, it will be more important than ever to encourage followers to leave comments on your posts and interact with stories.
Fortunately, there are tonnes of ways that F&B brands can generate engagement. Ask your followers for advice on naming new menu items, ask them about their favourite flavours/toppings, or even run a poll to find out how your audience likes their steak cooked. Users want to feel involved and connected with your brand, so be sure to give them a say! This will be crucial to a successful social media presence in 2020.
- Building Social Media Personas.
As with Instagram likes, gone are the days of strict formality and utmost professionalism on social media. Brands are beginning to realise that users engage much more with genuine, humorous and conversational brands. The best way to connect with your audience is to speak their language and find out what entertains them.
As people’s feeds becomes saturated with content, brands need to find innovative ways to stand out. Building up an authentic social media persona is a great way to differentiate your brand and make it truly unique. Spend time researching your target audience and build your persona around them. This could mean using (or even making) memes, writing witty captions or generating entertaining content. Without a doubt, nailing an amusing persona will make your brand ‘followable’ and offer a sense of relatability.
In the F&B industry, humorous personas have been proven to make huge waves in online conversation. Will more fast food brands jump on the sass wagon and develop online personalities that make people laugh? We think the branded banter is only going to get more intense as we head into 2020!
3. Social networks will allow restaurants to better utilise the explore tab.
When planning our nights out, we all turn to the internet for guidance. Yet, by 2020, our reliance on traditional search engines to find funky nearby bars or unique restaurants will dwindle. Instead, social media platforms are set to become their own search engines. This is particularly the case for Instagram, who continue to make regular updates to the explore tab feature. It is getting easier and easier for restaurants and bars to be found on social media. As social media platforms gain more data about us, people will be using social media to find new places to eat, places to hang out or to relax. By searching location, hashtag or keyword, users will be able to instantly discover brands close to them.
4. Social media users will demand more transparency from restaurants and F&B brands.
Open-concept kitchens are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. Restaurant goers want to see how their food is cooked, who is cooking it and what exactly goes into their dish. For customers, top restaurant experience involves being a part of the whole food experience and witnessing the process for themselves. Having food magically brought over no longer suffices.
Crucially, the open-concept design applies directly to social media too. Rather than only seeing the polished final dishes, users demand to see the dish in real-time. Users want to see exactly what products go into a dish, how it is cooked and how it looks unedited. Social media users yearn for authenticity and the stories behind a dish. By introducing your chefs, ingredients and sourcing, you can offer a level of authenticity absent from edited product images. Here, stories are perfect for showcasing the process of a dish from start to finish. However, even a ‘meet the team’ or ‘before and after’ post can still go a long way.
5. Algorithm changes will encourage F&B brands to post more video content.
It isn’t perhaps surprising to hear that video content will be central to social media strategy in 2020. After all, this major trend has already taken the social media world by storm. Businesses are pumping more of their time into creating meaningful and engaging video content. Such a strategy pays dividends. Compared to other more traditional types of content on Facebook and Instagram, videos generate much higher levels of consumer engagement. A staggering 75% of Instagram users are estimated to take some sort of action after viewing a brands video. The evidence speaks for itself!
Social media platforms, particularly Instagram and Facebook, are certainly pushing hard towards the video craze. Indeed, Instagram’s recent algorithm change preferences videos when ranking content. In a similar vein, Facebook ads that are over 1-minute long are advertised to more people, since they are considered more valuable than other types of content.
The growth of video content has not stopped just yet. In 2020, the reliance on video content will only continue to sky-rocket. Indeed, one Cisco study estimates that by 2020, 75% of mobile traffic will be video. This is only expected to increase to 82% by 2022. With the emergence of 5G, users will be able to effortlessly stream video content faster than ever before.
This is not to say that your F&B brand needs to pump a massive cash injection into your marketing budget to catch onto the video trend. Your videos do not need to be lavish, over the top or expensive. They just need to be engaging. Capturing a captivating video on your phone will be worth much more than an expensively made but boring video. Simply ask your employees to take customers ‘behind the scenes’ by videoing how different dishes are made. Users want to see what your restaurant or bar is like in real-time and simple videos taken from a phone can provide just that.
6. E-commerce food and beverage brands will benefit from increased payment options on Facebook & Instagram.
For e-commerce-based F&B brands, the potential of payment options now readily available on Facebook and Instagram will be even bigger in 2020.
The Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Store are continuing to evolve. Users can now buy some of the products they see on their feed effortlessly and conveniently.
The scope for social commerce is only going to increase. Payment options are already becoming more technically advanced. Facebook have demonstrated their commitment to the future of in-app payments through their own cryptocurrency, the Libra. By allowing people to buy on social apps as well as communicate, social media platforms are slowly being transformed into all-encompassing retail networks. As intended, soon there will be no need for users to leave their social apps, since everything they need will be in one place.
By 2020, we expect most brands to focus on shoppable posts that encourage impulse buys. Users will find themselves able to buy the products they see on Facebook or Instagram without even leaving the app. This can only be good news for small e-commerce F&B brands who suffer from unfunctional websites.
7. Vegan communities will become more prominent on social media.
Nothing is more relevant for the F&B industry than the rise of vegan lifestyles. More and more people are deciding to ditch meat and opt for a healthier and environmentally friendly vegan diet. In the UK, veganism has risen by 300% over the last 5 years. Takeaway orders of vegan meals in the UK increased by 388% between 2016 and 2018. As our attention turns more towards the climate, these figures are only expected to increase in 2020.
The popularity of, and demand for, vegan influencers & vegan inspiration accounts on social media continues to grow. When restaurants post about new vegan items added to their menu, it nearly always leads to a spike in conversation and engagement. Whilst customer service and quality will continue to dominate favourable restaurant traits, sustainability is still a large part of online conversation for F&B brands.
If you have a vegan offering, be sure to spend plenty of time posting about it in 2020. By doing this, you are certain to invite a whole new audience to your social media and hence to your brand. Veganism has a huge online community so make sure you tap into this. First, do some preliminary research concerning local vegan influencers. Perhaps tag them in your vegan posts or even better, invite them down to try out your vegan menu!
Hopefully, this article has explained what every F&B brand needs to know in order to smash social media strategy in 2020. Still looking for advice… feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!