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As the year draws to a close, it’s essential to reflect on the growth that’s taken place – despite obstacles endured across the globe. 2020 hasn’t been an easy year for businesses, both small and large. One key takeaway is that the digital sphere has become an essential tool for almost every kind of enterprise. What used to be a nice-to-have for brands, became a pivotal link between businesses and their customers in times of social distancing.

Global Social Media User Spurt

According to We Are Social’s report in partnership with Hootsuite: Digital 2020 Global Digital Overview, there were 3.80 billion social media users worldwide in January 2020 – a more than 9% increase (321 million new users) year-on-year. As of October 2020, the latest findings show there are 4.14 billion social media users across the globe, in 12 months this equates to annual growth of over 12% (450 million new users).

The average daily time spent on social media per internet user in January 2020 was 2 hours and 24 minutes; by October of this year, the average daily duration was at 2 hours and 29 minutes.

It’s safe to say that, besides more businesses and individuals naturally adopting the social media trend, COVID-19 and a near-global lockdown amplified this growth spurt, heightening the significance of brands cultivating their social media presence.

Social Media Platform Popularity

By far, Facebook is still the most widely used social media platform across the globe, with over 2.7 billion Monthly Active Users (MAU), as of October 2020. However, Instagram experienced the most significant growth spurt among social media platforms, with over 1 billion Monthly Active Users (MAU) in October 2020. Within a marketing context, Facebook’s global advertising audience grew by 45 million from July to August 2020, while Instagram’s advertising audience grew by 76 million during the same period.

We also saw the rise of social media newcomer TikTok’s popularity – although the ban in India slowed down the platform slightly, its worldwide audience is quickly nearing the 700 million mark. As far as brands utilizing TikTok for marketing purposes go, some major companies have successfully jumped onto the TikTok trend, with the likes of MAC Cosmetics and The Washington Post. However, many have opted for the TikTok influencer route to establish a brand presence on the platform.

Businesses should keep an eye out to ensure their social media marketing strategies focus on platforms that are relevant to their brand and audience, without overlooking the significance of the most used social media platforms by internet users.

Mobile Optimized Content is King

When it comes to content creation across social media platforms, mobile-optimized content continues to dominate. In a global digital setting, WeAreSocial’s October 2020 digital report concludes that there are 5.20 billion people around the world using mobile phones. More than 9 out of 10 global internet users connect via mobile devices, and the same can be said of social media.  With the report revealing that 99% of social media users access their preferred platforms via mobile devices; with just 1 in 5 using a laptop or desktop computer.

Creating mobile-friendly content across-the-board has never been this relevant or essential to a business’s brand strategy. And the increase in social media platform usage will amplify this demand.

Could Social Media be the New Word of Mouth?

Brands shouldn’t ignore the impact of a positive customer experience. According to LyfeMarketing’s findings, 71% of consumers who have a had positive interaction with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family.

With people now spending an average of almost 2.5 hours every day on social media, it makes up for more than one-third of our connected time. In essence, the typical social media user spends around 15% of their life using social platforms.

Examining this year’s social media statistics reveals how quickly social media growth is accelerating. While much of this can be attributed to new habits formed during COVID-19 lockdowns, businesses that used social platforms to stay afloat in restricted times will benefit by continuing to remain active online. No matter whether these consumer trends are fads or here to stay, brands should continue to focus on building a solid social media presence so they can connect with existing and potential customers.

Recovering and expanding your practice post covid-19