Hootsuite reveals top social media trends to watch in 2020

 As the world’s most widely-used platform for managing social media, who else would have the inside track on industry trends than the team at Hootsuite. From TikTok shaking up the status quo, to private messaging overtaking newsfeeds, Hootsuite just released its top social media trends of 2020. We share our key takeaways from the report – and how your organisation can adopt these trends to drive positive social and environmental change.

Shift to DMs

Despite social media being infamous for people sharing their private lives publicly, private messages are now outpacing public comments. This pattern is likely to continue with platform announcements like Instagram removing the ‘likes’ feature, and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram rising in popularity.

This shift impacts brands that have been successfully growing online communities to engage with new consumers. While 52% of brand discovery still happens on public social feeds – so engaging content remains critical to catch new customers’ attention – businesses should also curate content that users want to DM to their friends, family or colleagues.

Over-sharing has left users feeling disconnected, so companies should also consider recreating the feeling of connection by using private groups. Headspace’s private Facebook group gives followers an intimate space to chat, despite having 17,000 members.

Employers centre stage

In a divided world with growing frustration at the lack of strong leadership on issues like climate change, consumers are looking to companies to make clear statements about the sorts of things politicians once did. If 2019 was the year of climate awareness, 2020 is the year for business to act on climate. Hootsuite say businesses are expected to be ‘making things better, not just making better things’.

This expectation comes from both clients and employees, as more individuals are applying for roles based on the ethics of the business. As such, companies should use their social channels to voice their concerns, to challenge current systems and show how they want to improve them – a digital strategy sure to attract employees as well as loyal, ethically-driven consumers.


With 800+ million monthly active users, TikTok should be taken seriously as a new major player in the social sphere. Around 69% of TikTok’s user base are 16-24 year olds, so companies targeting a younger audience should consider using the channel – following in the footsteps of Nike Italy which hired three TikTok influencers for a youth focused campaign.

Even if TikTok is not the suitable channel for your organisation, its overwhelming success can’t be ignored. TikTok operates with videos which are typically 15 seconds or under, signalling the popularity of short video clips. The 500 million daily users of Instagram Stories – which features 10 second videos – further solidifies this trend. With a more diverse audience than TikTok, companies looking to explore new channels should try Instagram Stories, or test shorter videos on their existing platforms.

Organic vs Paid

Backlash against sponsored Instagram posts and paid promotions led to ‘authenticity’ emerging as a leading digital trend in 2019. But it seems 2020 is seeing a reversal, as the desire for organic impressions and reach has lowered, while performance marketing has grown. Performance marketing, which is focused on conversions, has been shown to have lasting success in terms of building brand communities. For businesses which can afford social spending, investing in paid adverts that target very specific audiences is an effective way to reach new customers or followers, especially for B2B brands.


Thanks to the flurry of new social media platforms stealing the spotlight over the last five years, Pinterest was knocked out of most businesses’ consciousness. But consumers have not forgotten, as Pinterest has had a 28% year-on-year growth, with 322 million global monthly active users. Businesses with an aesthetic basis – think architects, clothing, wildlife or interior design – should spend more time developing their Pinterest to see saved pins convert to new clients.

In a world of uncertainty, one thing we can be sure of is that social media’s supernova is burning brighter than ever. Social media channels can be powerful platforms to engage and build communities of interest – whether brand ambassadors, bloggers and reviewers or coalitions of support on big issues – but like any other form of culture, trends wane. Stay up to date by following Greenhouse PR and learn how to use social media to scale your communications for people and planet.  

Greenhouse PR works with organisations and leaders who are pioneering climate action, helping to initiate, build and shape online conversations, with the right people. From developing broader digital communications strategies for reaching millions of people, to hands-on social media channel management. Whether it’s energy, food, fashion, finance or farming, if you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, get in touch with the Greenhouse team on 0117 214 1250 or email info@greenhousepr.co.uk.