The world of social media operates at warp speed. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of something, a brand new tool or platform comes around and knocks you off your feet. With the fast-paced world of social marketing, there comes only one rule: Be adaptable and ready for change at any point. 

So you can imagine that a brand new year would automatically bring around brand new social trends, right? Absolutely. In fact, more than ever, social media marketers are finding themselves drowning in content updates. But where there are updates, there’s an opportunity to grow and use those updates to better your business’s brand. 

Want to take advantage of this year’s content marketing trends? Let us show you how to DIY the best social media content creations to roll out content your audience will engage with. 

1. Less Editing on Instagram Posts

It’s clear that overediting content on any platform is a no go. But in 2020, editing trends are taking a turn from minimal to virtually zero edits. 

The “no edit” editing style of Instagram photos has found popularity over the last few years, but it’s really starting to take off with businesses and brands alike in order to engage and connect more with consumers. Fashion brands, makeup companies and product-promoting influencers alike are hopping on the raw and real trend, and it could just be the move for your company to adopt into its current content creation strategy. 

But what makes it so popular among social media audiences? Authenticity, transparency and a resemblance to reality. With high-production edits and photo quality comes the disconnection of consumers. It portrays a lifestyle that many do not have and cannot obtain; therefore, they lose interest. But social media users that showcase behind-the-scenes shots, phone-quality images and real people complete with flaws tend to see higher engagement and an overall positive rating among their followers. 

So how can you incorporate this aesthetic into your current marketing strategy? While it isn’t entirely effortless, it does require some amount of skill and the right photography tools. 

The “no edit” editing style strays from high-quality cameras and editing software, so you’ll really want to stick to the wonders of phone photography. Editing apps like VSCO and Lightroom can allow you to make minor lighting and composition corrections to photos without them looking heavily processed. 

2. Interactive Content 

Want to engage with your audience? Invite them in on the content you make. 

Interactive content has become a massive trend with businesses and influencers alike on both Instagram and Facebook. With new in-platform tools to edit and add on to content, you have the opportunity to receive feedback, collect opinions and directly engage with audiences that view your posts. 

Thanks to Instagram and Facebook Stories, businesses now have more power than ever to create interactive content and receive direct feedback and communication from the consumers they’re looking to market toward. Live videos, polls, questionnaires and direct messaging help to bridge the gap between trying to guess what consumers want to see and what audiences are actually looking for – thus making it a trend that’s continued to see success. 

So how can you make the most out of interactive content? While using in-app features can help, it doesn’t necessarily help you stand out among the rest of interactive Stories. Luckily, there are a few editing tools that will let you create dynamic interactive content that blows viewers away. 

If you’re well versed in video editing, apps like Adobe Spark and Premiere Pro could be what you need to create dynamic content. These Adobe Suite apps give you access to professional cut, design and editing tools that can take any content to the next level. These tools deliver high-quality content; however, they do lean toward the advanced technique side of pro tools. 

For those who are not expert videographers or graphic designers by trade, there are other editing tools that require less time and knowledge of advanced video-editing techniques but that still deliver a “years of experience” result. Over allows users to choose from professionally designed templates and layouts, upload photo and video content and customize templates to match business branding. It’s the perfect app for those looking to produce designer content without the time or resources to sit down and learn advanced video-editing software.

Once you have your custom content created, you can then add in-app stickers like polls, questionnaires, rating scales and any other feature you want to use to connect to audiences. 

Custom branded video content will add to your interactive Instagram and Facebook Stories and elevate your engagement levels for as long as this trend sticks around.

3. Curated Feeds

Having professional-grade content that reads well on Instagram is an expectation in 2020. This decade, it looks like it’s going to be all about the details – especially when curating your Instagram Grid. 

Curating content means more than collecting photos to post on your Instagram. When curating a successful feed of content, there are so many vital factors to consider: brand image, quality of content, juxtaposition to the content surrounding it on your grid, color scheme, repetition and more. Proper content curation can often feel like taking on a full-time job; however, the importance of an aesthetically pleasing feed goes beyond looks. 

Instagram content is a dish best served three ways: interesting product photography, lifestyle images that consumers relate to or user-generated content that still conveys high-quality branding. 

Brands like Meijuri and Etsy do an amazing job of finding this balance of content that comes off as well curated. From their Instagram Grids, you get a mix of close-up product detail shots, beautiful shots of products on real consumers and filler images that still match the color scheme and brand aesthetic. While fashion and style companies have a vested interest in curating an aesthetically pleasing grid, many other brands value great content curation as trends shift.

If you’re looking to plan out your future feed and figure out your own brand aesthetic, planning apps like UNUM and Later, while inherently content-scheduling apps, allow you to lay out weeks worth of content and visualize it on a grid-like layout. You can move content around, swap photo placements and get a better sense of what content will look like once posted. These are great tools to effectively put together a brand aesthetic and content strategy for your business that fits in with curated grid trends.

4. Direct Social Ads

Investing in social ads is still a massive market, and it won’t go away anytime soon. However, the style and quantity of social ads are trending toward becoming more direct, more dynamic and more detrimental to the success of audience engagement, brand awareness and conversions.

Luckily for businesses everywhere, online shopping via social media is now widely accepted and even sought out by consumers. Eighty-four percent of US online shoppers visit at least one social media platform before making a purchasing decision on a brand or product. This isn’t new information, but it is influencing the way brands market their social ads to consumers, creating a new trend that’s more direct and honest with audiences than ever. 

Facebook’s more personalized, dynamic ad changes now allow businesses to deliver refined retargeting ads that are tailored to actually fit consumer interests based on site history and visited web pages. Interactive ads and Instant Experiences allow businesses to customize dynamic ads that act more as newsletters and shoppable magazine advertisements than traditional advertising. Consumers are able to comfortably browse shoppable products without feeling directly marketed to in ways that meet their shopping interests and tastes. 

In similar fashion, lead form ads allow brands to collect contact information and general preference/feedback from clients. By setting up the right custom audience, you can reach consumers you never even knew existed in mass quantities – if you know how to be direct and ask for what you want. 

Direct ad copy should be succinct but enticing; shorter ad copy tends to be the trend in the new year, with brands trying to get their point across in as little verbiage as possible. Including exclusive discount codes isn’t a bad idea either! Try to put yourself in the shoes of your consumer – how would you want to be marketed to? With fluff language, or with one punchy sentence that offers you nothing more than a deal and a call to action?

Putting together ads is an art form, and it may feel foreign to you the first go-round. Luckily, tools like Adparlor Ad Mockup Generator allow you to practice your best ad copy, creatives and technical setup and preview what your ads will look like. This is great to test ad creatives and ad copy against one another and see your creations side by side to decide which creative makes the most sense for your target audience.

5. Photo and Graphic Mixing

Last on the list but a favorite in the hearts of many Instagram content creators is the “photo and graphic” overlay trend. Not sure what we’re talking about? There are many different ways to pull this style off, so let’s go over a few that stand out, in no particular order.

First, let’s talk about the “doodle” style. Using graphic art tools to draw over photos has become a popular trend with influencers, and it’s started to make its way into branded content as well. Many examples can be found on business Instagrams, along with their ad partners and influencers. The style seems to increase engagement rates across the board due to its creative nature and overall elevation in style. 

Other popular versions of this photo graphic overlay are “sketching” – where the photo seems to have lines traced over it to emulate a trace of the photo – and adding in emojis or phone-related graphics. All of these variations derive from the same desire for interesting, eye-catching content. From what can be seen from engagement rates and audience interaction, people want to see creative images and conceptually designed content that does more for the eye.

As you probably guessed, there are plenty of apps and tools on the market to help you get creative with your photo content. If you don’t want to stick to tablets and expensive software, You Doodle is a great app for drawing over photos, similar to our provided examples. You Doodle gives you a wide selection of colors and a few different brush options for better creativity. As for emoji overlaying, PicsArt is a wonderful collage app that allows you to make emoji backgrounds and edit photos with graphic overlays, and it also hosts brush and pencil tools for drawing. The app emulates a much more user-friendly Photoshop and is great for photo-editing beginners or content creators who just want a faster experience.

Content trends come and go, but it’s never a bad idea to hop on a trend when you see it rising in popularity and engagement. As a brand, it’s vital to be flexible and malleable when you see new opportunities to grow – including with social media updates. DIY trends and having the right tools to recreate can make transitions easier, and you may even learn something new that gets permanently incorporated into your current content strategy. Using free or low-cost tools can be a feasible strategy update for any business with a large or small marketing budget. 

Test these tools out on your favorite content trend and let us know your favorite!