2020 Marketing Trends for Small Businesses

Welcome to 2020! Last year we saw tons of new trends that are shaping the marketing scene for this new year. Find out which marketing trends are performing best for small business, what types of content to create and how to utilize it all.

The last decade brought us a huge increase in digital marketing efforts. In 2010 we started seeing big brands shifting their budgets to include digital marketing efforts while decreasing funds to more traditional types of marketing. As we close 2019, we see brands with huge digital budgets and small traditional marketing budgets.

So, what does that mean to you?

This massive shift shows us how important your digital marketing efforts are and what consumers are responding to. If you have not jumped on the digital bandwagon, there’s no time like the present!

2020 Marketing Trends for Small Businesses

Social Media

Social media marketing has exploded and each platform is competing to get people to stay on their site. Each one has an algorithm, or a set of rules that determines when and how content is shown. Our goal is to make the algorithm work for us so we can reach more customers. One of the biggest ways to get the algorithm on our side is through consistent posting. Set a schedule and stick to it!



Since Facebook’s big algorithm change in 2018, businesses have had a very hard time reaching their audience organically. However, there are a few factors that can help in 2020:

  • Post engagement - If your followers are actively commenting and sharing your post, it will reach more people.
  • Post Responses - Reply to your customers as your business page and keep the conversation going.
  • Live Video - Facebook’s live video feature not only notifies all of your followers that you are live but also helps your reach if you have people interacting with your live video.
  • Messenger Interactions - Facebook has been pushing people to use Messenger so they are rewarding posts that are shared through messenger, too.

Facebook is favoring videos that are at least one minute long and now giving special attention to videos over 3 minutes. Plus they want them to be uploaded directly instead of sharing a video from another source like YouTube. Their goal is to personalize each user’s newsfeed, in which they have many data points to predict what you want to see.

For 2020, try creating content that plays into people’s emotions as that’s when they take action. Focus on making your followers feel admiration, amazement, astonishment, curiosity, interest, or uncertainty in your posts.

Additionally, Facebook’s algorithm update will be watching for any kind of engagement bait. They define it as “spammy posts on Facebook that goad [users] into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions.” Here are Facebook’s examples:

Facebook Bait Examples

The biggest thing to note is that Facebook wants their users to have a positive experience and stay on the platform as long as possible. Create content with those goals in mind and you’ll do great!



In 2019 we saw big changes to Instagram. Users started a big trend in authentic content which mainly included raw, unedited videos and images. This trend is not going anywhere. People want to feel like they’re doing business with other people, not just a brand.

Like other platforms, video is the king of content. Instead of posting images, try a quick 10 second video instead.

One of the biggest changes is Instagram’s decision to hide the number of likes on a post. Their goal is to not influence users to like a post just because other people do and also not make people feel bad about low likes on their posts.

The number of posts per person has declined over the years, too. Brands are now posting less per week but making their posts extremely valuable. However, this may shift back with the hiding of post likes.

We also saw Instagram transform into an influencer and e-commerce platform last year. First they launched Instagram Checkout and Shopping from Creators, which allows businesses to seamlessly sell their products through Instagram. Late last year they announced Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager which will connect brands with content creators, making it easier to find influencers.

Your brand’s voice needs to be heard in 2020. People want to know your mission, your values and your why. These are really what separates you from the competition. Sharing personal stories can go a long way. I’m not saying post what you are doing every step of the day, but you do want to show your human side.


One of the key metrics that Instagram will use in determining your reach is how many posts are getting saved. So, creating mini guides with quick tips can go a long way. Be sure to have a clear call to action to save the post.

Use instagram to tease blog posts. You can have a couple small paragraphs that capture the reader’s attention and send them back to your site to read more.

With Instagram’s mission of competing with YouTube, IGTV channels are getting some algorithmic love. This year, some changes were made to this popular feature which made it easier to get on board. First, they removed the vertical video limitation so you can upload whatever videos you have. Additionally, they created a way to preview the video on your page and in your feed. Lastly, they have made it easier to follow and subscribe to the various channels, too.

Instagram Stories will continue to perform well in 2020. New augmented reality (AR) filters are trending and will only get more popular as AR shopping is introduced. This will allow users to virtually try on clothing, see furniture in your home, and more.

While live video is becoming more popular on many platforms, it has fizzled out a bit on Instagram. Instead, focus your energy on video content and IGTV channels. It’s a great platform for local businesses as they can use local hashtags to get noticed.



Many business owners utilize LinkedIn to generate leads and build connections in their field. It’s certainly not like Facebook and Instagram and shouldn’t be treated the same way. One of the things the LinkedIn algorithm favors is conversation. Again, social media sites want people to stay on their platform as long as possible.

Have you ever noticed notifications that tell you one of your contacts is trending or that they’re in the news? They are starting conversations so LinkedIn is highlighting them.

There are a few ways to get people talking that you can try this year. First, you want to follow hashtags that interest you and align with your expertise. Once you do that, you will get notifications about trending conversations. This is where you want to show off your knowledge.

Whether you get notified or go in search of conversations to contribute to, make sure you are doing these three things:

  • Adding Value - If your comments do not add unique value to the conversation, then you are wasting your time. For example, if I came across a post that talks about how difficult it can be to get Facebook ads approved, I could offer some ways I’ve gotten them to accept it. I shouldn’t just say Facebook can be a pain, that does nothing for the conversation or for me positioning myself as an expert.

  • Move the conversation forward - When possible, end your responses with something that keeps the discussion going. Using the same example as above, I might add this to my response: What kind of product are you promoting? Or what type of media are you using?

  • Show your expertise - These conversations give you the opportunity to show your knowledge on a topic. This can be through sharing your experiences, referencing case studies, linking content, and so much more.

When you engage with others on LinkedIn, it really helps your personal brand to get noticed.

LinkedIn Groups received an overhaul last year, making it way easier to stay on top of what’s happening in the groups you’ve joined. Pick a couple to join and commit to being active in them. This means start conversations, engage in them and answer questions.

Like most social media platforms, LinkedIn likes it when you utilize their tools to create your content. You can write articles, create SlideShare documents and go live. LinkedIn loves education!

Another great tool is Pro Finder. This is where people can search for local businesses for specific services or projects. You can sign up to be a professional for free. Make sure you have at least 3 recent recommendations that are related to your Pro Finder category. Then submit it for review and wait to hear back from their team.

After you’re all set up, you can start responding to requests. They will allow it for free for the first few then you need to upgrade to continue using it. I find it’s well worth it!

Before you start with any new campaigns on LinkedIn, or on social media in general, be sure to define what your goals are so you can measure effectiveness. Plan out your content and make sure each post has purpose.



For all of the Twitter fans out there, I have some great tips for you, too!

Utilizing Twitter lists can be beneficial in a few ways. These lists are groups of Twitter accounts that you select where you will only see their posts. Create a list of your competitors so you can see what they are putting out there. Create a list of profiles that often look for expert comments in your field. Or create a list of professionals you follow in your industry. For example, I have a list of people who report on new developments on platforms I use. Use these lists to your advantage!

Twitter chats (known as TweetChat) are a great way to engage with your customers and followers. These are great for discussing industry topics, new product features/wishes, or live Q&A sessions. I follow a search engine marketing site that uses the chats to ask professional marketers to share tips on specific topics, then they make blog posts from the responses. This is a great way to create content!

Once you decide on the topic of your Twitter chat, set a date and time, and create a hashtag for it. This way anyone who sees this chat afterwards can get all the responses just from the hashtag. Now, invite everyone! Make a post (or three) to promote it, include it in your email blasts, on your website and even on your other social media accounts. Get the word out there! Not only will you be engaging with your audience, you’ll also show the Twitter algorithm that you have activity on your page and increase your organic post reach.

Next, let’s talk about Twitter Moments. These are collections of tweets about specific topics or events. Organize your tweets into categories so your best content in each area can be highlighted. For example, I would have categories like social media tips, content marketing, or search engine marketing. Additionally, these are great for events that you host. Ask people to use your hashtag at the event and your Twitter Moment will be buzzing!

Above all else, make sure your content is shareable and engaging. You could be just a few retweets away from hitting new goals. And if your follower count is on the low side, Hubspot’s guide to growing your followers is pretty great.


Google Ads

One of my favorite platforms for advertising is Google Ads. I like that there are ways to promote your business even with very limited budgets. Some of the newer features include:

  • Customer photos in shopping ads - You can now include the photos of your product that customers uploaded in their review in your ads. This is very powerful since it’s coming from a happy customer.

  • Augmented reality for beauty brands - Beauty brands are getting the opportunity to incorporate augmented reality so customers can “try” the product on screen before buying.
  • Responsive search ads - This is a great way to test messaging. You enter multiple headlines and descriptions and Google will test the variations to see what performs best..
  • Lead form extensions - Now customers can request additional info without having to click through multiple pages. They click to get info and the form pops up immediately.
  • Video campaign extensions - Now you can show your extensions in video campaigns. This means you can have promo codes, quick links, location and more quickly accessible.

When you’re on a tight budget, I recommend using video, display and shopping campaigns. If you’re new to Google Ads, grab this free kit from Hubspot to get started.


Creating Content

We need content for our website, email blasts, social media … the list goes on! When we think about creating content for our business, it can get overwhelming very quickly. You are probably overthinking it. You have a lot of content in your head already that your customers don’t know about yet. Many times we look to share information that is kind of new and exciting to us, forgetting that our followers don’t have the same knowledge.

Our goal is to connect with followers and customers on a human level. Here are some ideas on the types of content that can get some attention:

  • Answering questions - Simply answering questions that you get asked most often can be huge! This goes beyond just having an FAQ page. You can make images with the question or record a quick video. Either way, you are addressing things you know customers are curious about.

  • Behind the scenes - Sharing events and info about what matters to your company is a great way to show people the kind of brand they are buying from. It’s a great opportunity to show how your company gives back, how you are innovating your product for the customer, what new projects you’re working on, etc.

  • Employee spotlights - Highlighting the staff helps people remember that we are small businesses with locals making it happen. Make it fun!

  • Surveys - Get your consumers involved with new products, features or services by giving them the opportunity to weigh in on them. Getting their feedback makes them feel more invested in the brand.

  • Community - When you are at community events or are volunteering, it’s great to highlight them. Give them some extra love by sharing pictures, going live with someone from the organization or just recording a fun video. It helps spread the word for them and get you in front of their audience when you tag them.

  • Educate - This a great chance to not only help customers, but also show off your knowledge. You can make worksheets, video tutorials or step-by-step instructions.

Now that you have some ideas on what to share, let’s talk about how you can share it.


Types of Media

Currently, videos are getting the best results. There are a bunch of reasons for that, my top three being: Algorithms favor it, video is easier to consume and they appear in searches. Remember, consumers are no longer expecting corporate, polished videos. They want authenticity, so this is something you can do.

There are a few types of videos that most business owners can create on their own:

  • Selfie videos - Most people dislike creating these but they work! Use a smartphone to record yourself answering questions, behind the scenes or going live on Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Slideshow videos - These can be made within some platforms like Facebook, but you can also create them in Adobe Spark. They are a collection of images with text and music that tell a story. They can be very effective.
  • Screen recording - When you want to show something on a screen, like a tutorial or if you are doing a screenshare interview, you can record it. One of my favorite tools is a Chrome extension called Loom. It’s easy to use and makes a custom link for the video at the end to share it.

My last content tip is make sure you repurpose it. You can get the full story in my content repurposing blog post, but essentially, we want to create at least 5 small pieces from each main piece of content.


I hope you decide to make this year your best digital marketing year yet! There are a lot of ideas above, so choose one or two and take action. There are 366 days this year, how will you use them to promote your business?

Rebecca Bertoldi

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