Each year, we perform an analysis of the previous year and use that data to make informed decisions and strategies about the coming year. Based on the data drawn from last year’s analysis of changes in algorithms, US political climate as well as privacy scandals, 2021 has an opportunity to regain its social media users’ trust. The truth is, you cannot achieve anything on social media if your target audience does not trust you.
The year is also positioned for unique brand campaigns. This means that, with more advertisers using social media platforms for branding, the advertising cost is expected to be higher. Therefore, it is expected that more capital will be invested in paid campaigns so as to drive growth, especially in influencer marketing.
The following are some of the trends we expect to see in 2021.
Top 10 Social Media Trends:
You may be thinking ‘but videos have been trending last year, this year again?’ Well, precisely-YES!
It may be true that for most social media marketers, the video is not something new. However, it is important that video marketers have a video strategy in 2021. Some of the video strategies to look out for include;
Live video; more brands will be partnering with more influencers or content developers to create videos that the target audience can identify with and have a real human touch to it.
Vertical video; it is expected that in 2021, IGTV will be pushing apps forward to boost consumption information on social media platforms such as Facebook.
Interactive video; truth be told, just creating native videos is not enough. This means that more social marketers have to create short videos to run as product ads without really going out of the show on social media platforms. This is exactly where interactive videos come in to play.
This means that, with new trends in videos coming up in 2021, it is important that marketers employ key tips to make social media marketing a hit. This includes; setting goals and storyboards with the video teams. The other thing is to create 30-60 seconds long videos that you can integrate into social media platforms’ news feeds.
If it is a story, 15 seconds long micro-segment of the longer video can go a long way in driving more traffic and reaching a wider customer base. It is important that content is repurposed as much as possible by simply ensuring that you put your very best effort into the first 10-15 seconds. The main reason for this is that, no matter how interesting the clip is to the target audience, people often tend to lose concentration after the 15-sec mark.
2. AI in social media monitoring
AI simply stands for Artificial Intelligence. As far as social media trends are concerned, machine learning is becoming more and more useful in social media monitoring. Because of this, it is expected that this will influence social media trends in 2021 as many businesses try as much as they can to overcome the market dynamics of competition.
The significance of AI is based on the fact that its algorithms play a critical role in addressing problems that emerge from data that is rather messy. In fact, this is something that is beyond human capability. Because of this, 2021 expects to see the emergence of more social media monitoring tools integrating AI technologies.
With AI, there is an increased capacity to deliver critical social media insights. It simply matches your favorite topics and trends and then sends you updates and notifications.
Therefore, ask yourself ‘does my business need integration of AI in social media monitoring?’ If you answered Yes, then it’s a high time you find one.
It was a great landmark year for social media platforms in 2018 with Facebook battling privacy and data sharing concerns. On the other hand, Twitter struck down accounts making it much easier for its users to report social media harassments. It was also the year when GDPR took effect making it possible for companies to take note of their customers’ data and its usage.
According to a study by Sprout on brands and transparency, over 55% of clients found companies to be open on social media. In 2021, it is expected that more levels of openness will be exercised by brands as compared to family/friends. The truth is, transparency is a trend that is here to stay.
This means that, if companies are to get ahead, they need to start by giving their target audience what they need on social media. The top needs being; changes in product and service, the business practices as well as values of the company. This means that you have to allow your users access to information that underlies your business; and trust me, it is worth the effort. Remember that words have to supported by actions.
4. Authentic stories and moments
One of the questions that many social media fans ask is whether 2021 will be marked by authenticity. By authenticity, I don’t mean static updates. I simply mean stories that are more intimate and raw. By offering your target audience transparent stories, you stand a chance of building a more long-lasting relationship and hence, a superior brand in the market.
In order for your brand to attract the attention of your target audience, it is important for you to think about ‘what is in it for them.’ Why should they care at all? Therefore, 2021 is the time to share stories and moments that matter to people and not your brand! Bring out the secrets that you hold that people will care about and not your brand!
The question is ‘what are these stories that matter to people?’ Well, the best thing you can do is to amplify the signal. Simply take your best content and then create a 15-20 microsegment video on topics that people care about. Then share these on different social media platforms. The truth this, these videos will attract over 400-500 % more views on LinkedIn than it does on Facebook.
The other strategy is to take your best posts and turn them into articles. You will command a higher social media power that will drive traffic and search ranks than ever before. If you have old Facebook live videos, podcasts, articles, tweets, or other content, you can repurpose them. The truth is, what worked for your target audience on one social media platform is likely to work on another platform.
It is quite unfortunate that most people and especially marketers do not leverage this platform. Looking at 2018 and how LinkedIn has used videos and LinkedIn influencers to boost its products is pretty much incredible. This is exactly the reason why you have to use this platform in 2021.
Compared to Facebook, LinkedIn reports over 10X video views in spite of the fact that Facebook has a larger audience. In other words, LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to have its posts viewed by a larger audience by strategically using its influencers.
The truth is, even though you may have a few followers on LinkedIn, there is a higher chance that your posts will be seen by many people and boost long-term engagements. Akvile DeFazio recommends everyone test out this platform in 2021. The good thing with this platform is the fact that you can reach any demographic you want to target.
It is important that social media marketers lookout for this evolving platform that promises to make a huge push on becoming an informative content sharing platform and nurtures a long-lasting network. The good thing is that the younger demographic has a chance of already entering the workforce even before they can join institutions of higher learning.
6. Employee advocacy programs
So many companies today do not involve their employees in content creation. There is no better way to power your brand than through your company’s employees. You may be wondering ‘why?’ Well, the truth is according to research, content that is created from employees is 8x more likely to drive active engagements than those shared by the company itself. What is more is that this content has the ability to expand brand messaging by over 500%-pretty incredible, right?
Using your employees is a powerful strategy that simply humanizes and personalizes your brand. This makes it easier to scale content that is within the context and is relevant to the target audience. Do you want to make sense of common purpose? Do you wish to outperform your competitors? Use your employees in content creation and watch what happens to your product/service marketing.
7. Mobile-targeted content
The use of smartphones and mobile apps is here to stay. In 2021, it is important for social media marketers to create high quality, fluid, and user-friendly social digital marketing experience for all people who are in love with mobile phones.
This simply means that everything that is created with the aim of sharing on social media has to take care of mobile users. In other words, if you want your target audience to click on a link for them to engage with the post, the link has to be visible to a mobile user.
8. Private groups and social media accounts
According to statistics, Facebook added lots of new features into Facebook groups. These features include; posting videos, updating stories, and adding a business page to a group as well as creating units for social learning. Because of these features, so many groups started as a means for brands to connect with their target audience.
So many influencers are quickly taking advantage of private Instagram accounts in order to avoid its algorithms. In the same manner, Brands are following suit with alternative private accounts that will drive traffic. According to one Instagram user, after flipping four of her accounts into private, the results have been tremendous. It is quite interesting to note this and to also anticipate more testimonies in 2021.
With the addition of features like Close Friends in Instagram Stories, brands have the liberty of choosing to create a personalized look for their accounts to give it an ‘insider appearance.’ 2021, we expect that more features will be added to social media platforms in order to increase friend groups among other things that will drive traffic to these sites. So, how do you plan to leverage these private groups and accounts to grow your brand?
9. Conversational eCommerce
Last year was a great year for the chatbot and some companies were able to leverage this messaging feature with Facebook bringing on Facebook Messenger and making it installable on websites. According to a study, only 0.5% of companies have a chatbot out of 1000 that took part in the survey.
The main reason for this is the fact that technology is still new and its adoption by companies has been a little bit slow. Additionally, clients prefer personal communications rather than using chatbots. However, despite the slow rate of adoption, it is important that social media platforms understand that taking advantage of this new application may increase natural customer interactions while boosting the success of the business in the current market.
The conversational commerce trend simply means that prospective clients are more interested in having a personalized experience and connection with brands. Therefore, it is important that social media marketers and brands take the time to interact with customers without necessarily selling their proposition to them.
10. Younger demographic and Ephemeral content
One of the leading social media trends is the use of ephemeral content, and this is expected to be on the rise in 2021. According to statistics, the likes of Facebook and Snapchat are taking the lead in achieving billions of views on their videos every day compared to other platforms. This simply means that in the coming years, highly crafted ephemeral content is expected to build more robust brand engagements.
In 2021, social media marketers are expected to come up with a more attractive and interesting blend of images, videos, and influencers. With that in mind, brands are supposed to shift their focus to repurposing their video strategies for ephemeral content.
It is important to note that ephemeral content is only in the limelight for just a certain period based on the fact that it creates a state of urgency as opposed to permanent content displayed on social media platforms. With that in mind, we expect to see more target audience develop an interest in ephemeral content in 2021.
While there are so many social media trends anticipated to take off in 2021, the truth is, all these trends boil down to 3 key ingredients; understanding your target audience, crafting high-quality engaging content, and targeting these messages to them. However, to unpack these things, it is important that we leverage every single social media trend we have discussed here and you will be smiling all the way to the last day of the year. So, what is it going to be like for your brand this year?