Social media trends are a central part of most brands’ marketing strategies. And at the start of every year we see a wave of predictions about what to expect over the coming 12 months and how brands can get ahead of the emerging trends. We’re almost three months into 2021 – so what trends are ringing true and already shaping 2021?
In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of 2021’s social media trends. Knowing them will help you create a strategy that works for your brand, and engages your audience.
1. Tapping into user-generated content is having more influence
People don’t want to be marketed to. As Seth Godin says in his popular book, This is Marketing, “…changing our behavior is driven by our desire to fit in”.
Your audience doesn’t want to be marketed to by branded, unrelatable content. They want to see real people, like them, using your product or service. They want to feel like by engaging with your business and using your products, they’re fitting in with ‘people like them’.
The best way to do that is to include user-generated content (UGC) in your social media marketing.
Consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than an influencer or branded piece of content. Incentivize your customers to create UGC with giveaways, competitions, and the chance to be featured on your social media channels.
2. Taking a stance on issues that matter is proving important to customers
2020 marked the year where brands took stances on issues they cared about. Some companies like Coinbase even took a stance by saying that they’re not taking a stance on social issues.
Either way, there’s a lesson. You need to acknowledge that your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Most business owners shy away from mentioning social issues on social media for fear of upsetting their audience.
But if you want to connect with your ideal customers, you need to show them that there’s a team of real people behind the brand who care about the same problems they do.
77% of people say they feel more positively about brands that try to support societal issues.
That’s not to say you need to take a stance on everything. Your brand will appear more relatable if you openly talk about topics you care about and show that you’re in the same situation as people in your community. Sometimes, that also means taking a step back. Your customers don’t want you to be prioritizing engagement and likes in times of crisis.
3. Driving sales and discoverability through social and eCommerce is booming
If you have an eCommerce business, we’ve got some good news: the eCommerce market is booming, expected to grow to $6.54 trillion by 2022.
Social commerce is a key driver of sales for you in 2021. Already, 54% of consumers say they use social media to find new products. So, how can you leverage social media to increase sales? Ensure you’re on every platform and taking advantage of their social commerce features.
- Set up Instagram Shopping to let people buy products directly from photos
- Create a Facebook Shop
- Use TikTok’s upcoming shopping features
If you’re not taking advantage of social media platforms’ native shopping features, you’re missing out.
Pictured: Instagram Shop
The key is to create platform-specific experiences. This will lead to an increase in conversions, as you’ll generate sales from people who wouldn’t want to visit your website, but are happy to check-out via social media.
4. Using social to bring people into your owned ecosystem is a pivot you need to make
The average CPM cost on social media is $4.33. However, clicks and clickthrough rates are both decreasing, on average.
In 2021, aiming to bring your social media audience into your ecosystem is an important shift. Whether that’s your email newsletter or a members-only section on your website, building a relationship with your audience and customers will pay dividends.
This will reduce your reliance on social media algorithms showing your content in people’s feeds. You’ll always have an owned channel you can use to engage with your audience, promote new products, and reduce your CPM.
5. Recreating rather than repurposing is the biggest shift we’re seeing
Repurposing your content is a great way to increase the return on investment (ROI) on it. You’ll be able to use it in more places and get more eyeballs on it.
However, we’re seeing in 2021, that your repurposing efforts should start during the creation process.
For example, as you’re shooting a video to post on Instagram Reels, create a shorter version for TikTok. At the same time, take some still images or short clips you can post to Facebook and Instagram. It’s a simple, effective way to ensure your brand is putting out the best possible content.
2021 is shaping up to be a huge year for social media, and companies who embrace it will see the benefits.
You can no longer treat social media as an afterthought. The content you’re creating should be native, in the best formats for every platform you’re sharing on. You’ll need to show your audience there’s a real person or team behind your brand by being authentic and empathetic.
Today, it’s not a question of if your audience is on social media. It’s a question of how you’ll engage with them. Knowing these social media trends will help you formulate a winning strategy.