2021 Social Media Trends For Businesses

2020: the year we took social media to the next level.

 

I’m not just talking about people jumping on the TikTok bandwagon, or passing the time by scrolling mindlessly through Instagram.

 

I’m talking about brands and businesses having to completely redefine their marketing strategy, at the drop of a hat, when the world flipped on its head.

 

Let’s face it, when the pandemic hit, no-one knew what they were doing.

 

Not a soul.

 

But as time has gone on, we’ve seen the sporadic and skatty social space grow, evolve, and adapt to the circumstances.

 

Across channels, the social scene has over 3.6 BILLION users worldwide (an increase of 120 million from 2019).

 

That number is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025.

 

Heading into this new year, despite the prolonged uncertainty of the world, we find ourselves in a more stable position when it comes to predicting social trends.

 

Let’s dive into what we expect to see:

 

  • Facebook Supremacy Continues

  • Everyone Calms Down

  • Shop Til You Drop

  • Bitesize Videos

  • Authenticity & UGC

  • Influencer Content

 

Facebook Supremacy Continues

 

Facebook is undoubtedly the king of advertising, which amongst other things, makes it a winner during a pandemic.

 

It also prides itself on supporting small business models, and supported brands in 2020 to the tune of grant programmes, gift card purchases and the ability to create fundraisers through Facebook.

 

Facebook has been working hard on transitioning to an eCommerce focused business model,  recently introducing shopping platforms (which will be discussed a little later) on both Facebook and Instagram, both of which have proven to be essential in the midst of the pandemic.

 

They are also building a secure payment feature ‘Facebook Pay’ and continuing to develop a cross-platform messaging service between Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.

 

These features collectively shape a successful 2021 for Facebook, making it the most desirable eCommerce channel with vast opportunities for advertising across all platforms. 

 

A significant goal of Facebook is to expand into the emerging market of India and Indonesia, both of which are experiencing fairly rapid growth of users and only just embarking upon the shift to digital.

 

If it is able to establish itself as the go-to platform for eCommerce, direct messaging and social media, Facebook is very likely to become the dominating platform for all our needs.

thumbs up against blue background

 

Everyone Calms Down

 

As mentioned at the beginning, 2020 resulted in some wild social media strategies – with few brands really knowing what they should be doing.

 

The businesses that tended to perform best during 2020, were actually the ones that sat back, watched it all unfold, and then made informed decisions.

 

2021 will likely see brands taking a much more chilled approach to posting – less posts, more value.

 

We are also likely to see a change in tone of voice, towards a more understanding, caring and conversational tone.

 

Users nowadays are pretty savvy, and they won’t easily trust a brand anymore. It’s going to take complete transparency and goodwill-fuelled decisions to entice people as much as before.

 

seesaw scales where smaller weight is heavier

 

Shop Til You Drop

 

E-commerce! E-commerce everywhere!

 

Shoppable tags and storefronts on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are rapidly pushing social media platforms into the retail world.

 

When Hootsuite asked their customers what their social media goals are, almost half stated that driving conversions (through leads or purchases) was their primary goal.

 

Even Snapchat is working on integrating Amazon into their app, allowing customers to shop at any time just through the camera.

Simply press and hold the screen, with the camera pointing at the product you’re wishing to buy.

 

This trend will only get more popular as more platforms catch on and start to integrate eCommerce. 

Tagged photos on instagram shopping

Bitesize Videos

 

One thing that has been an ongoing pattern over the years, is that people’s attention spans on social media are getting shorter and shorter!

 

On the whole, longer forms of content such as IGTV videos on Instagram don’t tend to perform as well as shorter Tiktok or Reel length videos for one simple reason – people get bored.

 

Bitesize videos will stay a valuable part of social media throughout 2021 – with the emphasis on video content booming!

 

Videos are easily the most engaging form of entertainment, so expect to see them a lot this year!

Hands surrounding drawing of play button in video

 

Authenticity & UGC

Authenticity from a brand perspective is more important now than ever.

 

Being genuine, real and relatable is what every user of social media is looking out for – they’re not as easily persuaded as they used to be.

 

User Generated Content (UGC) has become a huge part of brand marketing to show REAL people sharing their experiences with a product or service.

 

From a business perspective too, this is a super cheap and time efficient way for you to get content.

 

Shein is the queen of UGC, with their social media page made up of almost entirely user generated content!

User generated photos on instagram feed

 

Influencer Content

Influencer content has been growing in popularity continually, and isn’t stopping any time soon!

 

In 2021, many brands will be creating entire influencer networks – from bigger accounts, to micro influencers with fewer followers, and those in various different niches. 

 

This enables a more diverse cost strategy with smaller influencers costing significantly less.

 

Influencers are also great for contributing to a wide range of marketing needs and not just generating leads.

 

Myprotein have used a mixed influencer strategy for a long time – with a mixture of larger names, and many micro ‘ambassadors’ for the brand.

Influencers on social media feed

 

In conclusion, after a crazy 2020, expect better structure surrounding social media marketing through 2021.

 

Expect videos, expect personalities, and expect lots more ‘relatable’ content. Roll on 2021 on social media!