Social Media is continually evolving and changing, so often that it seems something has changed every time we open the apps. Along with platform changes come transitions in what users and consumers are creating, consuming and expecting from these platforms. 

2020 was a year that saw massive growth and shifts within both marketing particularly when it comes to social media. In a time when being “social” in-person isn’t always an option, the pandemic changed the way users depend on social media – and the way content creators leveraged that. 

All eyes were on brand platforms to see how they were going to pivot, support their community, and address the societal movements taking place. With no end in sight to the ever-changing social media landscape, here are a few things to consider going into 2021.

Platform Popularity

There are a few big players in the game that hold the top spots for most popular social media platforms, and it’s rare that these vary too much.

According to Hootsuite, Instagram is predicted to take the lead for Marketing Spend in 2021 over Facebook. 61% of respondents to their survey said they would increase their Instagram spend versus 46% saying they would increase their Facebook spend.

With a closer margin than marketing spend of 78% versus 70%, Facebook took the lead over Instagram when respondents were asked which social media platform was the most effective for reaching business goals. 

Hootsuite’s Social Trends Report for 2021 also found that “for marketers who don’t invest in paid advertising, Twitter and Pinterest are seen as the most effective channels. In particular, Pinterest received high marks for driving bottom-of-funnel conversions.”(Hootsuite, 2020)

 Another platform that saw a rise in 2020 (and whose popularity is projected to only increase in 2021) is Pinterest. “While retail remains the dominant use case for Pinterest, we saw rising use of Pinterest among brands in the education, advertising, and business and professional services industries.” (Hootsuite, 2020)

Adding more channels multiplies your ROI

Something to consider moving into 2021 is ensuring that campaigns are being run across multiple platforms. This goes beyond social media only: consider using platforms like email, Google Ads, and social media to leverage one campaign. According to Analytic Partners, for every channel you add, you can improve your ROI and effectiveness by up to 35%. 

 

GET ON BOARD WITH…

A few trends that we caught glimpses of in 2020 that will be at the forefront in 2021 include…

 Instagram Reels

There will be a BIG focus on Instagram Reels. In the latest software update, Instagram has placed them front and center on the user interface. This means that they are here to stay, and that their use will continue to grow. A few tips for creating Instagram Reels:

–   Do your research for popular moves, routines and songs

–   Always include text on your videos

Nostalgia marketing

 With all of the shifts and settling into the “new normal” of 2020, people began reflecting on “the good old days”. Whether that was being able to go to live events with tens-of-thousands in attendance, or live a more care-free lifestyle and not having to mask up and sanitize every time you entered a store.

As soon as the lockdown hit, the rose tinted glasses went on. Mentions of keywords related to nostalgia or remembering the past, shot up from a baseline of around 13M mentions to 24.4M (+88%), according to Talkwalkers.

Nostalgia marketing allows people to disconnect from their current struggles and relive positive memories from the past. This creates positive and sentimental emotions, that when sparked by a brand, allow for an increase in shared values and brand awareness by consumers.

Rise of “old-school” marketing 

When we say “old-school” marketing, we don’t mean newspaper ads or flyers. We’re talking about newsletters and podcasts! These semi-retired tactics should be included in your marketing strategy for 2021.

Focus on growing your newsletters lists again and connecting with your subscribers in authentic and meaningful ways. If you don’t have the resources or capacity to create and host your own podcast, advertise on one. There are plenty of podcasts out there with extremely dedicated audiences, so make sure you know your target audience and select an appropriate podcast to reach them.

Memetic Media

Memes have taken the social media world by storm. According to Talkwalker, mentions of memes increased over the last 13 months, from 19.8M mentions in August 2019, to 24.9M in July 2020 (+26%), with a peak of 28M during April 2020.

Tips for getting into the meme world include sharing user-generated content and engaging in the meme community. This will allow you to monitor your brand logo, ensuring that there is no negative content surrounding your brand circulating around. Your brand will also be viewed as relevant and generate positive brand awareness.

Top 3 social media goals for 2021

1)    Increased acquisition of new customers

2)    Increased brand awareness

3)    Drive conversions (leads, purchases, product enquiries)

These social media goals should already be in your social media/marketing strategy for 2021, if they’re not, be sure to include them! According to Hootsuite, chasing bottom-funnel clicks won’t be enough in 2021. Marketers are going to have to utilize the analytics and performance abilities of social media, while ensuring to create customer experiences for consumers.

 WHAT CONSUMERS WANT

 Now that we’ve covered the trends and how to get on board with them, let’s take a look at what consumers want to be seeing on social media in 2021. For a long time, brands have been missing the mark on what type of content people want from them on social media and how they’d like to be communicated with.

Authenticity

Consumers feel emotional attachments to certain brands that resonate with their values, and it’s time to tap into strengthening that bond. In order to do this, consumers are expecting brands to be authentic and do things that align with their values and mission, not just pump out content that is meaningless.

To Be Heard

Now more than ever, consumers want to be heard and know that their opinions are valued. If your brand wants to strengthen their brand equity and customer recognition, it’s important to listen to your target audience. Not just to gain insight into what kind of content they’d like to see but also what is important to them, where they are spending their time and money, and what causes are close to their hearts.

CONCLUSION

According to Talkwalker, the tone of 2021 will be shaped by the 4 C’s of COVID-19 content:

–       Community

–       Contactless

–       Cleanliness

–       Compassion

Months into this pandemic, these topics are still trending and they don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. How do you incorporate them into your brand’s social media/marketing strategy for 2021?

If you haven’t had this conversation already, you need to determine your brand’s position within the current global crisis. Depending on your industry, there may be certain things to focus on or avoid. You should also keep a pulse on global and industry trends and integrate them into your strategy and content. Creating content that is centered around the 4 C’s will increase your brand recognition and connect well with your audience during these times. Lastly, expect the unexpected. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s this!

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