Social media marketing trends in 2021 to look out for

2020 has gone and turned the world upside down. And this is something that everyone has felt and seen happen. With the impact that the COVID-19 has had on everyday life, the consumer mindset went through some big changes. And it is in the interest of all businesses to not only follow up with those changes but to adapt their digital marketing approach accordingly. With all the new trends that we are seeing, one can not exclude the importance of keeping track of social media as one of the dominant channels to focus on here. As a skilled social media marketing NYC agency with experience, Digital Dot understands how useful it can be to have an optimal approach to tackle this. In this article, we take a closer look at the social media marketing trends in 2021 and how your business can make use of them.

Why has social media become more important than ever before?

Girl looking at her phone, with social media icons in the air.
The role of social media has become a fundamental part of everyday life, a trend that will only continue to grow in 2021.

When the majority of countries implemented the stay-at-home initiative back in March, there was a 21% growth in monthly use of social media, according to reports by Statista. After all, social media platforms have become a great way to stay in touch with loved ones, especially during these trying times. Another aspect that we’ve learned from our exploration of digital marketing trends in 2021 is that social media has become one of the dominant mediums for buying products online. More and more companies are realizing and embracing the potential of social media marketing and its potential.

10 social media marketing trends in 2021 to take under consideration

As the current number of 3.6 billion social media users is estimated to reach 4.4 billion by 2025, its role in digital marketing is taking on a more dominant and vital role. And that leaves a lot of companies asking themselves what to expect from social media marketing in the upcoming year. So, let’s take a look at some of the more relevant trends to pay close attention to:

1. Social media platforms are raising the stakes with online shopping

While some businesses are still coming to terms with growing their online presence, social media platforms are investing more and more into their ability to advertise and sell products and/or services. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, are all showcasing a lot of innovative marketing solutions for businesses.

Out of the platforms we mentioned here, Snapchat and TikTok are the most recent additions, ones that really expanded their advertising potential in 2020. On the other hand, Facebook and Instagram took things to a whole other level by introducing the ability to shop through their apps. Users can now buy products seen in posts simply by using Facebook Shops or Instagram Shoppable Posts. And this promises more convenience for users, which is especially useful under the current circumstances. But it will also be of use later on, as more and more customers decide to focus on social media for finding specific brands and products.

2. Social media users are embracing gaming and VR

Much like with social media users, the number of gamers has drastically increased in the past year as well – by 32% (over 10 million) to be exact. And these are just those that identify as “gamers” on social media. With this in mind, social media trends in 2021 will definitely be investing more time and energy in catering to the needs of this specific target audience.

  • Oculus is launching new VR products under the patronage of Facebook.
  • Twitch is expanding its online game-streaming capabilities.
  • Snapchat is introducing a growing number of mini-game apps.

These are all part of the gamification trend that social media platforms are adopting for their users in 2021. So, brands looking to take a more innovative approach to their product placement might want to take note of the gaming industry and invest. It might very well open a completely new market for them.

Marketers also stand to learn a lot from the interaction between gaming and social media, as well as the behavioral effect it has on users. it might lead to new approaches to their campaigns and strategies.

3. Conversational marketing is evolving

Person creating content on laptop.
Creating quality content is a necessary part of new conversational marketing.

Both marketers and brands are familiar with conversational marketing and its reach through social media. It is the basis on which brands establish a connection with social media users. 2020 has shifted the focus of conversational marketing from simply promoting products and boosting sales with campaigns. Social media trends in 2021 show more interest in engaging users on a deeper level – offering them value rather than a sales pitch.

By engaging with customers through quality content, useful information, and tutorials, a brand offers a stronger conversation with them. The importance of looking at your customers as more than an ATM machine is more obvious than ever. With social distancing and a lack of that retail experience, consumers are looking for that personal engagement – that interesting dinner conversation that will pique their interest to the point of making purchases.

By introducing AI to your customer support via social media chats, brands will be able to create a time-efficient and cost-effective way to build up authenticity with customers. And this authenticity will lead to more interest in your brand, which will ultimately result in more sales.

4. Production quality is being replaced with value

With many businesses being forced to close shop and run their businesses remotely from home, the approach to content creation changes as well. Social media content had to make drastic changes and modifications to fit inside the comfort of home-made images and videos. And this change did affect the overall production quality. But it also got marketers to a mindset that the lack of quality can be replaced by content value.

In 2021, we see more brands making the effort to provide value from the limited quality condition in which they create content. This can actually be a great change of pace, leveling the playing field for all brands to prove the value of their products to users under the same conditions.

5. Snackable content is more popular than ever

With the attention span of social media users having reached record shortness, platforms and marketers had to adapt. 2020 gave birth to TikTok and Instagram Reels. Engagement on Stories content from Facebook, Instagram, and Spanchat all evolved. And brands discovered other snackable content ideas that were enough to capture the attention of online users. One of the social media trends in 2021 will be to rely more on snackable content such as:

  • Memes
  • Gifs
  • Quote graphics
  • Infographics

6. Video marketing continues to take center stage

Icon for video - an important social media trend in 2021.
Video marketing continues to play an important role as a social media trend in 2021.

As we march well into 2021, video marketing is showing no fatigue whatsoever. It is, in fact, stronger than ever before. According to statistics, 93% of brands got a new customer because of a video on social media. And this is just one of the dozens of statistics that give favor to the overall influence and strength of video marketing, both on and off social media. 2021 has all the potential to put video content as the most engaging tactic in terms of social media marketing strategies. And as proof of that, we have major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn – all raising the stakes in terms of video capabilities. This is a trend that will only continue to grow with time.

7. Brands will continue to take a “less is more” posting approach

COVID-19 has completely shaken the foundations on which brands engage with their customers. Rather than bombarding social media users with constant posts and campaigns, marketers have come to realize that more is not always better. Instead, businesses need to ask themselves if, with everything that’s going on – if their customers even want to hear from them. Timing will play a big part in social media trends in 2021, with brands carefully choosing when to engage their customers and how to say more by using less.

8. Live streaming is growing

Whereas one in every five videos on Facebook in 2019 was live-streamed, this statistic drastically changed in 2020. With practically all in-person events across the globe having been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers and brands were forced into going live with their video marketing. And as a result of that, live stream numbers continue to grow in 2021. Many brands are choosing to use YouTube and other social media platforms to stream videos in the format of:

  • Podcasts;
  • Interviews;
  • Tutorials;
  • Seminars;
  • Events;
  • etc.

9. Authenticity takes priority at the end of the day

We all find ourselves living in challenging times. With everything happening around us, we need the assurances of our communities, both offline and online. And that includes the businesses that we deal with. Companies need to go a step further and “read the room” before they decide to leap into engaging customers. Nowadays, consumers are more likely to turn to brands that show authentic concern than those that maintain their standard approach to advertising.

By embracing a more humane approach on social media channels, brands will put themselves on the same level as their audiences. And when customers are able to trust and identify with companies, they are more likely to invest in said companies. The mindset your social media marketing team needs to take is to raise awareness on global issues and addressing user-generated concerns through testimonials and reviews.

  • With social media trends in 2021, expect authenticity to take center stage as successful brands continue to build trust from audiences through empathy and advocacy.

Brands should revisit metrics they consider to be essential

Person looking at phone with icons of likes, shares, etc.
Time to revisit your social media metrics.

With so many changes and new social media trends in 2021, brands need to change their perspective of success as well. Just like measuring your social media ROI, you need to reconsider the metrics that offer value. A lot of businesses still look at common metrics such as the number of followers, likes, shares, etc. Instead, with all these new and upcoming shifts, companies should focus on data that can improve the impact their marketing strategy has.

Ideally, you should use a wide range of metrics, covering the key parts of the social funnel: awareness, engagement, conversion, and consumer. Relevant metrics that brands are beginning to look at include:

  • Awareness – brand awareness (@mentions, shares, links, impression), audience growth rate, post reach, potential reach, social share of voice;
  • Engagement – applause rate (likes or favorites as a percentage of your total followers), average engagement rate, amplification rate, virality rate;
  • Conversion – conversion rate, click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, cost-per-click (CPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), social media conversion rate, conversation rate;
  • Customer – customer testimonials, customer satisfaction score, net promoter score.

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