23 days out from the new year, there's already a plethora of social media marketing trends tipped to take over the social media landscape in 2021. The new year is a great opportunity to show up, take up space in this online world and harness the power of social media for your business, especially after the year we've all just had in 2020.
Many businesses, this year, had to rapidly pivot in order to stay afloat amid global shutdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19, while many others weren't so lucky, and were forced to close forever as a result. We've learned to work from home, navigating our daily tasks amid home-school and other distractions, and find new forms of entertainment to keep each other occupied. And this is all before you factor in the ongoing political turmoil overseas, and what feels as though will be an everlasting uncertainty around what comes next.
2020 has well and truly been dubbed the year that so many would rather forget, but in amongst all of this, the major social media platform have also rapidly evolved and shifted their focus in order to meet rising demands and user needs during the pandemic. That's accelerated many of their plans in terms of launches and updates, but for the most part, the new tools and options that have been introduced across the scope this year were already in development, and have greatly benefitted so many with their early releases.
And with all fingers crossed for things going well, 2021 looks set to be a year of growth, and exciting developments in the social media world. Here are our predictions for what's coming next in the world of social media marketing:
A Core Focus on E-Commerce- eCommerce will be a major focus for Facebook in the next year. We've already seen the first stages of Facebook's next big revenue push, with the introduction of Shops on Facebook and Instagram, which simplifies the process of building an eCommerce outlet on the world's most used digital platform. Next year, we'll continue to see an emphasis on the e-commerce boom, with further development of Facebook Pay as they look to simplify its one-click purchasing options, and new advertising opportunities that highlight products for purchase within posts. Facebook will also look to integrate more shopping posts into user feeds, in order to entice more shopping activity. If Facebook can get it right, this could be a major shift, fueling a new wave of eCommerce activity. Also, look for further development of live stream purchasing and promotion options.
A Push on User-Generated Content- In 2020, user-generated content (UGC) on Facebook has grown exponentially, with the time spent on content more than doubling from 223 billion views in January 2020 to 495 billion in August 2020. If you want to incorporate UGC into your content strategy for the new year, it's time to start looking through your branded hashtags and account tags, and reposting content tagged there. It's also a great idea to encourage people to share photos from their experiences within your business with your branded hashtags.
Video Marketing to Grow- we all know that using video on social media is a game-changer, but in 2021, the power of video is set to grow even more. Currently, there is a sweet spot in posting a video so it suits the algorithm, but it's said to be made easier, with more potential to use video for organic growth on the platform.
Private, Interest-Specific Communities to grow- expect Facebook groups to grow in popularity in 2021. Already, there are more than 10 million groups being used by more than 1.4 million people globally, so it's a no brainer to incorporate them within your strategy. They work perfectly within the Facebook algorithm in the sense that they are one of the only ways users can get specific notifications about new content, meaning they are more likely to engage with the content, and this will also increase your organic reach.
Hashtags to Improve Reach- Hashtags on Facebook have always been a bit of a no-no, but in 2021, this could all change. With continued efforts to exploit the potential hashtags have, it's a big factor to start to expect it's usage on Facebook to rise in 2021, and actually increase organic reach and engagement.
Use of Carousel Posts- Carousel posts have really become a popular way of sharing educational and informing content this year and are set to increase in usage in the new year. They are a great way to play into the algorithm consideration of being timely, as by having a carousel post, you make the user stay on your post for longer to scroll through each image, and also boost interactions on the post. It's important to consider too that nearly 1 in 5 Instagram posts today are published as carousel posts, so if you can jump on this trend now, you'll be likely to start seeing the engagement reciprocated on your posts because of it.
Instagram Stories to Live On- Instagram Stories have really come the backbone to social media marketing, across all platforms, but on Instagram, their popularity will only continue to live on in 2021. They are the perfect way to engage your key audience easily and in strong ways that matter within the algorithm. Keep using them to showcase your business, share your face, and connect with your audience.
Instagram Live to continue its rise- At the peak of the pandemic this year, Instagram Lives (and Facebook Lives) usage skyrocketed 70% and will continue to be popular in 2021. They are a great way to showcase products, answer FAQ's and more, whilst playing into the Instagram algorithm really well.
Usage of reels expected to rise- still in early days, Reels is set to become a major factor within the usage of Instagram, even being predicted to become a direct competitor to TikTok in the new year. Look out for things such as exclusive influencer deals and new features which could help it gain more traction at different stages, especially the consideration of raising the recording limit from 30seconds to 60 seconds, as TikTok already offers.
And finally, let's go over some points for general social media marketing in 2021.
Social Media Marketing:
Messaging will become more memetic- this year, it was found that 55% of 13-35-year-olds send memes every week. In the heart of the pandemic, people online just want to be entertained and laugh, and help bring smiles to people's faces, and the usage of memes are perfect for just that. They will most certainly keep increasing in popularity in the new year, so it's a great idea to incorporate them into your content strategy, but in a way that is also relevant to your business.
Nostalgia marketing will engage your audience- During the lockdown, nostalgia mentions increased by 88% online. This is huge, and will continue to be huge! Think of ways to use throwbacks in your business, or tell stories from the past. These things will evoke a sense of nostalgia and interest and will make your content more engaging.
Conversational marketing will drive sales- this one is so important! It's key to growing on social media, and building meaningful relationships with your audience, they will be more likely to follow your content, as well as even make a purchase. Connect to your audience through real conversations, and ensure you are consistently engaging with your ideal followers, to make them feel safe and cared about.
Digital misinformation will be tackled- I think if you could sum up social media in 2020 in one phrase, it would be 'fake news'. Many of the top social media platforms are driving an effort to tackle disinformation and fake news shared on social media, and this will continue to be important in the new year. There were 101 million mentions of disinformation leading up to June 2020.
Audiences will be more socially conscious- this is probably the most important thing to take out of 2020, and into 2021. The social responsibility of brands on social media this year has been more important than ever, and as consumers are now more aware of global issues, and how brands tackle them, it is key to ensure you as a business are mindful of what's happening within the world, and how those events and issues play a role in the reputation and overall messaging of your business online. It's also found that 78% of consumers want brands to help them in their daily lives, so this definitely plays a part in the way you serve content to your audience. Consider the four C's in your content strategy for 2021: Community, Compassion, Cleanliness, and Contactless.
Overall, there is a lot to take in around the trends set to hit social media as a whole in the new year. Don't be overwhelmed and feel as though you need to incorporate them all in one way or another. Consider them, experiment with them in terms of how they suit your business and find the ones that genuinely work for your audience and the content you wish to share. Remember, if you are trying to talk to everyone, you will end up talking to no one! You have to stick to what works best for your brand.