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With our newly found working-from-home lifestyles and global social distancing, 2020 was, unsurprisingly, the year that the world spent more time on social media than any other year before. What was surprising though, was just how fast we turned to higher doses of social media to combat the unexpected situation we all found ourselves in. By March 2020, social media usage had already increased by 21%

As we continued to experience the unpredictability of 2020, social media users consumed more time on social media platforms than ever before. With video platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and HouseParty offering new ways to connect with friends, family, work colleagues etc. during the Covid-19 Pandemic, social media usage on all platforms skyrocketed as the months went on for people of all ages. 

Throughout 2020, social media acted as a way of communicating the latest news, and entertainment. Brands that had to reduce their business hours due to the pandemic, turned to social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to reach their current customers while also attracting new demographics through their stand-out content.

As of January 2021, there are 3.6 Billion social media users worldwide. With people now almost ‘conditioned’ to check their social media nearly every day as a result of the work-from-home lifestyle, brands have found new ways to market their products and services to their followers and potential customers. Not only are these new ways more cost-effective, they are finding it easier to reach new customers, as there are now more people using social media platforms than ever before.

With this new way of reaching more customers than ever before, brands have had to ask what trends they should be on the look-out for or what they should expect to be the ‘next big thing’ on social media. However, as we all know, social media trends are constantly changing, and as a social media manager, in order to figure out what trends will be popular, it’s important to check your research and ensure that your brand will fit the upcoming content that will be trending for 2021

 

So here is our list of top social media trends for 2021 to help you kick-start a successful business year online for your brand:

 

SOCIAL SHOPPING

With the entire world working-from-home and social-distancing for the duration of 2020, more online sales were made in those 12 months than any other year before. So it’s no wonder that social media companies began to utilise this by creating shoppable features on their platforms to allow brands to target their online customer-base whilst finding new demographics. Not only is this convenient for the brands to offer products in an environment already saturated with potential customers, it also offers a new and easy way for social media users to find their favourite brands and new products in an instant.

With the rise of online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic, Facebook and Instagram maximised the functionality of their shopping features to allow users to find and buy products directly through their platforms within seconds. Studies have found that 90% of accounts on Instagram follow at least one business on the platform, while 83% of Instagram users discover new products and services from just browsing casually on the Instagram platform. 

If you are a brand that sells products, it is an absolute must that you set up an Instagram shopping feature or link directly to your e-Commerce website in 2021, if you want to maximise the potential of social media marketing for your business. The shopping features on Instagram have already proven to be a hugely powerful tool in such a short timeframe, and for this reason among many others, ‘Social Shopping’ is definitely a trend to watch when considering your brands growth online for 2021.

 

SNACKABLE CONTENT

Snackable content has been continuously on the rise on social media, especially over the last two years. This continuous growth is due to its ability to provide straightforward, eye-catching content to social media users that is easily digestible in a matter of seconds, as this often leads to social media users sharing this content to friends, family, colleagues etc. without considering the passive marketing tool within the content. 

The use of snackable content for marketing is not to trick social media users into sharing the content, but rather make content that is popular, trending and relatable to the brands followers, in order to be more shareable and thus, reach higher volumes of potential consumers. 

Snackable content is expected to be one of the most used social media marketing tools in 2021. Key types of snackable content that social media users experience every day and to expect to rise in 2021, will most likely be in the form of GIFs, Memes, Quotes and Infographics. These types of content are very visual, and therefore easy to digest by the social media user in very short amounts of time, making it more likely to be shared in a casual way.

 

CONVERSATION MARKETING

Think about your favourite big brands; the larger and long-lasting brands that you love to follow or frequently engage with on social media. Now think about how they interact with their followers on the social media platforms you follow them on. Brands that are interactive with their followers through their content are generally very successful on social media platforms. This success comes from these brands building relationships with followers, converting these followers into real customers. 

Conversation marketing is a frequently-used method by brands to engage with their social media followers and website visitors, with the aim of building trust through conversations, and creating relationships. With more messaging channels available than ever before, 2021 is expected to see an increase in conversation marketing methods being implemented on social media platforms.

However, the method of which conversation marketing will be implemented is thought to be changing for brands engaging with their social media followers in 2021. Previous conversation marketing strategies were aimed at product promotion and creating high-level sales generation online. As this is not an authentic way to reach your target demographic, brands have changed the way they communicate with their followers on social media to adapt to the current times. 

In 2021, it is expected that brands will focus on providing value to followers on social media by educating them about their products and services while helping them to decide if their products are right for them, and building real relationships with followers in the aim of converting authentic customers. This is expected to have a better and long-lasting yield than the aggressive method of conversation marketing that we have seen in the past.

 

GOING LIVE

Going live is definitely one to watch for the top social media trends for 2021. The ‘live’ feature is one of the most popular  video elements available to users on certain social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. This feature is one of the most rapidly increasing features that brands are using on social media, in addition to social shopping and snackable content. It was reported that in 2019, 25% of all videos on Facebook were live

By going live on your social media channel, you’re allowing for a better connection with your followers. Many brands have opted to do Q&A’s with the followers through their live streams. One of the more popular approaches for creating better relationships is often seen with brands by doing some ‘behind-the-scenes’ tours on their live stream and giving their followers an insight into their everyday operations. This helps to build trust with their followers by creating a feeling of transparency.