– It’s on a never before like evolutionary mode, and every algorithm change or new feature gives the creators new goals and challenges…
You write your own fate on social media and to stay ahead in this game, you gotta be up with social trends in place right now.
In 2020 we saw the rise of TikTok, popularity of Instagram shops, more focus on user-generated content, activism for social and political causes and we also saw how businesses tried to adapt to the changes.
In short, either you adapt and innovate or just lose the game and this year is no different.
Following are the most important social media trends for 2021…
1. Video content will dominate
Video content is not just here to stay but it’s gonna dominate. People are consuming video content more than ever and marketers just can’t ignore this.
Infact, marketers and businesses have already started to incorporate video marketing into their strategy.
By 2021, it’s expected that and video will account for 82% of all internet traffic according to research by Cisco and the trends justify this prediction.
YouTube is witnessing an engagement rate on its platform like never before. Creators are seeing about 20-30% increase in channel views with health & fitness and art & culture being the top categories.
And it’s not just Youtube which is exploding with video content, almost every platform out there is going crazy with the amount of video content being created and consumed.
In fact, according to the GlobalWebReporting Index, today about 56% of Internet users watch video content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat every month.
Instagram is seeing a 70% rise in live streaming and Reels have already taken forefront on the platform.
Twitch , the popular video-gaming platform has broken all records seeing 97% increase in viewership in just the first quarter of 2021 according to a report by StreamHatchet.
Webinar hosting activities have significantly increased with On24’s webinar benchmark report showing an increase of 167% on their platform for webinar hosting activities.
Google is also putting more emphasis on vidoe content and now you can see more video snippets for a search keyword on teh SERP. Infact, pages with videos are 53 times more likely to rank on Google’s first page.
You can see how now Google returns a video search result as the top result for different categories of keywords.
These were some highlights to show where the world is going when it comes to video content and as businesses and marketers, you must adopt video as a crucial element of your online marketing strategy.
2. Social commerce is the new form of buying
Social Commerce is the new form of online commerce. We’ve been hearing the terminology a lot lately but what is it exactly and why is it becoming so popular these days.
Social commerce can be called as a subset of E-commerce where all the consumer related purchasing actions from product discovery to checkout takes place on the social platform itself.
Social media giants like Facebook and Instagram have already added features like Facebook and Instagram Shop for direct sale within its platform and other social media platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok are following the path by working on features for better shopability on their platform.
This is an example of Facebook Shop of a Shopify user, Best Self Co.
When the Facebook user clicks on ‘view all products”, they are taken to All products page where they can view all the products which further takes to individual expanded page where detail of each product is given.
Here is another example of an Instagram shop of MVMT watches, the watch brand for the millennials by the millennials:
If you further click on the shop button, you’ll be taken to the complete shop page where you can view all the MVMT watches.
The pandemic has accelerated the growth of social commerce and its moving fast!! With restrictions on in-store shopping, businesses were left with no option but to switch online.
Data suggests that the number of US social commerce buyers increased by 25.2% to 80.1 million in 2020 and will grow to another 12.9% to 90.4 million in 2021.
Today, businesses are not only selling to their customers online but they are also connecting and engaging with them there.
That’s because a majority of your audience is already there ready to shop. Infact, 48% of internet users from U.S. aged between 18-24 have already used social media for a purchase.
And about 60% of the generation Z users in the U.S. use Instgaram to discover new brands and products.
Even those who haven’t yet shopped on social media, 27% among them express interest to do so.
This means your target audience is already waiting there and you need to customize your online selling strategy to tap that audience which is already waiting to be tapped.
“It’s time to fish where the fish are biting and go where the customers are”
3. Instagram Stories still rule
Since it’s launch in 2016, Instagram stories has become immensely popular and seems like it’s not gonna stop being more popular.
About 500 million Instagrammers actively use stories on a daily basis.
This number is massive compared to Snapchat’s 190 million daily users of stories or that of Facebook Messenger stories.
Surely, Instagram stories are one of the most popular things out there in the social media world.
And if we talk about the entire Instagrammers population, a massive 87% of them post stories on a daily basis according to a 2019 study by the Preview App.
You can see the rate at which Instagram stories is being utilized, so much so that marketers in U.S. are spending about 31% of their Instagram ad budget on stories.
Also, in 2020, about 50% of influencer marketing campaigns, used Instagram stories.
Brands too utilize stories for their promotion, with 36% of stories done for product promotion followed by 22% of stories being “inside look” type (according to a Klear study).
Brands like Minimalist Baker are top performers in the food niche when it comes to Instagram stories.
Everyday founder and photographer, Dana Shultz shares mini highlights of plant-based recipes in the stories which are a treat to watch.
They also utilise the highlight stories which helps them keep their top recipes and stories on top of their profile and it just helps them crush Instagram stories.
4. Influencer Marketing will continue to soar
Influencer marketing has already been one of the most popular forms of marketing and will continue to be so.
With the onset of pandemic, it was assumed that influencer marketing would take a dip as some major industries like travel and tourism would be affected. However, that didn’t happen.
On the contrary, it grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to 9.7 billion in 2020. And it is further predicted to grow to $13.8 billion in 2021.
Moreover, according to a survey conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, 59% of brands have a separate budget for content marketing, and 75% of them are willing to allocate a dedicated budget for Influencer Marketing in 2021.
This indicates that Influencer Marketing will continue to soar in coming years.
5. Live streaming is everywhere
Live videos are the new normal today with the onset of pandemic. In fact, live videos became a saviour for many industries due its ease of use and accessibility when businesses couldn’t operate physically.
In 2020 people were watching more of video but in 2021, it’s live content and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
The trend is setting up with so much pace that 80% of consumers today prefer to watch a live video than reading a blog.
This live video trend is particularly dominant on social media giants like Facebook and Instagram with one in five videos on Facebook being live stream and about a million people watching live video on Instagram daily.
And that’s the reason why brands and influencers have tailored their marketing strategy to focus on live streaming.
Martha Stewart, a.k.a as the DIY Queen the well known influencer on social media, went live on Facebook in collaboration with Home depot, where she teaches how to do outdoor decorations for the holidays while at the same time reminds its fans on how they can buy each of Home Depot’s products.
Although, Martha has a massive following but going live added to the authenticity of her collaboration with the brand.
6.User generated content is the type of content for now
User generated content is increasingly becoming one of the most reliable social media tactics. Both brands and users find this type of content more authentic and reliable.
Just a quick note, if you’re not aware of what a user generated content (UGC) is, it’s nothing but content in any form such as text, images, videos, posts, reviews, etc created by individual consumers on any social or online platform.
In fact, stats suggests that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to find user generated content more authentic than brand-created content.
And this trust helps the consumers to make more informed buying decisions.
Infact, today it can be said that UGC is equivalent to trust. About 90% of consumers say that authenticity is important while deciding which brands to buy from whereas 60% of them say that they find UGC as the most authentic form of content.
The following mini infographic by Stackla shows the authenticity level of different forms of content as perceived by consumers:
So, why is UGC so effective over other forms of content. Well, below are some of the most obvious reasons according to Stackla’s ultimate guide to UGC:
- UGC inspires brand loyalty
- UGC is more memorable than other forms of media
- UGC helps build consumer trust
- UGC improves conversions rates
- UGC helps to cultivate the culture of community
- UGC is scalable
- UGC is cost-effective
So, those were some of the reasons why brands like AirBNB, Daniel Wellington and a lot others use UGC marketing.
AirBNB is one of the most popular brands known for its authentic marketing strategies and has been doing exceptionally well with UGC marketing:
Their Instagram profile isn’t a collection of perfectly crafted social media posts but real pictures by guests showcasing some of the wonderful and weird AirBNB accommodations across the world.
Daniel Wellington is another brand utilizing UGC so much that it contributed to their million watches sales in a year.
Daniel Wellington actively encourages its customers to post pictures with their DW watches on Instagram using the hashtag #danielwellington.
This hashtag has over 2 million posts on Instagram, majority of which is UGC.
DW then also runs a daily #DWpickoftheday in which the winners are rewarded by being featured on DW’s official Instagram page. This encourages people to curate more UGC and further strengthens the connection with its customers and helps create stronger brand loyalty.
On the contrary, it helps DW to reach to more people and emerge as a brand which cares for its customers.
7. TikTok continues to rise
2020 was the year which was exploded with TikTok videos everywhere. The TikTok app was downloaded over 2 billion times on both Apple Store and Google Play Store by April 2020
It also became the most downloaded app in 2020. Brands started switching to it for generating business.
It was also the second highest revenue generating app in 2020 second after Tinder.
Despite the ban by Indian government and the attempt to ban by the U.S. government, experts predicted that it will still emerge as the the most downloaded app in 2021 and the prediction turned out to be true.
TikTok remains the most downloaded app in Q1 of 2021. It seems that TikTok is gonna there be at least for now and TikTok is putting efforts to strengthen its hold in the social media space.
It already partnered with Shopify in 2020 wherein Shopify sellers could make shoppable videos on TikTok which would allow people to buy their products in-app on TikTOk.
Image source: Shopify
If you’re into a space whose primary audience is younger generation, you should definitely get into TikTok soon.
8. Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels was brought in to curb the dominance of TikTok when it came to short video clips.
Instagram wanted to keep all those users switching to TikTok for entertaining short video clips.
So, it introduced Reels as a new feature in August 2020. Being a relatively new feature, many brands and creators are yet to adopt but those who have, are seeing better reach and engagement.
For example, the NFL team is seeing 67% more engagement on reels than their regular video posts.
In fact, there’s chances to get more reach if you post a reel than if you were to post a video on the feed because Instagram posts currently have average engagement rate between 1-3%.
On the other hand, a Reel has the potential to be seen by an audience several times your follower due to the Explore feature of Instagram.
And it’s not just the Explore tab where your Instagram account can be discovered through Reels but there are other ways also, adds Mike Metzler at the Conviva blog.
9. Social listening to be adopted
Social listening is increasingly adopted by brands, although at a first glance, it may look similar to social monitoring, it’s much more than that.
It’s not just about monitoring the metrics related to your brand on the social media but it is about lending patient ears to what your audience have to say and then to find insights and opportunities for action plans.
It’s about going far beyond the numbers and figures and understanding your customer’s sentiments such as what they are talking about you, why they are talking in this way, how do they view your brand in comparison to your competitors, etc.
This helps to get a lot of insights so that an actionable strategy can be planned based on the insights which according to Jeff Bullas can help to:
- Improve customer service by keeping better track of brand mentions which would have otherwise gone unnoticed
- Identify industry trends which can help in better development and marketing of product.
- Better manage the brand’s reputation by keeping an eye on the audience’s sentiments about the brand.
- Keep track of competitor’s in comparison to one’s own brand.
- Find right social media influencers
- Find hot leads on social media.
Many brands have already implemented social listening to achieve one or more objectives listed above.
For example, Loreal used social listening for its product development strategy.
Back in 2011, when the company was unable to decide which hair product to develop (ombre, tie-dye or splat), it decided to hop on social media for insights. Loreal used YouTube to identify user-generated content around the hair product and also looked for people’s opinions on social media.
This was further tied with identification of influencers in the niche combined with analysis on Google Trends. All this helped Loreal to arrive at the decision that Ombre would be the right product to launch and indeed it was a huge success after the launch.
They always constantly monitor ratings, reviews and conversion. Not only that but they also work very closely with the influencers in the beauty niche because they believe they are the true representatives of the beauty industry and working with them will help them better understand what their audience is talking about.
Also, they actively engage with their audience on social media on various topics of concern related to their products like this one where they’re ready to answer questions related to parabens in their products.
Such active listening and conversation helps them know what’s on the mind of their audience and they can come with solutions and strategies accordingly.
Similarly, brands like Nike and Coco-Cola use social listening for better customer service and engagement.
Both of the brand’s are active on social media especially Twitter where they try to address all the questions and concerns of their audience.
Infact, Nike has a dedicated Twitter page to help it’s customers with support related issues.
It does personally reach to its customers and followers and sometimes if there is a common issue or trend which needs help from Nike’s end, it might even pick up that topic and publicly address it.
Coco-Cola too on the other hand tries to frequently respond to followers who tweet about their product and encourages them to DM for follow-up.
Such active social listening and response helps them to appear as a brand that cares for their customers and followers which in turn boosts their reputation and engagement with audience.
10. Social media customer service
With increased buying on social media, it’s quite imperative that customers would go nowhere else for customer support and service.
Infact, Forrester predicted that digital customer service interactions will increase by 40% in 2021.
The pandemic-led social commerce has also in turn led to customers using more of digital channels for interactions and this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere sooner or later.
Fifty-seven per cent of customers today are preferring messages over digital channels over voice-based customer support.
That’s why brands have to resort to social media based customer service for its customers because if they don’t do it about 30% of the customers can go to a competitor, if they fail to respond on social media.
Brands have already understood the importance and are constantly innovating when it comes to digital customer service.
Glossier is crushing it on social media. They are always there for their customers and have a fast response time of about 30 mins.
If you scroll through their Instagram posts, you can see that they reply to almost each and every query on their Instagram handle.
And it’s not just about the response time but the way they put their customers first. They make sure that they delight their customers when they’re live asking for help.
Those were the top 10 social media trends, you should be watching out in 2021.
Well, just watching out wouldn’t help!!
You gotta incorporate them in your social media marketing strategy.
Brands and even small businesses have already started using them and if you haven’t yet, you need to pace up.
Do let us know if the post gave you any insights or helped you in any way.
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