With this whirlwind year soon to be done and dusted, people are looking ahead to 2021 and wondering what’s in store. As with any ever-evolving topic, social media is seeing the introduction and development of various social media trends.
In this article, we’re looking at the top 10 social media trends, all of which represent or respond to the current consumer zeitgeist. If the previous year taught us anything, it's the importance of having your finger on the pulse - here’s how marketers can take advantage of it for their businesses.
Social Media Trends for 2021
- Social shopping: It would be irresponsible to talk about social media trends in 2021 without mentioning social shopping. Social shopping will become available in more countries around the world, allowing consumers to shop posts with ease. This is a crucial development for retail businesses as it presents another avenue for revenue generation. Companies will need to master this development quickly and ensure that they can meet the demand efficiently. Storytelling selling will be more critical than ever, as this trend does not mean audiences will want hard-selling - subtly with ease is vital.
- Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing continues to be an effective form of social media marketing, albeit a changing one. There is a rise of influencers on new platforms (most notably on TikTok), and the relationships that businesses have with them is changing. We've written about those changes in detail here, though the gist of it is this: niche influencers are ever-important, and the relationships themselves are becoming more long term and returns based, with one's values and affiliations taking precedence over luxury lifestyle content. There's no doubt about it and influencer marketing will remain one of the top social media trends in 2021.
- Video: Video continues to make its way onto trend forecasts year on year, with 2021 being no different. The success of this medium of content continues to prove itself. This is the most effective way to create engagement with audiences, and it is also a great way to rank in terms of SEO. Video is no longer an optional nice-to-have and will be an important social media trend to follow in 2021. This content should be high quality and communicate various aspects of your brand and customer journey. Use it in different styles, such as lives, stories and clips for social media platforms and your website.
- Loyalty: In 2021, people want to collectively carry on with life, supporting each other and the brands who care about them. If your efforts have been successful in keeping your community close, you need to reward them for their loyalty through benefits and membership offers. People respond very positively to this, as we continue to see with appreciative reviews, brand alignments and appreciation for user-generated content.
- Localisation: The 'near me' tag is crucial for 2021. People are looking for convenience and building networks of support within their communities. It is an effective way to reach niche audiences and appeal to people in a very personalised manner. Furthermore, appealing to the locality can be in the best interests of the environment and meeting people's needs who are now staying home far more than they did before. To summarise, ensuring that your business has a clear local social media strategy will be an important social media trend in 2021.
- Educational content: There is a strong desire for educational, informative content online. This makes it a drawcard for many, as they want to 'learn more' by following links and understanding their worlds better. It is best when provided as an added value for your audience. Providing helpful content and ones that are rooted in authoritative sources are of great importance. Find exciting ways of communicating such information with people, such as with animated videos and infographics to capture their attention and encourage sharing. COVID-19 has taught us to never take things for granted and the thirst for learning has increased as a consequence of this. When it comes to social media trends in 2021 and how this impacts your strategy, educational content should be seriously considered.
- Digital Detox: Since so much of life has moved online, including work for many people, several people are seeking digital detoxes where possible. They realise their place as 'users' of social media and want to avoid fake news, advertising and data sharing. Marketers will have to balance their marketing efforts in order not to push people away and also to cater to those who opt to remain offline. There are also apps emerging which vow not to use algorithms and advertising, which is something to keep an eye on to meet needs if your audience is among this group of people. A key social media trend in 2021 will be people perhaps switching off from channels either for short or extended periods. Therefore, consider mixing up your distribution of digital content, diversifying away from social media channels and instead using other publishing strategies such as blog articles or digital magazines.
- Messaging: It doesn't get much more personal than someone's inbox. This trend continues to grow from the year prior, with more sophisticated technology (chatbots) options used to communicate with audiences directly. It is a great tool in terms of offering support as it appeals to people's need to have things instantaneously and to have any issues resolved quickly. Make no mistake, the use of efficient, dependable automated chatbots within social media platforms will be a key social media trend in 2021.
- Aesthetics: The look, feel and design of your social media channels and the content you post needs to be thematic and reflective of the zeitgeist. Quality is one thing, but having information that fits the moods and sentiments of your audience is another. Therefore, you need to appeal to the senses and consider things like your colour palette very seriously as it displays the psyche of your audience. Fashion weeks for 2021 have shown us that intense colours will be trends, as people strive for happier days with confidence through bold hues.
- Interactivity: Interactivity, driven by audience engagement will be a key social media trend in 2021. And content is a key ingredient to this. Content is becoming highly technical, with AR/VR and 360-degree videos becoming more accessible tools for brands to use. These options provide interactivity and entice people to explore your content. It is a great way to give people the best possible virtual experience and can be highly influential when it comes to purchasing decisions.
That wraps up our top social media trends in 2021. Marketers will need to factor this information into their strategies to be successful in their business endeavours. There are many noteworthy changes, from the way content is consumed, to the way products are sold, and alliances are formed. It is now up to the marketing teams to successfully implement campaigns in line with the societal patterns as they unfold.