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What to Expect From Social Media Marketing in 2021

Jan 21, 2021
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What to Expect From Social Media Marketing in 2021

Just like everything else, there are hopes that 2021 will be a better year for social media marketing. 2020 threw a lot of curveballs in digital marketing strategies in general. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people had no choice but to stay at home. This meant digital communication became key for families, friends, and marketers. People were spending a lot more time online than in previous years, and though we cannot be sure this trend will continue, here are some things you should know as you put together your social media marketing plan for 2021.

Social Media Trends in 2020

Hootsuite recently released their annual “Social Media Trends” report. This report gave us more insight as to how marketers changed their strategies and how users changed their engagement. The top four trends of social media marketing in 2020 were:

  1. Delivering short-term ROI with customer experiences
  2. Brands focused on crisis response and customer care rather than capitalizing on increased social media activity
  3. The Baby Boomer generation is spending more time on social media
  4. Connecting customer data with social data to boost engagement

Dive deeper into Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends report here.

Social Media Predictions for 2021

Now that we’re in the new year, it’s time to better understand and orient social media marketing strategies to increase leads and grow your business. Here’s what trends to expect in 2021:

Transparency, inclusivity and sustainability

The name of the game in social media for 2021 is transparency. One of the most important things to take with you into building your new strategy is to be authentic and human. People connect with people. Your brand should be personified in a way that reveals who and what you stand for.

Users are also searching for brands that prioritize diversity and inclusion. A study by Accenture showed that 41 percent of shoppers will shift away from retailers which don’t reflect their views on identity and diversity, and 29 percent will change brands completely if they don’t show enough diversity.

Consumers are looking at brands and their impact on the environment as well. According to Nielsen reports, over 80 percent of consumers feel strongly about brands helping improve the environment. This includes sustainable products, packaging, systems, or corporate social responsibility efforts. 

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Now more than ever, customer experience is critical. Brands leveraging UGC will be able to show consumers the proof they need that they are making the right purchase. UGC is the type of connective, engaging content users are looking for in 2021. It’s relatable and uplifting, as well as builds and strengthens communities.

Increase in live stream and influencer content

Due to stay-at-home orders, there was a massive increase in live streams on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Businesses, celebrities, and influencers were all going live to reach out and connect with their audiences since people were unable to attend in-person events.

Each platform will see their own individual changes as well. 

Facebook

  • Watch out for a trend of more text-heavy Facebook ads. Facebook has removed their 20% rule, which allows for more freedom in content creation. 
  • Experts predict that video ads will convert better than images due to Facebook’s preference for Instagram’s new Reels.
  • Facebook will have a heavy focus on eCommerce as they launch a new shop feature, as well as Facebook Pay.

Instagram

  • Instagram Reels are a new form of video content delivered in 15–30 seconds with its own feed on the Explore page.
  • The Shop tab replaced the Activity tab. This shopping section allows users to shop and purchase their favorite brands’ products without having to leave the app. All business types can list products in the Instagram shopping section for free. This is a game changer for brick and mortar stores to get their products in front of more people.

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn had a big year in 2020. It rolled out LinkedIn Live, Events, Polls, and Stories. These new features allow marketers to live stream to followers, post about upcoming events, determine followers’ opinions, and share videos and photos for 24 hours like Facebook and Instagram.
  • LinkedIn's Career Explorer tool uses data-matching to provide more insight to help guide users to their ideal career path and progression. LinkedIn will continue to refine this tool and its data-matching to allow users to learn how to advance in their career with links to Learning courses.

Twitter

  • Like Instagram Stories, Facebook stories, or Snapchat, Fleets are Twitter posts that are temporary. After 24 hours, Fleets disappear. This puts content right at the top in front of users’ eyes.
  • Twitter has announced they will release Audio Spaces this year. This feature will allow for audio meet-ups, and give users another way to interact.

How to be Successful in Social Media Marketing This Year

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be able to change, redirect, and adapt your social media marketing strategy at the drop of a hat. Users are looking at brands now to talk about and address issues that are impacting our society. However, there is a hope among everyone for a brighter, happier year - and your content should reflect that, too. There’s no way to know exactly what this year will bring us, but these trends and expectations are a great place to start.

Download our free social media SEO guide to learn more about increasing your search visibility on social.

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Olivia Tagye

By Olivia Tagye

Olivia Tagye is an Account Manager and Social Media Strategist for SMA. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Central Florida. Olivia loves the ever-changing rules and strategies in the world of digital marketing and social media. She enjoys working for SMA because everyone works together as a team, and they make an effort to give back.

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