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Social media is a fun and dynamic place where nothing remains constant. One day everyone is obsessed with a silly social media challenge and the next day everyone forgets about it and moves on to something else.
Given that social media trends keep changing constantly, it is important to keep up with the latest ones to stay at the top of your game.
In this post, you will learn about 9 of the biggest social media trends to watch out for in 2021. You will also find tips on how to leverage these social media trends to your advantage.
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1. Social Commerce Will Become More Mainstream
One of the biggest social media trends for 2021 is the rise of social commerce or selling via social media platforms. Whether it is Instagram shops or Facebook Marketplace, social commerce will continue to grow in 2021.
This trend is driven by a number of factors like the launch of business-friendly features by social media platforms and the ease of shopping. Let’s discuss each of these in more detail.
In recent years, social media companies have come up with new and innovative ways to help brands sell their products on their respective platforms. Features like shoppable posts and swipe up to buy make it easier for brands to direct traffic from social media directly to their product pages.
But that’s not it.
With features like Instagram shops and Facebook Marketplace, things have become even simpler. Now, consumers don’t even need to leave the platform entirely but can buy directly from social media.
This has not only helped brands sell more, but have made shopping convenient for consumers. You can simply look at a social media post and click on the product you like to buy it. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s an example:
Image via Instagram
Overall, social commerce has become a mainstream retail channel now rather than being a new, out-of-the-box sales platform. And, it is expected to take the center stage as one of the most important sales channels in 2021 and beyond.
2. Consumers Will Crave More Snackable Content
If there is one thing that social media users love to binge on for hours is snackable content in the form of stories. Stories are extremely short-form content that disappears after a certain time, making people want to consume it quickly.
You can spend a lot of time looking at one story after the other before you realize that you should probably stop. That’s the beauty of ephemeral content like stories: it’s addictive, easy-to-consume, and creates a sense of urgency by being time-limited.
In 2021, ephemeral content like that will gain more demand. You can leverage this trend by incorporating stories into your social media content strategy.
Post engaging and frequent stories on your social media accounts to keep your customers engaged and entertained. You can also use these to sell your products by adding a CTA and link to it.
Here’s an example of an Instagram story by Starbucks where they are promoting a holiday-special beverage.
Image via Instagram
3. Video Will Continue to Be the Most Important Type of Content
Videos have emerged as a clear winner among all types of social media content and will continue to dominate through 2021 as well.
The main driver for this trend is the fact that videos are engaging and informative at the same time. You can convey a lot more information through a video than you could via a long text-based post or any other type of content.
On social media, especially, videos like product tutorials, reviews, or product unboxing are quite popular with both brands and influencers. Apart from these, funny or entertaining videos and mood boards are also popular on social media.
Sephora, for example, posts lots of makeup tutorial videos on its Instagram account.
Image via Instagram
Basically, there is a lot that you can do with videos, depending on who your audience is and what your marketing goals are. The point is to use videos for social media as these will be the preferred type of content for most users.
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4. More Brands Will Go Live
Another popular content format on social media is live video. Brands and marketers are increasingly using this to have a real-time interaction with their audience.
The beauty of live videos is that it allows for a real, face-to-face interaction between a brand and its customers/audience. Moreover, it allows you to read audience comments and answer their questions in real-time. This is what makes live videos so useful and popular.
But, how can you leverage this for your brand?
Well, one of the best ways to use live videos is to host a Q&A session with your audience. Go live and talk directly with your audience and answer their questions.
You can also use live videos to host an interview or a talk with an industry influencer. Another great use of live videos is to show behind-the-scenes updates from an event.
Overall, experiment with the format and use it as part of your social media content strategy to keep up with the trends.
5. Authenticity Will Continue to Be Vital
When people come on social media, they want good, engaging, and authentic content and not promotional, branded content. Luckily, brands have found a way to make their content look non-promotional by making it seem like native app content.
On social media, most brands post content that is useful and relevant to their audience. The goal is to build a loyal and engaged audience base instead of pushing promotional content on them. And, this works too.
Here’s an example of the beauty brand Dove, providing useful tips to its audience.
Image via Instagram
Consumers want to form real, authentic relationships with brands that they invest in and stay loyal to. So, make sure that your social media content is more relevant to your audience than promotional.
This also extends to your influencer collaborations on social media. When your search for influencers, make sure that you prioritize relevance and authenticity over vanity metrics. You can use one of the numerous tools to find influencers and use a variety of filters to select the right ones to help your online branding campaign.
6. Social Media Will Be Used as a Discovery Engine
Have you ever gone on social media and saw a post about a brand or product and ended up checking out their page or even buying?
Well, if the answer is yes, you are not alone.
Social media, in recent years, has become like a discovery engine for people to find new brands and products. You may find more new brands/products on social media in a day than you would through any other medium.
It’s not just that!
People don’t just discover products on social media by chance, but also come to social media for researching a brand or product. From product reviews to tutorials, social media is a gold mine for good, product-related content.
You can research specific products before making a purchase or go to your favorite influencer to seek product recommendations. Basically, social media is and will continue to be a place for discovering new brands and products.
So, make sure that you use social media to effectively showcase your products and their features in a natural way. Collaborate with influencers from your niche to further solidify your efforts.
You can effectively manage your social media accounts using social media management tools.
Finding these social media trends and tips to leverage them useful?
Keep reading to find out the best social media trends and ways in which you can use these.
7. Social Media Messaging Will Improve
Social media messaging has evolved from a rudimentary system to full-fledged messaging apps in its own right.
Take Facebook Messenger, for example. It is no longer just a chat window that appears when someone messages you on Facebook. It has been branded separately and been launched as a messaging app. You can use it not just to exchange text messages, but also to make voice and video calls.
Similarly, Instagram’s messaging feature recently got a makeover with all those fun and interactive elements.
Instagram chats have multiple themes that you can set for each conversation. You can reply to individual messages like you could on WhatsApp. And, there’s a lot more!
Overall, social media messaging apps are evolving into sophisticated platforms that may even replace traditional text messaging.
8. Social Media Customer Service Will Become More Prominent
With people spending more time on social media than ever before, it has become a place where users like to interact with brands as well. Consumers no longer want to wait in a queue to talk to a customer service executive when they can directly tag a brand or its owner on social media.
Social media has emerged as a platform where consumers voice their concerns, share their experiences with brands, and directly have conversations with a brand.
In such a scenario, brands could not have ignored these customers or their queries. Brands had no choice but to evolve with the times and accept that social media is now another customer service channel.
So, more and more brands are now leveraging tools for social listening to actively monitor and respond to conversations around their brand. They’re responding to customer queries, resolving complaints, and even directing them to the right resources.
Nike, for example, responds to user comments on its social media posts, despite being such a big and popular brand. It is all about nurturing customer relationships and all successful brands understand this.
Image via Instagram
Customer service through social media is much broader in scope. It is more than just answering questions, but more about actively engaging with customers and building relationships.
So, if you are not actively responding to customer comments and queries on social media, then it’s high time that you start doing so. If you ignore such messages, it will only be bad for your reputation. Actively engage with your audience on social media and make sure that you respond to both positive and negative comments.
Also, be proactive and use social media monitoring to track conversations around your brand and participate in those conversations.
9. Social Media Marketing Will Be a Two-Way Street
The last trend on this list is the rise of conversational marketing on social media. Unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing is more conversational and not one-way communication.
With social media marketing, you cannot just push marketing communication on your audience and expect to see good results. Social media is more about forming relationships and having conversations with your audience.
One good example of this trend in action is the growing popularity of Facebook Messenger bots. More and more brands are now using AI-based chatbots to interact with their customers on Facebook Messenger.
These bots greet people as they visit a brand’s landing page, help them find what they are looking for, and even make recommendations based on their preferences. These bots can effectively mimic human interactions and talk to a user like a human. This helps prospective customers not only find what they are looking for but also have a good overall experience.
Chatbots are one of the best tools to get customer feedback. And, based on such interactions, chatbots also gather tons of useful user information that you can use for your marketing.
For example, if you are running social media ads, past interactions with a user will tell you exactly which products to show in the ad for any individual.
Want to know the best part?
You don’t even need to do any of this manually. Social media advertising has evolved to a level where it can show the most relevant ads to each user.
Overall, social media marketing is more about understanding each consumer and then targeting them with relevant marketing content. It is also about engaging in conversations with your prospective customers, rather than just pushing promotional content.
These are some of the most important social media trends for businesses that can help you win at social media marketing. Use these trends to stay ahead of the competition and boost your social media ROI.
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Get started right now and see the results first hand. All the best!
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