Social Media is not longer used for the sole purpose of socializing; there was a time where people would spend hours scrolling through social media as it was easily accessible and trendy. Technology is moving fast and consumer interests are hard to predict, especially that brands usually uses social media to stay connected with their target audience; therefore, understanding the audience preference and fostering organic engagement is mandatory. As far as we know the pandemic is here to stay, below are social media trends that will remain popular in 2021 and can help you to engage with your audience.
Everyone and most importantly business had to adapt to the new normal, and live streams were here to save the day. Brands were able to connect with their users quickly and more intimately. As events weren’t happening, brands had a tough time retailing their products, so while adapting they showcased their products on live streams, enabling them to know and buy products. Live streams were being used to make announcements and launches of products. Brands were showcasing the behind the scenes of interviews, collaborations, and takeovers. Live stream interviews became quite a trend in 2020 and will not be going away soon. Adding live streaming to your Social Media Strategy could be of great benefit.
Customer experience helps a Brand to humanize their content. Studies have shown that two-way communication boosts your organic posts at the top of your audience’s feed. UGC helps in strengthening your brand community; the content becomes more relatable and uplifting. It helps brands to generate ‘stay at home’ content in collaboration with its users and social media influencers. User-generated content is free and considered authentic, it helps your brand attain credibility and gain the trust of the customers.
Consumers are more likely to engage with a brand if it focuses on political, environmental, and social issues; Users are looking for something that links the gap between the brand and the consumer, something that they can connect to. Having a purpose for your brand might help. Audiences expect brands to take considerable actions on social issues instead of exploiting them for marketing purposes. In solidarity with the “Black lives matter” protests, most influencers and brands observed a blackout day on social media.
Brands are always excited to create meaningful content for inclusion in their business. Brands know their audience is aware that they have an excess of options to invest their time and money in companies and issues they are passionate about. Inclusivity impacts purchase behavior. Consumers are drifting away from the retailers that aren’t showing any inclusivity of identity and diversity in their brand. Singer/Songwriter Rihanna launched her cosmetic brand called ‘Fenty Beauty’ promising her audience the inclusion of women of all colors. Her brand offers shades and colors for all skin tones.
Increase in voice and visual search
People are relying more on Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Users utilize the voice search feature for various tasks. People were stuck in their houses and human interaction was unavailable around the globe or these devices are easily available in the market. Not only voice search will be prevalent but visual search as well. Google lens enables customers to search whatever is visible to them. Visual search assists consumers and suggests products similar to something they already like. Brands will have to develop an impactful visual identity and provide a comfortable experience to the users. This means that marketers will have to focus more on visuals this year as it will become highly important in the SEO game.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are the trends to look out this year. With everything being shut, brands are constantly trying to offer thrilling experiences for the users. Many e-commerce companies have adapted to AR-programmed shopping, allowing users to try-on products virtually before making a purchase. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook offer several filters for users to click images, film videos, and post them across social media. While there is still a lot to improve on this front, hopefully in the near future AR and VR will become average and enhance the experience of the user.
Video Content Ignites Organic Exposure
2020 was the year where video content became then most engaging form of content. TikTok for instance has witnessed a surge in the downloads, this application that is used by celebrity and aspirant creators of various age groups to create content from dance videos, cooking videos, DIY and social media challenges. Seeing the rise and engagement in visual content, Instagram soon launched ‘Instagram Reels’. Instagram Reels allows one to create short videos of 15-30 seconds long. 15-second videos outperform the 30 seconds video, as Instagram reel preview is limited to 15 seconds before the users have to click “see more”. Hence creating videos of 15 seconds is beneficial as one can watch the content within the preview limit. These short videos can be created very easily from an audio snippet of your podcast, these are called Audiograms and if done correctly will boost your social engagement and web traffic. Stories are a big deal on social media, users have exploited the ‘stories’ feature to its full potential. Snapchat was the first application to offer 24 hours disappearing stories. Eventually, Instagram and Facebook, and now Twitter introduced the feature of stories. The use of video stories outperforms the image content as they are short, engaging, and addictive in a way that people can spend hours scrolling through stories.
Personalized Marketing will be predominant
Personalization is a global consumer trend that allows brands to understand the needs and preferences of their target audience. Businesses are leveraging personalized marketing via social media ads. Personalization has reached a point where brands understand the kind of products the consumer is looking for and show similar ads to them. The more ads you click the more it is easy to understand online behavior and preferences. One of the greatest examples of personalized marketing is Amazon. It provides customers recommendations, based on their search history. Consumers are seeking personalization; they are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized recommendations.
Social Media Communities
Social media communities are becoming popular now. Social media communities are social media groups created by brands to help them connect and engage with their audience and provide a platform for like-minded people to connect. Online communities are especially beneficial to people who do coaching/consulting work, build a membership website or an online course. Make the interaction personal for the audience. Prioritize your brand’s values. Users engage when you provide them with value, and valuing your users starts with problem-solving and communicating. Communication with your audience is essential to build a community. Reach out to your consumers for authentic feedback. Listen to your audience and their concerns; the Q&A feature on Instagram allows one to do that with just one click. It is vital to develop an engagement strategy and one of the easiest ways to do that is to promote user-generated content and it increases reach organically. Using creative ways to give back to your consumers plays an important role in building a community; for example giveaways and rewarding loyal contributors with special and personalized gift coupons, offers, etc.
Social Commerce is retailing products directly through social media platforms. Brands have always used Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to sell their creations. Social Commerce trend is the new approach for brands and is only going to get stronger. Shoppable posts and ads are different from original posts, as they include buttons to direct users to the brand’s website. Facebook was the first platform to introduce the ‘Shop Now’ button on their website and application. One could easily shop without leaving the application, eventually; Instagram introduced “Shoppable posts” that gave brands the ability to tag organic posts, which when tapped, directed users to check out. Instagram seems to have more potential in social commerce, as it is mostly operated by a younger audience. This helps uplifting your digital sales.
As 2020 was unparalleled for big brand and small business alike, social media was utilized for shopping, live chats, and forming relationships with an audience. It is one of the best ways to engage with your target audience; in conclusion there are numerous trends that would be useful to establish your brand’s presence online. Knowing what to prioritize from these 10 social media trends can be tricky, knowing they are new, and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.