The Top Social Media Trends to Follow in 2021

If social media is, in any way, a prominent channel in your marketing strategy, following the latest social media trends should be a top priority.

Social media is young and widely popular, which means it’s constantly hitting new milestones. Social media companies have to assess their business models constantly. They are always making changes to their algorithms, tools, and features.

On top of the everyday business of the social media world, broader social issues also trickle down. They then affect the users and business of social media. Economics and politics are playing an increasingly large role in social media marketing. If your business relies on social media to any extent, it’s important to keep up with these trends.

Why Social Media Trends Are Important

Major social media platforms are used by hundreds of millions of people. The companies also constantly launch new tools and features that are relevant to markers on their platforms. Take the example of Facebook and Instagram Stories, which exploded in popularity over a short period.

Certain things remain constant across social media platforms. But the rapid changes in the industry mean that for brands to remain relevant, they need to learn to adapt alongside these changes.

2021 Main Social Media Trends

Here are the main social media trends that will continue through 2021.

Live Content

Live content has become much more commonplace on peoples’ social media feeds. The number of people consuming content casually from their bedroom has sparked an explosion of live-streamed content of all time.

Live-streamed content is popular for businesses and individuals of all kinds. As a part of the social distancing trend, many musicians have resorted to playing live music from their homes. Online concerts are often watched live by hundreds, then watched by thousands more after the stream.

Even if the pandemic starts to let up ahead of schedule, people have become accustomed to being entertained live without leaving home. Regardless of how the rest of 2021 goes, you can expect live content to remain widely popular.

With many businesses being forced to go digital during 2020, live streaming features have become more common. You can incorporate live content into your social media strategy in many different ways. Live demonstrations or tutorials of your products are one example. But if you have the right talent for it, live entertainment is a good idea as well.

Social Marketplaces

Platforms like Facebook Marketplace will only grow in popularity. Easy shopping is becoming more popular as the retail industry continues to change. Customers can easily purchase new products on Amazon while looking for bargains on used products on social media.

Instagram shopping allows users to add product tags and now customers can check out without ever leaving Instagram. Social media now influences up to 71% of consumer buying decisions. More than half of users use social media platforms to research products.

Social commerce both simplifies and expedites the consumer experience. To keep up with your competition on social media, focus on your social media presence. Social media presence is hard to achieve especially manually, you need to focus on various factors like what time to post on social media to get the most sales and engagement. Most companies use social media management tools to manage and automate their social posting to maximize social presence with little or no work.

Consumers who find your products on social media no longer even need to visit your website to make a purchase, assuming you’re doing things right. Being able to purchase directly from social media reduces cart abandonments. It also makes customers more likely to go ahead and make a purchase.

Marketers Using Games

Social games are increasingly popular on social media. This is one of the trends that preceded the pandemic but has been pushed forward because of it.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a young technology that is quickly becoming more popular. As people have been ordered to stay at home, virtual reality has become even more popular. It’s one of the trends that fills in a huge need in the current market.

Using virtual reality to talk to others makes everything feel much closer. But the technology is also being used much more for gaming.

While this trend isn’t super-popular now, you can expect social media to push it forward. Take the example of Facebook Horizon. The game allows users to explore and connect with others while joining them for other games.

Authentic Brands

Authenticity is one of the most important factors for brand loyalty. It’s a deciding factor for 90% of social media users as well.

What authenticity means to social media users is raw and real visual content. The content you’re putting out should follow your brand image and stay true to it.

Relatability

Another important aspect of authenticity is relatability. Social media users care when they recognize brands that seem to understand them.

Making your brand relatable requires you to do some background research. Create content based on the challenges and joys your customers care about. This will make it easier to build a dedicated social media following.

Social Media Groups

Groups for discussing certain topics aren’t new to social media platforms. However, they have become wildly popular. These online communities allow people to join like-minded people. They use the space to discuss various topics or exchange advice for various hobbies. They will often share advice and stories, ask questions, and help others solve their challenges.

Authenticity and relatability are important factors if you want to leverage these groups for your business. Provide real advice and don’t promote specific products or services on these pages. But you are always free to join these groups and:

  1. See what people are talking about
  2. Learn about the biggest problems in your industry
  3. Understand what people are thinking about

By participating in these social media groups, you can learn a lot. People often ask about products, but they are also likely to provide all the information you need to prepare a good social media marketing campaign.

Education & Brands’ Groups

Launching your own page is another way to gather all the information you need. Many businesses open groups on these platforms to improve their relationship with their customers. Your customers can review your products, ask questions, and share experiences. You can use these pages to collect vast amounts of useful information.

Podcasts

In an age where attention spans appear to be growing shorter, there is one development that challenges that narrative. Podcasts are an increasingly popular format and viewership is only going up.

Long-form podcasts that delve deep into peoples’ interests are the new norm. You don’t need to have huge production value to launch a podcast. But for your podcast to stand out from the others, you will need to provide unique value. Talk about the issues your customers care about and invite for conversations with interesting leaders in your field.

Diversity & Inclusivity

Businesses are under more pressure than ever before to become inclusive. This drive is important for both business operations and marketing.

These issues have been at the forefront for a long time now, but people care more now than before. You can’t afford to sit back and ignore the issues that people care about. Almost a third of consumers would switch to a new brand that is more inclusive and diverse.

Back to the point of authenticity, you can’t fake dedication to diversity and inclusivity. People are more aware of and sensitive to marketing ploys that don’t seem like genuine efforts. So, your content covering and actions towards more inclusivity must be in-touch and meaningful. They mustn’t be short-term trendy actions, or they will backfire.

Going into 2021, expect these issues to grow even more important and move even closer to center stage.

Social Media Supporting Local Enterprise

Social media is lauded for having removed barriers between people. People in different locations speaking different languages can now communicate in the same place. This has meant that business has become less location-dependent as well. But there has been a backlash to this older trend, and platforms like Facebook are responding.

Facebook has been adding new features that reward local businesses on the platform. Just as you’d use SEO tools to make yourself easier to find using a search phrase, you should geo-tag your business for local traffic. Local businesses and local journalists are getting a big boost from Facebook. Facebook now even offers free tools for small business owners.

When you’re launching a targeted ad campaign on Facebook or Google, geo-tag your posts. Promoted posts that are geo-tagged are the best way to reach your most likely customers. These kinds of features are more prevalent on Facebook, which has become the most driven to support local businesses. For example, when you see the “boost post” option, you can set the locations you want to become more exposed to.

There are a lot of location-based marketing options on social media. They are also becoming more useful and more prevalent. Learning how to leverage these geographic options will open new resources for you.

Social Media Crackdown Trends

Social media platforms are now being forced to tackle new challenges. Many people use social media platforms as news sources. This has proven to be a double-edged sword for social media platforms and their users.

Disinformation

As people flock to social media for breaking news on the most important issues, some actors take advantage of the platforms. Big and controversial news stories become inundated with many different groups promoting their take on the story. In many cases, people/groups spread verifiably false information. Examples include conspiracy theories and fabricated stories.

Some social media platforms are taking steps to control this new phenomenon. In some cases, such as Twitter’s, posts will come with warning labels. In some other cases, social media platforms will just remove content.

The challenge of disinformation and these platforms’ fight against it will remain a major trend of 2021 and likely beyond. This likely won’t have a huge effect on you and your business. However, be aware of what others post about your industry and how it can affect your business. Also, be aware that any information you spread, especially when it comes to health and finance, will be more scrutinized going forward. Any strong claims you make shouldn’t be too sensational. But if your claims are, you should back them up with facts and research.

If you follow our other guidelines and remain authentic and honest, you won’t have a problem with this unfortunate new trend.

Covid Awareness

The Covid pandemic is the largest current case study for social media disinformation and the response to it. Any promotional posts that surround the virus will prove controversial.

Other Trends

Some topics are just harder to approach on social media. These taboos won't become any easier to cover as social media strives for a better public image. Facebook is the strictest platform, blocking a lot of promotional content that includes the following.

Gambling

Promoting gambling is against Facebook’s guidelines. You can promote games, but anything that is perceived to be enticing users to gamble will be blocked, often automatically.

It is difficult to promote gambling products on social media and often not worth the hassle.

Adult Content & Products

Adult content is accepted on some platforms. But it’s typically more trouble than it’s worth to advertise it on the larger platforms. Avoiding explicit images and focusing on non-adult aspects of these products might be permitted on some platforms.

Drugs & Alcohol

Like gambling, promoting alcoholic beverages or establishments that serve them can be tricky. The rules on social media platforms will typically fall in line with local laws and norms. You can advertise to age-restricted audiences in many jurisdictions, but make sure you also follow Facebook’s guidelines.

Promoting controlled substances will get your posts blocked on most social media platforms. Even in jurisdictions where some substances are decriminalized or legalized, these posts will be banned. For example, cannabis is legal in some US states, but illegal federally. So, Cannabis advertising on Facebook is banned throughout the US.

Guidelines For Marketers

The trends we’ve gone over lead to actionable advice you can keep in mind with all your social media marketing efforts.

Social Content

The younger your audiences are, the more they will be driven to buy through their favorite online personalities. Online content drives more than half of online purchases by Gen Zers. While millennials aren’t as driven by online content, a slight majority are driven to purchase from the online content they consume.

You will want to create a broader online brand and create a strong, relatable image to sell to younger generations. Work with minor online celebrities, create your own show or podcast. Become an omnipresent force on social media, and you will gain a reliable pool of customers.

Make New Memes

Memes aren’t going anywhere in 2021. They will only become more popular, so it’s important to incorporate them into your content.

Making memes is becoming a popular pastime for many social media users. But as time goes on, memes aren’t a laughing matter in marketing. Learning how to spread brand awareness through well-edited images with appropriate captions drives engagement and leads to sales.

There are many resources you can use to help improve your meme marketing. Editing images and creating your own memes just takes some time. Adding your own text to popular meme templates takes less than a minute.

Kindness Is Important

Some argue that social media brings out the worst in people. But the facts paint a different picture. People generally support kindness and care about the future of society. This is especially evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. During this particularly hard time, they also expect the brands they support to pitch in.

You should lend your business support to the cause that most resonates with you. If you support any charitable causes in your personal life, there’s no reason not to do so through your business. You should make your support known and entice your customers to support causes through those non-profit organizations.

Most people are currently sympathetic to the front-line healthcare workers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. A Twitter survey found that 86% of respondents want brands to support vulnerable community members. 82% of people want brands to support front-line healthcare workers. So, you can help by providing the help you can and by spreading awareness.

Customer Communication

You don’t need to communicate with every single person on social media. But responding to at least a few posts is a practice that will continue to pay off.

Customers care that the brand they’re considering actually cares about its customers. Leave comments, give thanks, and make sure you address the common questions, concerns, and criticisms. Social media is user-driven, so you have to communicate honestly and address the things your customers say.

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