Following the whirlwind of 2020, it’s time to step into 2021 and take a look at some predictions for what the year ahead might hold for the digital world. With half of the global population now using social media, it’s evident that the ongoing international stay-at-home orders have encouraged more and more people to jump on board and seek new means of connection and entertainment. This is good news for brands and businesses - wider audiences mean increased opportunities to promote, interact and engage. However, it's important to consider how the landscape has changed and acknowledge that what has worked in the past may no longer be suitable going forward. The wants and needs of social media users have evolved, due to COVID-19 among other factors, so it's essential that your marketing and Community Management strategies reflect this.
As we mentioned in our 2020 social media review, this last year saw a massive rise in the popularity of live streaming content, primarily due to the isolation of lockdown. Users now want to see what’s happening in real-time and feel as if they’re really there, attending events showcased by their favourite brands. Whether you decide to host a live workshop or class, a Q&A session or some behind-the-scenes peeks of your business, it’s a sure fire way to begin building a sense of community between you and your viewers.
With many businesses continuing to operate remotely, super polished and over-the-top content has been ditched in favour of more rustic, personal posts that consumers can relate to. Adverts created using stitched-together footage of Zoom calls between team members and influencer videos recorded in their bedrooms can be seen all over Instagram and Facebook, demonstrating the increasing approval of this homemade type of content. Brands are also moving towards a 'less is more' approach with their social media schedules, preferring to update customers only when they have something genuine and thoughtful to say - instead of bombarding their followers with too many unnecessary posts which can risk looking like spam.
100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day and this report from Hubspot found that video was not only the most commonly used marketing medium, but also the second most engaging content type on social media after photos. Modern consumers no longer want to spend time reading lengthy text posts that can sometimes lack emotion - they want to see brief highlights from their favourite brands packaged into easily digestible clips. Plus, with many social media apps now enabling videos to auto-play as users scroll through their feeds, your business has the chance to grab customers’ attention without them even having to press a button.
Social platforms are no longer just a place to connect with friends and family and like pages - emerging features such as Instagram’s shoppable feed and stories, Facebook’s Shopify integration and buyable pins on Pinterest now allow people to add companies’ products to their cart with a simple tap or click. It’s forecasted that in 2021, the global social commerce market will increase by about 34%, making it a key consideration for businesses planning their upcoming strategies.
2021 is also set to be the year of focussing on community growth and brand love, with businesses aiming to establish meaningful relationships with their fans on social media instead of overtly pushing for sales and instant conversions. Now, more than ever, customers value authenticity from brands, paired with genuine interactions and the opportunity to share personal experiences. Private groups give your most loyal followers a space to talk about how your product or service makes a difference in their lives, provide honest feedback, and chat with other members. Read our blog post about the importance of having a Community Page on Facebook to learn more about the benefits and goals it can help your brand achieve.
Social media is always changing - especially in the midst of a global pandemic! - but that’s a good thing. While it may seem daunting for your business to keep up to date with the latest trends, with such a large variety of platforms and features now on offer, there’s undoubtedly something to suit every type of brand. What's your plan for the year ahead?