Today, almost half the world’s population uses social media. That’s a staggering 3.6 billion people that are actively using popular platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What’s more – social media usage is growing across all demographics.
With such an extensive reach, it’s easy to see why businesses, brands and digital marketers are so invested in social media. However, being successful on social media requires consistency, expertise and innovation. If you want to gain more followers, prompt more engagement and turn social media activity into revenue, take a look at the top trends to look out for in 2021:
1. Long-form Video
The popularity of video content has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks in part to high-speed internet connectivity and reduced data costs. It was one of the most important social media trends in 2020 and it’s going to be just as popular as we move into 2021. However, that doesn’t mean that the type of videos we’re watching won’t be subject to changes.
Many experts predict that longer-form video content will become the norm in 2021. Not only is there a clear demand from users watching for videos, but creators are also becoming more comfortable with broadcasting and publishing video content. As a result, we’re likely to see long-form content and live videos becoming more commonplace in 2021.
2. Relationship-Driven Strategies
For too long, brands have focused primarily on the promotional opportunities that social media offers. However, the increasing use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) means that users will only be exposed to content that offers them genuine value. Unsurprisingly, social media platforms strive to deliver an outstanding user experience (UX) and purely promotional content doesn’t always fit into this narrative. Instead, brands will need to publish content that nurtures relationships with their target audience and offers something in return for their engagement.
3. Social Shopping
It’s possible to drive a significant amount of traffic to your site from social media but, in 2021, you won’t need to. The rise of social shopping will see users buying products and services directly from social media platforms. Clickable ads and transactional landing pages already shorten the customer journey, but these steps could be removed completely as social shopping continues to evolve.Top Social Media Trends for 2021
For businesses, this presents a real opportunity to use social media in a whole new way. With the potential to limit distractions and reduce bounce rates, facilitate social sales can have a direct and positive impact on your revenue.
4. Increased Diversification
There are already numerous social media platforms out there and there’s no doubt that more will emerge in 2021. Whether they’ll become mainstream in another question. However, the demographics using the major social media platforms are changing. Instagram’s core demographic has widened over time, for example, and this evolution is expected to take place across other social media sites too.
If you want to leverage social media to increase revenue in 2021, don’t assume you know which platforms your target audience is using. Instead, you’ll need to keep your research fresh and stay up to date with how the market is diversifying.
5. WhatsApp Advertising
Despite having more than 2 billion users, WhatsApp has yet to feature advertising spots on its messaging service. However, this could be set to change in 2021, with many social media experts predicting the introduction of WhatsApp advertising. Given that owners Facebook generate massive revenues from social advertising, it seems highly likely that we’ll see ads on WhatsApp before the year’s out.
6. Unified Data Management
Currently, the vast number of social media platforms makes it virtually impossible to extract and analyse unified data. Until now, that is. In 2021, an increased number of businesses and marketers will be using advanced software to extract and analyse cross-platform data.
As a result, measuring and analysing data on a purely per-platform basis will become a thing of past. While platform-specific data analysis will remain relevant in terms of campaign development, the ability to collate data from multiple platforms will allow marketers to gain greater insight into online behaviour. Furthermore, the ability to access data in a more efficient way will streamline workflows and facilitate more data-driven decision-making.
7. Increased Instagram Opportunities
Instagram is making major changes to its search options, which will significantly enhance opportunities for brands in 2021. When users search for a keyword on Instagram, they’ll now be shown relevant posts, profiles and videos, without having to differentiate between search results. Of course, this means modifying your existing content to ensure that it’s going to satisfy new algorithms.
However, Instagram’s new search-friendly approach is good news for businesses and marketers alike. Until now, the platform has remained relatively difficult to penetrate but the increased reach that’s now available will see brands refocusing on what the site can offer. This, in addition to Reels video content, means Instagram is likely to be a much bigger feature in your 2021 social media strategy.
8. Disinformation Awareness
Social media has been central to the debates regarding ‘fake news’ and disinformation. As a major news outlet, the impact of misinformation on social media platforms can have far-reaching consequences. After repeated calls for social media giants to take action, many sites are now alerting users when content cannot be verified.
With an increase in software and websites designed to fact check and determine the legitimacy of online content, campaigns against disinformation are likely to continue. As a result, we’ll see social media companies taking more steps to actively kerb misinformation and mitigate the negative impact it can have.
Planning for Social Media Success in 2021
The popularity of social media shows no signs of waning. In fact, its user base continues to grow year-on-year. For businesses, this makes social media a vital part of their digital marketing strategies. While the growth of new sites and the evolution of existing platforms can make it tricky create long-term strategies, using the latest trends to enhance your campaigns will help you to boost your online visibility and convert social media engagement into rock-solid revenue.