If you’re like most people, you probably spent more time on social media during 2020 than in previous years. And while the pandemic affected everything we do, some trends are independently affecting how brands are presenting themselves on social media. Below, we’ll outline some of the trends you should be aware of that will help you and your clients adapt and grow in 2021.
Live Streams Will Remain Popular
According to a recent Sprout Social Index, 40% of consumers want to see more live videos from brands. This is one trend that’s definitely increased during COVID. With brands going out of their way to stay connected with consumers while still maintaining social distancing, live streaming has dramatically increased in popularity and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
Molbak Garden + Home, for example, created a series of live tutorials that they ran on Facebook to help gardeners exploring their green thumbs with gardening tips. Each video typically featured a staff member, their products, and both indoor and outdoor locations. Rather than simply recording the videos and uploading them, they used the more human approach of live streaming to humanize their brand and allow for real-time interaction with their customers.
Bon Appétit produced a casual and entertaining live stream with their test kitchen crew that aired from their home kitchens, dining rooms, and porches that ran on YouTube. They were able to raise money for front-line workers, struggling restaurants, and other COVID-related causes.
Content Over Production Value
While brands struggled to produce content while everyone was working remotely, they made some interesting discoveries. Production became decidedly more low-fi, but customers were continuing to engage with videos, live streams, and other social media content that was clearly created at home. Why? It was more human. Experts are guessing that these bare-bones productions will continue throughout 2021 and that audiences will continue to appreciate it.
Human Conversational Marketing
In the past, many conversational marketing tactics focused on promotion and driving consumers to buy as quickly as possible. Now, many brands are humanizing their approach by focusing on helping consumers by educating them about a product or service while using a more empathetic tone.
One way brands are answering the need for more thoughtful conversational marketing is by using a mix of AI and human interaction on social media. For example, a bot can handle simple questions or queries while an associate could respond to more complex questions and concerns.
Social Commerce Will Grow
Why go to a site when you can buy right off of a social platform? When you consider that 54% of social media users research products on social media, it just makes sense to give them the option to buy then and there. Setting up social media storefronts and making shoppable posts should be among the top best social media practices in 2021.
Even though social media has always been a place for purpose-driven causes, the global pandemic has amplified certain causes and mobilized people looking to help. These people also expect brands to pitch in and do their part. A recent Twitter survey found that 74% of respondents want brands to showcase acts of kindness and 77% said they feel more positively about brands that try to support society during this crisis.
As brands work to navigate the pandemic and help, it’s highlighted the importance of authenticity in their marketing efforts. Brands that appear to be exploiting the crisis to their benefit will most likely experience backlash.
Brick & Mortar Stores
With fewer people heading out to stores, businesses need to pivot to other methods to keep the registers ringing. While online shopping has been popular for a long while, smaller businesses will need to embrace formats like free Instagram Live, shoppable posts, and Zoom to stay connected with their customers. Fitness instructors, for example, can Livestream classes on both Facebook and Instagram. With the integration of in-app purchasing, the challenge of converting customers will mean turning scrollers into shoppers. For brands that don’t have eCommerce stores, using social media to sell will provide new opportunities.
Video Will Continue to Flourish
HubSpot’s 2020 Not Another State of Marketing Report found that video was the most commonly used marketing content and the second most engaging content type on social media. With major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok amping up their video capabilities, marketers can expect video consumption to increase in the coming years.
Gaming and VR Usage Will Grow
A recent HubSpot report found that social media users who identify as “gamers” increased by more than 10 million, or 32%. The same report revealed that the highest uptick in gamer identification happened during the heaviest lockdown months of COVID-19.
With Facebook’s company, Oculus, launching new VR products and platforms like Snapchat launching mini-game apps, it’s clear that gamification on social media will continue to expand. While much of this will be more prevalent with bigger brands, smaller brands should pay attention and make sure to hit the ground running when gamified promotion becomes more widespread.
Brands Will Post Thoughtfully
Do people really want to hear from a brand multiple times a day amid a pandemic? As mentioned above, authenticity is key. Making sure that audiences believe they’re getting true value from a brand will be very important moving forward.
Social Media With Current360
With the social media landscape changing as quickly as it is, it can be hard to make sure your brand’s using its social channels effectively. That’s where we can help. Our team of social media experts can help you connect with your audiences and keep them engaged in this rapidly changing environment. If you’d like to learn more, click here.