2020 was a challenging year, and social media marketers had to adjust to changing trends on the go. The main catalyst was the pandemic, which dramatically increased the relevance of the brands’ online presence, created a trend for user-generated content, and made the audience resistant to fakes. Based on these trends, the conditions for business promotion on social networks in 2021 can be assumed.
Why is it important?
The audience of social networks is steadily growing. This growth continued in 2020, and it is 100% likely that the same will happen in 2021. This year the audience has increased by 12.3%. More than 50% of humanity uses social media now: this is 4.14 billion registered users. There are about 14 registrations every second.
It is obvious that with such colossal metrics, brands cannot ignore social media. In 2021, it will be easier to abandon the development of the company’s website than not to be present on social networks. These platforms give you an invaluable advantage: direct contact with the audience, the formation of an active community, and the growth of trust and interaction.
Naturally, all this is possible with a competent social media promotion strategy. High-quality content and sticking to current trends also matter. Let’s talk about them.
“Zeta” and “Alpha” set trends
Social media trends are shaped by two modern generations: z (born from 2000 to 2010) and α (born since 2010). They’re fundamentally different from the millennials who are now the main online shopping audience.
Zeta and alpha will soon become solvent, and brands need to win the loyalty of this target audience in advance. One way is to talk to young people about topics interesting to them. The most discussed issues on social networks in 2020 are equality, politics, education, finance, food, psychological balance, and the impact of the pandemic on society.
It is important to understand that this is not a short-term trend. Zeta and alpha are already influencing social media trends significantly, and this influence will continue to grow. One more thing: don’t expect them to be stupid. A one-time action in support of a vulnerable social group will not look convincing. If you are targeting new generations, get ready for systematic continuous work. Otherwise, you will get tons of negativity in response and thousands of unsubscribed fans.
Work systematically, articulate clear brand positions on issues of concern to your audience, and you will build a loyal audience united by shared values. Trust will be followed by sales.
This trend is a continuation of the previous one. One of the new generation representatives’ positions is awareness. It manifests itself in relation to one’s health (including mental health), in relation to the world and society. If a brand wants to successfully work with such an audience in 2021, it needs to pay more attention to issues of self-development, tolerance, and inclusiveness.
Content without fakes
The amount of fake information in 2020 was overwhelming. The main topic, of course, was Covid-19. However, even without it, there was so much misleading content that even Donald Trump reposted messages of dubious origin on his page several times.
The audience is tired of fakes. Obviously, in 2021, you should carefully treat the sources of published information and refuse malicious content “for the sake of hype”. Reputation is more important.
Give up not only fakes but also the “tinsel” that you surround the image of your brand with. For several years, social media has allowed businesses and people to show themselves from a false perspective. All these things like a demonstration of success, contrived poses, and simulated emotions are already receding into the past. Just as in real life, sincerity comes first in the visual and textual content.
However, at the same time, this does not mean that the quality of the content should recede. Audiences are used to good content and this trend will continue. Therefore, you need to combine openness and naturalness with professional work on publications.
By the way, in 2021, the popularity of “monochrome” accounts will probably be brought down. We are talking about the trendy approach “one account – one color scheme”. Finally, you can diversify your feed and allow yourself to experiment.
To register an account, you can use special services. For example, the online generator Logaster makes it possible to quickly create basic identity elements for a commercial account branding.
Stimulation of the user-generated content creation
Global self-isolation has prevented users from creating a unique new UGC. In 2021, it seems that local or global lockdowns continue in many countries. Therefore, the winners are those brands that offer new tools and templates for working with content in a new environment. TikTok, which initially gained popularity thanks to its lip-service tools, is a good example. Users can create such content anywhere with just a smartphone and an app.
Due to the events of 2020, people around the world lack positive emotions. General anxiety, fueled by the news and negative social media posts, reinforces the negative background. Naturally, people want to see at least something good.
Memories help. A few pleasant flashbacks from the past (even if not distant) guarantee positive emotions. This works not only with information but also with marketing content. It is always pleasant for people to remember joyful moments. Nostalgic marketing will be one of the trends of 2021.
Even if we assume that in 2021 most people will be vaccinated, and the active wave of the incidence begins to decline, the trend will remain in the directions relevant due to the pandemic. Therefore, branded content should continue to focus on bringing people together, health care, support, and motivation. Moreover, we still need to promote social distance, online orders, contactless services, remote work, etc.
The pandemic has increased the popularity of video games among users. Games have become an alternative to live communication, which was forbidden. This is especially true for online games in which users form local communities, united by common interests and other characteristics.
It is worth reacting to this trend and focusing on creating gamified content in 2021. Entertainment, interactivity, engaging online interaction – all of these should become the driving force in the communication of brands and audiences.
Memes as a communication tool
Use emoticons and GIFs only when targeting an older audience. Millennials and generation “Z” representatives are more used to memes. These are not only means of entertaining the audience. You can try to select memes to reduce the level of negativity or to show the reaction to complex social issues and other relevant topics.
Microbloggers are better than millionaires
Bloggers with a million audiences have better reach, but micro-influencers have much higher levels of involvement. There are several reasons:
- Top bloggers have diverse audiences. There are representatives of different social groups, and it is more difficult to personalize advertising for them;
- An audience is tired of advertising and perceives such bloggers as showmakers: it is interesting to watch them, but at the same time there is little trust in them.
At the same time, a niche blogger who doesn’t chase likes is much more credible. Moreover, his/her subscribers are united by different factors (general interest, gender, age, etc.), which allows you to fine-tune your ads and get more responses. There is one more thing: interaction with micro-influencers is much cheaper.
Many predictions are not new to social media marketers. In fact, this is a continuation of the trends set in this anxious 2020. Companies choose the most useful ones in order to achieve successful results in a long-term perspective.