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most important social media marketing trends in 2021

The Most Important Social Media Marketing Trends To Plan For In 2021

Social media marketing, and businesses in general, were well and truly shaken up throughout 2020. It was a year no one could have predicted, with the Covid-19 pandemic changing the way we go about our lives and business.

If planning your social media marketing strategy for 2021 seems daunting, don’t worry – we’re here to help! Here are the best ways to plan for 2021, including the social media marketing trends of 2020 and how they might feed into 2021 social media use.

Don’t Shy Away From Cultural Context and ‘The New Normal’

The Covid-19 pandemic was a huge part of 2020, but it won’t just disappear at midnight on 1 January 2021. This historical event has forever changed the way companies small and large conduct their business, particularly with the growth spurt in eCommerce, and everyday users now hold businesses more accountable for their humanity and compassion.

Community, Compassion, & Socially Conscious Content

As the outside world was restricted, a lot of people turned to social media for comfort and community in 2020. Users are more engaged than ever after being locked in the house and glued to their devices for months, conducting more online shopping and finding more brands to follow.

One social media marketing trend for 2021 will be treating your audience with care and compassion; these unprecedented times have taken a toll on every individual’s way of life. Content has become and will continue to need to be personal, authentic, honest, and conversational in order to engage consumers and build consumer-brand trust.

Focus on political, environmental, and social issues on social media grew in 2020, with “56% of consumers revealing that they have no respect for businesses that remain silent on important issues”. While it may be ‘easier’ to steer away from such issues, the risk of slightly lowering reach numbers does not outweigh the reward of connecting and engaging with your target audience about issues close to their hearts. However, it is not about just ‘talking the talk’ – Sprout Social’s 2020 Trends report points out the importance of authenticity in “saying what you mean and taking action” to create meaningful connections with your audience.

Nostalgic and Feel-Good Content

On the flip side to creating meaningful, socially conscious content for 2021, the ‘nostalgic’ route has been hugely successful in 2020, and no doubt this will continue into 2021, as people are longing for the ‘good times’ of the past. Talkwalker reported that nostalgic and ‘reminiscing’ keywords shot up in usage since the pandemic hit; this trend helps to fuel escapism and feel-good distractions for users during difficult times.

We predict that the trend of nostalgic, feel-good, escapism content will continue well into 2021 and it’s a good idea to incorporate this into your social media marketing plan for the next year. Expand your content range and you could see great improvements in the consumer-brand relationship and loyalty.

Organic Strategy and Search Optimisation Will Be Even More Important

The social media platforms we know and love are getting smarter with each update. With channels becoming more search-friendly (more in tune with the content, less reliant on hashtags), social media marketers should be planning for organic, search-optimised content and copy for 2021. Better search capabilities allow the possibility of more reach, so try to stay on-topic for your niche if you want increased reach and, ultimately, better engagement rates.

This doesn’t mean ignore paid content, though – social media is great for utilising both paid and organic strategies in conjunction with varying purposes/goals. Pay attention to your business needs and objectives, target audience, and budget, then plan accordingly.

Being Prepared For and Embracing New Features

It’s hard to predict the future, and no one truly knows which hot new social media features are coming until they’re announced, but staying on top of social media news and updates is key. In late 2020, Instagram completely reorganised the home screen to make room for the new Reels and Shop tabs. It had been a while since such a big change happened to Instagram’s design or layout, so it just goes to show that these new features can surprise you. For social media marketers, it’s important to keep up-to-date with all things social media so, where appropriate, you can adapt your marketing strategy with the new tools available.

Staying on top of new features for social media also helps your brand by remaining relevant with your audience — being dynamic instead of static is key for engagement. Don’t be afraid to try out new features and see what works for your business – data analysis will help you decide where to adapt your marketing plan and where to stick to ‘old faithful’ aspects of the plan.

Diversifying Your Use Of Social Media

TikTok showed us the impact that a young, creative, and unique platform can have – in March 2020 the app saw 76 million downloads, and 44 million in August 2020 (source). In today’s social media climate it is clear that a diverse range and use of social media is key for success. Each platform has different demographics and core user bases, so plan according to your specific target audience.

We recommend embracing as many social media channels in your marketing strategy as possible for the best results in reach and engagement, according to your target demographic and content you’re able to create. This includes changing up the content you post for each channel – simply copying and pasting between your social media accounts will see low engagement as the content is not tailored for each platform or user base.

Multimedia and ’Remixing’

Video and multimedia content continued to rise in 2020. ’Remixing’ takes existing multimedia formats and ideas, and recreates them in a new way – the popularity of this content grew in 2020 thanks to TikTok and Instagram Reels. The possibilities are endless with this type of content as it is still new, so expect an even bigger social media marketing trend in 2021 with brands, content creators, and personal users alike utilising remixing.

The art of remixing provides new possibilities for User Generated Content, encouraging users to use branded templates, sounds, and video formats to increase exposure and reach. This also applies to influencer marketing, where influencers can experiment with branded remixing to raise brand awareness and bring new audiences to your business.

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