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Top Social Media Trends for 2021

With the necessity of having a solid brand presence becoming more and more essential for a brands success, we are bound to see many different social media trends in 2021! Many are likely to stay, particularly if they help brand awareness and are easy to achieve.

When it comes to gearing up for 2021, especially with Instagram marketing, there are two things that all marketers should take advantage of: SEO and Reels.

In November 2020, it was officially announced that Instagram would become more search-friendly. Now, without the use of hashtags, if you search for a keyword in the search bar, relevant videos, profiles, and posts should populate.

This will be game-changing for marketers as we should expect increased opportunities for more reach on posts, so I would highly recommend ensuring that your caption includes relevant keywords to your business. Furthermore, you may have seen marketeers beginning to use the Alt-Text section on Instagram posts. This will also help with your SEO rankings.

2. Content value will beat production quality.

When many businesses were forced to go completely remote in 2020, social media and video marketing teams needed develop scalable production processes that could be done from home.

When consumers still continued to engage with videos, live streams, and other social media content that was clearly made from home offices, marketers realized that content with lower production quality can still be engaging -- if it provides value.

So don’t worry if your pictures aren’t as clear or professional as you would like them. People understand that you may be using your phone to create the content for your socials, especially if you are a small brand or start up! As long as you giving you audience value, whether this is informative or educational value or simply wholesome content, then you are bound to steadily build up your following.

3: Reels Ignite Organic Instagram Exposure

Though there are plenty of fun and fancy features rolling out for marketing on Instagram, the trend is clearly moving towards video—especially short-form video.

Instagram Reels are essentially their own version of TikTok’s. Whilst TikTok is currently a worldwide phenomenon, I have a strong feeling most of their audience will move to Instagram reels by the end of the year. The easier the task is, the more we like it. Well, people may start to get fed up on flicking backwards and forwards from different social media platforms. I mean, what is the point, when Instagram has photos, reels AND stories (sorry snapchat!)

The time to embrace short-form video marketing is now. Instagram Reels can be 15 or 30 seconds long and I like to think of them as stories on steroids. Reels don’t have to be intimidating. They can be as easy as talking to your camera, just like stories. What makes reels so engaging is the fact that you can add music and text to keep things interesting.

4: More brands will go live.

In 2019, one in five Facebook videos were live. In May of that year, YouTube users cumulatively spent 284 hours watching live video. In 2020, as many brands were forced to take conferences, events, and other marketing experiences online, it's not shocking to think that 2020 live stream numbers could be higher.

At the moment, many brands are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Twitter to live stream events, Q&As, tutorials and other types of content. These types of content keep your followers engaged with your brand by bringing an event they otherwise might not be able to attend directly to their screens.

5: Brick & Mortar Stores Embrace the Shift to Online Shopping on Instagram

As we are currently going into our.. what is it? 3rd, 4th Lockdown, businesses that only have a physical store are going to be struggling now more than ever. Sadly, eCommerce is probably the only reason that many businesses are still standing. As we become accustomed to the “new normal,” businesses need to pivot to ensure sales keep coming in and numbers exceed previous years. But with new rules and safety measures in place, what will that look like?

Any traditional operation that can be turned into an online process will do so, and all in-person contact will be limited. This change is bound to be adored by some and loathed by others as it significantly augments the way we’re used to conducting business. This makes it even more important that the online version of your product or service is delivered at its highest quality and standard.

This shift toward contactless shopping will allow eCommerce stores to thrive even further in 2021. With social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook already beginning to integrate in-app purchasing, the steps traditionally required to convert a user to a customer will be reduced and the gap between ‘scrolling’ and ‘shopping’ will be significantly blurred.

6: Brands Must Humanize

This trend has already been seen in many larger businesses. It has been proven that consumers enjoy feeling as part of a brand, whether that be with a more personal touch to the customer journey or understanding what goes on behind the scenes. This can often have the best impact on larger businesses, even luxury brands, that consumers don’t see themselves in the brand and therefore don’t buy from them.

Smart businesses will understand that being transparent, authentic, and even vulnerable is smart marketing in 2021. People connect with people. This means the brand should be personified in a way that reveals who they stand for and what they stand for.

7: LinkedIn Culture Shifts Toward Conversational Transparency

I love LinkedIn! And 2020 was a massive year for LinkedIn. The platform rolled out LinkedIn Live, Events, Polls, and Stories. In the coming year, marketers need to embrace not only these new features and content formats but also the shift in culture created by the rise in remote working from home.

Professionals working remotely are engaging with conversational content because it mimics the team environment they’re missing.

During the pandemic, many people turned to LinkedIn for help, for guidance and for support. With the many job losses all around the globe, people of all ages began using LinkedIn for conversations, many even unprofessional conversations, but all in all, LinkedIn turned into a transparent platform. Somewhere where you can address any kind of issue, achievement or sadness, and you would get complete support from people who do not even know!

Here’s to a great 2021!

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