The world got hit by an unprecedented event in 2020 that shifted our daily lives, our habits and how media and digital marketing is consumed. While so many people started to work from home, social media became an important tool for staying in touch and getting closer to friends and family. It also became an important tool for brands to better connect with their fans and build a longer lasting trust. From the variety of options out there, the amount of marketing strategies available can clutter the field for brands to stay competitive and putting effort where it yields the best results. We took the time to research and use our own experience of 2020 to let you know what you should be focused on 2021. Here are the greatest social media trends and strategies you should be focused on in 2021 for your brand to succeed.

1. Influencers Live-Stream as a Shopping Gateway

Live-streaming influencers, UGC, Digital Shopping, Social ecommerce, Social sales, social media conversion

A particular trend in China is making waves in western social media trends. Live-Stream influencer sales are picking up since COVID locked people inside and prevents them from going on a shopping spree. The solution for many brands came by leveraging influencers and celebrities through live streams presenting and featuring products that will make you only want more. And that is a must for any online brand to succeed, regardless of your ecommerce solution!

Live viewing hit a higher viewership of 50% increase during COVID-19 and 70% increase for Instagram. And Tik Tok’s gain on the market in 2020 was unavoidable which will keep growing in 2021. COVID-19 also benefited to Amazon live as it saw an increase in use. This is another element that is quite popular in Chinese social media and shopping streams like JD.com and Taobao. Making the Amazon live stream shoppable brought it one step closer to China’s market strategies.

These only mean one thing: the rise of live-streaming and influencers as a shopping gateway for brands because they deliver on the biggest factors that encourage purchase; trust, and relatability.

2. UGC Content to Drive Customer Trust

It has been a growing trend to have user generated content driving consumer trust in the last couple of years. But with the events of 2020 and the massive explosion of digital purchases, UGC Content has become a must for brands to be able to compete on the market. We are not talking about the massive KOLs out there, but the smaller ones.

2020 has seen a rise in user generated content with many working from home and using the extra time saved to create their own content. Their content become a products experience for consumers. The smaller influencers have a higher engagement from their community, they are more relatable than the big ones, trusted and allows brands to be where the consumers are.

On top of that, thanks to the massive amount of UGC content, brands can repurpose tons of content during a period where staff and employees are stuck at home.

This will be a big driving factor for brands in 2021 as the lockdown measures keep going and consumers look for new content prior to shopping. It is also probably one of the greatest social media trends to consider.

3. Sustainability and Mission Driven Content

Another one of the greatest social media trends should not surprise any brands as sustainability is bigger than ever in 2020 and 2021. As a matter of fact, companies that decided to keep a low-profile last year when COVID was such a big factor of everyone’s daily life saw a drop in their brand recognition. A 2018 report said that 81% of global respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment.

Brands are strongly bound to consumer feelings and keep their trust is a determining factor in the purchasing intent. During COVID’s peek last year, many brands saw a shift in their recognition based on the actions they took.

Greatest Social Media Trends of 2021
[SOURCE: Visualcapitalist.com]

And many companies went straight to addressing their consumers concerns during COVID and build up trust with them. While those that kept quiet ended up falling short of an amazing opportunity the get closer with their shoppers.

Guinness is one that had an amazing campaign message about resilience and assurance by “sticking together” that brought people closer to the brand.

4. Voice Search Massive Gain & Visual Search

Voice search is also gaining a bit momentum with the use of Alexa being more popular in households. Especially with people being stuck at home, Alexa and Google became everyone’s assistant. Linked to the option of also buying products directly from Amazon while spending too much time at home, brands should be weary about getting up to date about their own options.

That influences how brands build their SEO and emphasis on more natural key search phrases that help brands stand out when consumers are communicating through a normal dialogue with their smart speakers.

We also see the increased used of visual search such as Google Lens that now recognizes over 15 billion products. Although while people are stuck at home it might not prove to be as important, as the world opens up, it’s important for brands to stay up to date. That means that the name of images, alt text and EXIF/IPTC Data are very important for the AI from Google Lens to recognize and associate images correctly.

It’s still an emerging market when it comes to visual search, but it will become more and more common as the world opens up again.

5. Easy-to-Consume Content

What’s easy to consume content you might ask? That’s content that requires less effort from the users, less concentration. Like podcasts that people can consume while walking or training or newsletters that land directly in their mailbox without the need for extra research.

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Studies show that Americans are spending more time listening to podcasts (55%) and newsletters openings were up 14% during lockdown. Podcasts are a low-hanging fruit as influencers there are still slowly growing, and the market is not as flooded as YouTube. As for newsletter, although for some they might feel like old-fashioned, people had more time on their hands to not only read through them, but also clean up those that are less relevant.

These forms of marketing help brands connect faster with their users, especially if they take the time to address the turbulent times, we are all going through and check-in with their consumers.

6. Content Marketing Remix, the Low Hanging Fruit of 2021

Content marketing remixing is the answer for the world being on a lockdown and brands that need to keep sharing content with their users when the staff cannot create new promotional material. What is content marketing remixing? It is the simple action of taking previously made content, make it your own, play with the music on it and share it with the audience to better fit with the user’s personality.

This allows brands to sometimes play on nostalgic feelings or simply create new fun experiences for their fans. It is especially useful on TikTok and the new features on YouTube to tap in this trend to capture fans and create viral effects.

To tap in this potential, brands need to tap into the UGC base that TikTok offers through the challenges the platform can create for brands and see the users pass the message. Replicating messages becomes a very effective word-of-mouth for marketers out there and a bit opportunity for brands.

Conclusion

These are the greatest social media trends you should be looking out for brands to stay relevant in 2021. And businesses will be more focused on short-term ROI to balance out last year’s massive turn around. This comes at the risk of moving away from what their brands stands for. Word of advice: keep in mind the “Less is more” tactic to stay relevant and interesting for users. They are already consuming a bigger amount of content and quality is more important than quantity. Be bold, be creative and most of all, share the same fun as your users want to tap in.