14 Dec Social Media Marketing Trends To Test In 2021
Social Media Marketing Trends to Test in 2021
Making predictions may seem like risky business these days. In 2020, businesses needed to adapt quickly and creatively, so as we embark on 2021, market leaders are offering their best bets on what’s trending in social media marketing for the coming year.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are adding enhanced features, like video and online shops, while new platforms are added every year. Social media continues to be a cost-effective way to reach clients, but it requires authentic, engaging content to make it worth the ROI of your time and creativity.
“A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears,” said Guy Kawasaki, co-author of The Art of Social Media.
As we flip the calendar to a new year, social media marketing efforts will continue to require empathy and flexibility. It’s prime time to experiment with these top social media trends in 2021 in order to grow and serve your customer base.
Video is king … but keep it short.
From Instagram Reels to YouTube channels, video content captures attention more than any other medium. With one-third of all online activity spent watching videos, 66% of people prefer to watch a short video on a product or services versus reading an article. But here’s the kicker – shorter video content is better. Viewers drop off exponentially after 30 seconds (33%) and even more after two minutes (60%).
As an answer to competitor TikTok, Instagram Reels was introduced earlier this year. In these 15- to-30-second clips, you can feature video, music, and text and generate a leap of engagement (up to 10x) over feed posts and even IG stories. Make sure you have an engaging title/caption, and remind followers to “save” or “share” your Reels. Highlight a product, answer FAQs, showcase a staff member – learn how to make engaging Reels here. If your customers are on TikTok, make your presence known there, as well.
Other video trends:
- YouTube now has the option to add time-stamped chapters to your longer videos so customers can skip right to the content they need. This is an effective way to produce how-to videos or online seminars in bite-sized pieces. As YouTube channels continue to skyrocket along with online business, YouTube coach Salma Jafri says that your unique personality and voice is the key to success.
- Facebook, LinkedIn, IGTV, and Twitter have all beefed up their video capabilities. Each platform now offers a “stories”-type option at the top of the feed that disappears after 24 hours (postable from mobile devices).
- Live video can create a sense of urgency or buzz around an even or product. Facebook and Instagram lives can offer an inside peek into your business, such as unveiling a new product or highlighting a way you’re helping the community in tough times. If customers miss the live event, the video content posts to the platforms for customers to watch later.
- GIFs, which are simple to produce on sites like giphy.com, count as video content and positively impact engagement.
- Using video in your email campaigns used to bog down speed, but with advances in video compression and embedding, it’s a great way to increase open rates. Bitable cites this staggering statistic: video content in emails can improve click-through rates by up to 300%. Plus, open rates increase by 19% and click rates by 65%, according to Campaign Monitor. Check out these best practices for including video in your email campaigns.
- User-generated content continues to make a big play in video marketing. Customers are sharing their love for your product or service in an authentic way, so utilize their content to talk to other consumers. Make sure you have permission to incorporate their content in your marketing – whether it’s sharing their social media post in a Facebook story or clipping it into a Reels video.
- With any video, remember to humanize your brand by using these storytelling tips. Customers want purposeful, valuable content. Even in bite-sized clips, ensure quality content outshines quantity. Quality doesn’t mean professional-level video production, but instead offers authenticity for your brand.
Save steps with shoppable posts.
While eCommerce has been around for years, social media is jumping on the online shopping bandwagon. Brick-and-mortar stores made a major pivot this year to keep doing business in a contact-free way, and even in-person training like fitness and cooking classes made their way online. A huge new feature for businesses is in-app purchasing via Facebook and Instagram, saving customers a series of clicks to an online store.
Additionally, the social media platforms are offering tools for promotions, marketing, conversion and more, and they are partnering with eCommerce sites like Shopify and WooCommerce. Read more to determine if Facebook shops and Instagram Shopping is right for your business.
Messaging apps offer enhanced customer interaction.
Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, IG Direct, and other platforms offer free or inexpensive alternatives to text messaging in order to provide real-time customer support and service. Make sure your chat is enabled only when someone is live and available; set it to “away” when you’re not available and redirect them with your auto-response to a place on your site to find possible answers (like an FAQs page), advises TheeDigital. These apps continue adding more features, like Facebook’s WhatsApp allowing QR codes and links to online catalogs within messages. Find out more about bulking up your efforts on messaging apps here.
Facebook ads are alive and well – so is LinkedIn.
With nearly 3 billion worldwide users, Facebook continues to be a strong leader in social media interaction between businesses and customers – and the value of paid ads on the platform continues to be a worthwhile marketing investment. Facebook pixels help businesses track funnels (such as click throughs from an ad or event), but companies can gather even more detailed data to help narrow and retarget ads. Tracking the life cycle of the customer gives you valuable information on browsing habits, what drives someone to join your email list, or where they click before they make a purchase.
“Test videos, GIFs, and Reels in your own ads to see which perform best with your ideal customer,” advises marketer Emily Hirsh on the Social Media Marketing podcast.
LinkedIn has transitioned from the stuffed-shirt of online marketing to a more conversational, interactive platform. With new features like polls, stories, live, and events added this year, it’s quickly shifting its tone and finding its place not just among business-to-business communication, but in the customer-service realm as well. Spend some time on LinkedIn in 2021.
Read the room.
While scheduling content and social media posts in advance may be a massive time-saver, 2020 showed us that planning too far ahead could be risky. If you’re pumping up a product in the middle of a heavy week nationally, it’s wise to put on the breaks temporarily. 2021 marketing will require adaptability and a hefty dose of discernment.
Digital strategist Javid Louis says, “Throw the rulebooks out. Many of us have shifted from a 30-day calendar to one-week calendar.”
Consumers are looking for companies who are in touch with the times – but also, who don’t overplay it when it doesn’t make sense to your base. People want empathy and a “we’re in this together” posture from the businesses they trust. An example is this clever Lego Wash Your Hands video released in the spring.
Social media becomes more SEO-friendly.
In November 2020, Instagram made its search feature more keyword friendly and no longer dependent on hashtags. Plus, voice searches and artificial intelligence (AI) are making web searches more user-friendly by mean and less reliant on exact keywords.
“This will be game-changing for marketers as we should expect increased opportunities for more reach on posts,” Vanessa Lau, podcast host of Turn Your Followers Into Clients, told the Social Media Examiner. “Take early advantage of this update is to make sure your captions include relevant keywords that will help Instagram identify what’s being shown or talked about in your post.”
Experts note that gaming and virtual reality (VR) is an up-and-coming trend in social media marketing. Small and mid-sized companies may not be able to utilize these features quite yet, but can watch as larger companies incorporate gaming into their marketing strategy. Facebook’s company Oculus is launching new VR products, and Snapchat mini-game apps are continuing to lead the way toward gaming-based marketing. Read how businesses can utilize gaming in their eCommerce efforts.
In the spring, Facebook launched beta testing of its “Collab” app, which is a TikTok-inspired platform where collaborators can create music videos from a compilation of posts.
As the country has learned to embrace even more of life online, smart businesses can cut through the noise by testing out these top social media trends of 2021. Short, personality-filled videos, shops via social media, laser-focused targeted ads, and a company in touch with the current climate can find its niche in this connected world. Finally, a willingness to pay attention, experiment, and pivot will serve both you and your customers well in the year to come.