Top 5 social media trends for 2021

My favourite quote over the past few years has been this one, by French novelist, critic, and essayist Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” For me, this quote is an ode to 2020. We’ve all had to remind ourselves that despite the sadness, isolation, and uncertainty this year, we can access our imagination and find joy in the small things, without needing to travel to new lands, seek new experiences or buy new things.

Social media, despite all of its faults, has undoubtedly been a way for us to have ‘new eyes.’ It has allowed us to connect with people, laugh at our shared misery, and keep up with the latest information – all without leaving our homes. For many brands, it has been a lifeline.

This year has made social media marketing even more important for businesses now and going forward, and has shaped new trends for 2021 which are here to stay. If this all feels quite overwhelming or insurmountable, don’t worry – you can get in touch if you’re ready to take your brand online and would like Yellow Door to help.

2021 trend #1: Instagram becomes more search-friendly

Social Media Examiner describes how SEO is now driving users’ Instagram visibility: “Now, without the use of hashtags, if you search for a keyword in the search bar, relevant videos, profiles, and posts should populate.” This is ideal for brands, because it drives more reach on posts.

How to action this, you ask? Make sure your captions and your bio include relevant keywords that help Instagram identify what’s being talked about in your post.

Furthermore, to help you show up in ‘search’ within your specific category (niche), follow other accounts that operate in the same niche as yours. Regarding your wider Instagram marketing strategy – make sure you’re posting content that’s relevant to your niche (avoid straying into unrelated categories).

2021 trend #2: Reels drive your Instagram exposure

Instagram launched Reels to compete with the rise in popularity of TikTok. Social Media Examiner explains the true power of Reels: “a new form of video content delivered in 15–30 seconds to create quick, attention-grabbing moments in a creative and entertaining way. Reach is dropping for Stories and feed posts but is exploding for Reels. I’m talking 10 times the number of views you’d expect for your stories or feed posts.”

To action your brand’s Instagram Reels effectively, have a look at Sephora’s Reels – they’re brilliant. This is what they’re doing right:

  • They mostly post 15-second videos, as these have shown to outperform 30-second videos.
  • They often add text to their video to increase watch time (to ‘stop the scroll’)
  • They add a value-based caption to encourage followers to execute a call to action, or to save or share their Reel.

2021 trend #3: The gap between ‘scrolling’ and ‘shopping’ will be significantly blurred

The predictions from the pros is that the shift toward contactless shopping is here to stay, and will allow eCommerce stores to flourish even more in 2021. Massimiliano Tirocchi, CMO and co-founder of Shapermint explains: “Social media platforms like Facebook are making it easier for consumers to go from discovery to purchase without ever having to leave the platform, creating a simple and seamless path to purchase. With social commerce continuing to grow into 2021, retail brands will have to adapt to these platforms with new rules, similar to what many did with Amazon.”

A sponsored Instagram post by RS Luxury Collection came up on my feed recently. They’re currently only selling their products on Instagram and Facebook; you simply DM them your questions and/ or personal information and it’s delivered to you.

Here are a few key elements you may not think of when moving to eCommerce:

  • Survey your audience to see what they really want from your online offering.
  • Set up retargeting ads to capture those users who don’t make a purchase on their first visit to your site.
  • Focus on your website’s user experience (make sure it’s fast, optimised for mobile, has a sleek and simple checkout process including shipping and return policies – the list goes on).

2021 trend #4: Brands must humanise

I often see that phrase and think: what does that actually involve? Humanising your brand on social media essentially means showing the people behind the brand (get more faces out there), and their core values (talk about what matters to your core crew; preferably with video content).

2021 trend #5: Facebook & Instagram ad strategies must remain flexible

Look closely at your market competition and how it affects consumer spending. For example, after Christmas and New Year there will likely be a substantial reduction in advertising costs (due to the reduced market competition because consumers aren’t buying holiday gifts online anymore, so brands aren’t advertising them).

However, after the holiday season, consumers are still spending – they’re just switching from gift-giving to self-improvement goods and services, so it’s a good gap to advertise to appeal to these consumer needs, at a lower cost.

Once you’ve thought about your consumer, you can capitalise on these ad creative trends:

  • GIFs
  • User-generated Content (UGC)
  • Collages
    • Not to brag, but our client Kayos Casting Directors have done this damn well in their latest posts about their team’s top festive film picks.
  • More text-heavy ads

I started with a brilliant quote that gives us hope for the new year, so I’ll end with one too – because it’s too good not to. Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer for Google X, entrepreneur and author, says: “If life has provided your basic needs then your happiness beyond that is a question of your mindset.”

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