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2021 Social Media Trends

2021-social-media-trends

I know what you’re thinking: another cliche post about social media trends. But hear me out.

2020 was a year filled with uncertainty. It’s impossible to think about where we’ll go in 2021 with our social media without understanding what changed, and how our online habits should too.

As difficult as 2020 was, social media changed some of us for the better. And if we want the good changes to stay, brands need to embrace them.

Here’s how you can be a social media trend-setter in 2021.

Look At Behavioral Shifts

First, I encourage you to read this McKinsey Report entitled, Consumer sentiment and behavior continue to reflect the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis. The insights gleaned from this report truly show how citizens of the globe are responding to the pandemic.

The two biggest places to keep top of mind when it comes to social media trends are …

1) Digital Reigns Supreme: As people choose to stay at home (or in some cases are under orders to do so) online purchases have steadily increased. I do not think this will dissipate in 2021, even as the vaccine rolls out.

Furthermore, according to the report, “food and household categories have seen an average of over 30 percent growth in online customer base across countries”.

2) Shock to Loyalty: Consumer behaviors have changed. This also holds true for brand loyalty. If you don’t already, putting an emphasis on social-first customer care is essential in 2021 and beyond to keep shoppers loyal to your brand.

Additionally, the report states that value, convenience, and availability are the top drivers of purchasing decisions.

mckinsey-covid19-consumer-behavior

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If it wasn’t already, social media is the battleground where loyalty is lost and won.

Classic & Comfortable

Right now, we’re craving the familiar. I’ve eaten more mac ‘n’ cheese than I care to admit, and I know it’s because I’m looking for things that take me to a “safe” feeling.

Nostalgia will be big for 2021. Mark and I discussed comfort marketing on a recent episode of the Marketing Companion Podcast — it’s worth a listen to dive into “nostalgia and comfort marketing.”

First, think about messaging that evokes feelings of security, and comfort. Trust is always a huge win for marketers.

Second, think about past products or services your customers loved. Can you bring back an old mascot? A popular product or service?

Lastly, look to other brands for inspiration. Burger King‘s new “retro-influenced” logo design was received fairly well because it invoked feelings of the past. However, GM’s new design isn’t fairing so well.

Put An Emphasis On Product Discovery

Now that many consumers are doing the majority of their shopping online, product discovery needs to adapt.

One of 2021’s biggest social media trends will be finding innovative ways to get the word out about new products. And where better to turn than the digital channels that consumers visit daily?!

Here are a few ideas around product discovery:

  • Freshen up content
  • If you’re an “IRL” location, think about how to bring your in-store experience online (live videos or social shopping?!)
  • Smaller, easier “grabs” (think Sephora with small — even complimentary — samples)

Things feel monotonous right now. Encourage your team to come up with fresh, compelling ways to get your products (or services) in front of new audiences.

Get Personal

While personalization is nothing new, we need to take it farther in 2021.

As we continue to be stuck at home, consumers will continue to be careful about where and how they spend their money. The brands that answer questions quickly, and that focus their individual needs, wants, and values will win.

This leads me back to the first thing I mentioned, which is exceptional customer care. If you aren’t using a social listening tool yet, I highly recommend you make that investment this year!

Other areas to focus on:

  • Social media or website bot or chat features
  • Loyalty and rewards programs
  • Social media customer support

Expert tip: Responding quickly to questions and comments on social media will never be a waste of time!

Better Representation Of Diversity

As social justice issues took the spotlight in 2020, many brands begun to realize that they fall short on inclusion and diversity. As marketers, we must actively participate in better supporting underrepresented groups.

For starters, this means including Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in your hiring practices, messaging, imagery, etc. Think about your role in your company and how you can make a difference.

Next, I encourage you to read this piece by our friends at Sprout Social about developing a long-term strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Trust me, your consumers want this.

sprout-social-brands-creating-change

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At the end of the day, it’s our job to accurately reflect the real world in our branding and messaging. This is not a trend, it is an ongoing journey.

2021 Social Trends Go Back To Basics

Just as we are rebuilding and revitalizing after 2020, so too are most of these social media trends.

What do you see trending in the New Year on social media. Let me know in the comments section below!

 

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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
Category: Social Media Marketing, Social Strategy
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