5 Social Media Trends to Watch and Leverage in 2021
2020 will be remembered as the year when we all took social media seriously. Or rather, we thought we did, until we were forced to stay at home and away from people and places that we loved thanks to the COVID19 pandemic.
Social media has now become an integral part of our lives and daily routines. Some are addicted to it while for others, it’s where they “hustle”.
I personally spend around 3 to 4 hours on social media every day, plus the first thing that I check on after waking up is most likely my social media.
How long do you spend on social media on an average day? (Highlight this and leave a comment)
What followed the increasing amount of time that people spent on social media platforms was a corresponding increase in the amount of content being shared by users, digital creators, marketers and even brands, making it a challenging task to stand out unless you have a clear and unique strategy that works.
In the rest of this blog, I will share a few trends that will dominate social media, helping brands attract new customers and better engage their existing ones.
1 — Ephemeral Content (Disappearing Posts) Will Continue to be Popular
Instagram stories are the perfect examples of ephemeral content. Ephemeral content is any piece of content with a limited life span. On most apps, they only last for a maximum of 24hours before disappearing.
This type of content was first made popular by Snapchat and was exclusive on the “ghost app” until Instagram allegedly “stole” the secret formula, massed produced it across their sister apps (Facebook and Whatsapp) and then lost it to their neighbours, Youtube, Twitter and LinkedIn which all now have the story feature. (We are all waiting for Gmail to start showing stories 😹)
Why stories will continue to win.
- Disappearing posts create a FOMO effect, prompting users to prioritise such content
- We now live in an age of content and information overload.
- The attention span of humans is also now super short (Fun fact it’s shorter than that of a gold fish…)
- Plus no one wants to read a 15mins blog or watch a 34mins video just to learn how to crop a picture.
This is why content formats like Stories have become popular. They are short and sweet, mostly engaging, and addictive in a way that people can spend hours scrolling through one Story after another until they realize they have spent the same 34mins watching multiple stories.
Upgrade your stories game
You don’t want people mindlessly clicking through your stories or pressing the mute button when they realize you just wasted their time. These tips will help you create and share more engaging stories.
Be creative — the best stories are not perfect, they are human. Most brands use stories to share the behind the scenes of their people and organisation.
Unless you are a meme page, avoid posting random things 🤚🏾🚫. Instead, tell short connected stories of your day to keep people watching each slide intentionally.
Use tagging stickers when you can…. People are more likely going to repost a story that they are tagged in than a post to their neatly “curated” feed.
This blog on Buffer shares 20 tricks and features you can use to spice up your story game
2 — Video Content Will Continue to Dominate the Internet
Video content consumption is growing at a super-fast rate. Platforms are also optimising regularly to accommodate better quality video content.
Remember how we used to only have only 15 seconds videos on Instagram which later become 60 seconds? Now IGTV and Reels have changed the game for video content on the App, that’s how fast video is growing on just one platform.
Compared to a couple of years ago, the Internet is now faster and relatively cheaper, smartphones are also better optimised for videos, plus, it’s just easier and faster to watch a 5mins tutorial on “How to knot a tie” than read about it.
Videos are entertaining and memorable and provide consumers with a more immersive experience compared to written content and customers are more likely to watch a product or service in action rather than read an article or look at an image.
It’s also harder to be distracted when watching a video as it engages almost all of our senses.
According to a report by Cisco, by the year 2022, video content will form 82% of Internet traffic and the success of niche platforms like Youtube, TikTok and Thriller is proof that video is the future of content.
Getting started with video…
Video creation can be a daunting task but there are tons of mobile and desktop apps that can make a total beginner look like a rockstar. If you need a recommendation, my favourite mobile video creation app is Inshot. It is lightweight, easy to use and comes preloaded with tons of features.
TikTok’s short lip sync videos also made it super easy for brands to create videos almost effortlessly by jumping on the most viral trend and doing absolutely nothing aside from lip-syncing, jumping, dancing or doing whatnot. Oh, and Instagram copied this too and gave birth to Reels. 😹
There are even more immersive types of content that already exist we may start to see soon on social platforms, these are Augmented and Virtual Reality, for the sake of length I would not discuss them here, but you should google them to learn more.
I also found these Social media video tips & strategies on Sprout Social very useful for both beginners and anyone looking to redefine their approach to video content. You should check them out
3 — Live Streaming Will Continue to Connect Us in 2021
We all know how the COVID19 global lockdown forced businesses to adapt fast to available technology.
The live streaming industry saw massive growth. companies like Zoom moved from being just an enterprise software for large companies to a household name for kids taking classes online and family members attending church services from their homes, some even called it, the pandemic’s social media.
A report by Daily Esport revealed that The Video Live Streaming Industry Has Increased by 99% in 2020.
Another interesting report by 99Firms shows that 80% of Consumers Prefer Live Videos to Blog Posts. This is some scary stat to read especially if you are a blogger. This is why I would be repurposing this blog and reviewing it in a live video. 😹
Almost every social media platform now allows users to go live. Many brands have taken advantage of this feature to engage their existing community and humanize their brand as social media live streams do not need any professional production kit. With just your smartphone and the cheapest mic, you can get the job done.
Get creative with live streaming…
Aside from organising low budget live ted talks 😭, you can use the opportunity to get to know your community by bringing them on to your live stream.
A good example would be taking your audience on a live tour and if I owned a fashion shop, I’d stream my new arrivals or the process behind creating some of our favourite looks. It’s a great opportunity to engage and educate your existing customers and prospects about your brand.
4 — We’ll See More User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content is any form of content that was originally created by people instead of brands. It’s a powerful strategy for brands to show authenticity, build trust and drive purchase decisions by encouraging actual customers to talk about their experience with their products.
There are many benefits that come with UGC but they all point to the most important one — its high impact on consumer’s purchasing decisions. A report by Adweek says, 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than any form of brand content.
With the right strategy, you can inspire your customers to create content and share their experiences with your products, this helps also you to build out your content library so you’ve always got relevant material to share.
Getting started with UGC
- Firstly, be clear about what type of content you are looking for and encourage your customers to share the same
- Drive participating by offer value in return
- Create a branded hashtag for your customers. — This helps you to track posts that you are not tagged in.
- Ask for permission before you share and credit the creators. (You are not entitled to content because it features your brand)
5 — The Rise of Social Media Communities
In the past few years, Internet users have started drifting from broadcast-style conversations to community-style conversations; where they can share and consume meaningful content, but most importantly, where they can feel a sense of belonging — as they connect with like-minded individuals who want to discuss the same things they do.
If you are new to the trend, online communities are groups of people who have a connection with your brand and/or each other. The community provides a warm and welcoming environment for them to communicate with you about your products and often share brand experiences.
This creates a deep brand-customer connection and when this relationship is nurtured, they become your strongest advocates and biggest assets.
Brands and marketers are now leveraging this by creating social media communities to provide a networking platform for their customers and share valuable content. There are tons of reasons why smart brands are now adopting communities but here are my best ones… 👇🏾
Online communities help brands and marketers to organically keep track of consumers’ changing expectations, help consumers feel involved, and ultimately deepen the brand-consumer relationship.
Brands can also utilize their social media communities to launch new products, get customer feedback, and gain valuable insights into how customers feel about their brand.
Brands winning with online communities
Peloton is a highly successful American exercise equipment and media company and one of many brands that have a social media community at the centre of their strategy.
The company’s VP of community, Jayvee Nava, was quoted saying that Group membership numbers grew from 1,300 in 2015 to more than 116,000 by 2018. At the time of this post, they have way over 380k members.
The group members share their personal biking stories, weight loss journeys and offer each other advice. Engagement is now so strong that most questions posted are promptly answered by other members who now act as advocates for the brand.
According to Jayvee Nava,
“Membership growth in the Group has far outpaced Bike sales, as existing Members invite their family, friends and colleagues to join this positive and supportive community,”
What Strategy will you be adopting this year?
There are tons of trends we would continue to see on the rise, but these are top on my list especially because I have seen them work. Which of these strategies are you currently implementing and which new ones would you be adopting this year?