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The Most Important Social Media Trends to know for 2021

In today’s world, social media plays a large role in our lives. Our day begins with checking WhatsApp messages and ends with following the trends on Twitter. Given just how important the virtual world is to the average consumer, marketers, and businesses across the world are now, more than ever, moving to social platforms to connect with their target customers and make their presence felt.

With advancements in algorithms and new features on social platforms being introduced every day, social media trends also keep changing. When Snapchat started its disappearing, FOMO-inducing content a few years ago, it was not as popular as it is now. Instagram Stories took over the trend of disappearing posts, and today an astonishing 500 million users post stories every day on their Insta feeds.

This just goes to show how quickly trends come and go in the social media space!

As a digital marketer, you will need to stay on top of the latest social media trends in 2021, and refresh your marketing strategies so that you are one step ahead of the evolving market. Here are the top trends that you should watch out for!

1. Live streams continue to be popular

With the pandemic enforcing social distancing, businesses and the arts turned digital. In-person meetings were converted to Zoom calls, and music jam sessions became live streams of artists who played from the safety of their own homes.

The statistics on record reflect this new global phenomenon. Facebook messaging and live streaming saw a huge rise in numbers, and especially in Covid hotspots like Italy, the number of views on Facebook and Instagram doubled in a week. Everyone was online, connecting virtually rather than in-person, which was no longer considered safe! 

Even today, the pandemic is far from relinquishing its hold, and the virtual space has become our new normal. People interact with brands without having to leave their home. Shopping online is the new trend for the foreseeable future, with many global giants in fact closing down many of their in-person shops and franchises due to a lack of sales.

A recent Sprout Social Index shows that 40% of consumers want to see more live video from brands, and this should definitely be a part of your digital marketing strategy for 2021.

2. Content in the story format

With over 500 million users posting their stories on Instagram every day, this is a format that is not going away soon. To get noticed, brands must take a more organized approach and create marketing content in the form of Stories. It has also been proven that videos have a higher rate of engagement than photos or text, so short videos would be the preferred way to go.

SocialInsider, in a recent study, found that images in Stories have a 5.65% higher tap-forward rate than videos, meaning that more people moved on to the next story without viewing the image. While videos are proven to engage viewers more, photos have a higher drop rate indicating that the audience is just not interested. This is the reason why more than half the popular brands are already using videos in Stories.

This number is only likely to increase exponentially in 2021, as more brands realize the potential in creating short, engaging videos to boost their popularity.

3. Virtual reality will be the new buzzword on social media

With people seeking more meaningful interactions virtually, the adoption of technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is on the rise. VR provides people with the kind of interactions that they are missing in the real world. Even if someone is halfway across the world, through VR you can get the sense that you are actually together.

Facebook is working on introducing Horizon, their social reality world, and other platforms cannot be far behind. Using the Oculus VR platform, Facebook is in the process of beta-testing an online world that allows people to virtually connect with others, and play games.

As more platforms follow suit, 2021 is likely to see virtual reality gaining more popularity on social media.

4. Augmented reality is trending

Augmented reality (AR) is even more readily accessible than VR, as all it needs is a smartphone and no additional hardware. AR enhances our reality by adding digital elements to it. For instance, apps that add makeup to your face, wipe away wrinkles and make you look 20 years younger, or put bunny ears on your head are created using AR.

Brands that create AR filters can engage viewers, promote audience interaction and help them to market their new products. AR apps can allow you to try on products using your phone camera before you make your purchase decision. For instance, you can virtually try on a pair of earrings to see how they look before deciding to swipe your card.

To make your brand stand out, think of creative ways to implement AR into your social media marketing strategy for 2021.

5. Social commerce will keep growing

As online shopping continues to grow, the social media industry is constantly evolving to enhance user experiences and get them to sign on the dotted line. Features and tools that simplify the purchase experience are always being updated. For instance, Instagram allows product tags and checkouts right from the platform itself. Facebook, too, allows users to set up a shop from where they can sell their merchandise to a niche group of buyers.

Social commerce tools should be leveraged to the maximum, and marketers can make the best use of social media referrals as well. When buyers can make a purchase straight from the platform where they have been doing their online research on the product, abandoned transactions will decrease.

To keep from losing out on prospective customers, make sure that your social platform includes a buy button.     

6. Targeted campaigns

Brand marketing that showcases targeted campaigns or acts of kindness are on the uptick. During the pandemic, people’s sense of altruism is shining more than ever, and a Twitter survey showed that 77% of consumers feel positive about buying into brands that have lent a helping hand during the crisis. 74% of respondents further said that they wanted their favorite brands to showcase their humane acts on their social feeds.

Through 2021, this trend is likely to continue, with brands helping out in whatever ways they can through targeted charitable social media campaigns. Vulnerable members of the community and frontline health staff will receive more support and audience attention.

At the same time, brands might do well to back off when there is a sensitive social issue that is not relating to their product or services. Audiences do not welcome exploitation of social issues for marketing opportunities when there is no actual relevance.

7. Inclusivity is more important than ever before

With the world calling for more diversity, equity and inclusivity, it is very clear that brands can no longer be inactive on social and political issues. In their business operations and marketing, they must do all they can to incorporate more inclusivity.

Companies that show their passion in backing up the communities and issues they feel strongly about are favored by the masses. People are ready to put their money on brands that care about the same issues that matter to them. Brands that keep up with this trend are the ones that are able to get ahead. Recently, a study by Accenture found that 29% of all shoppers were ready to switch to a brand that showcases its genuine commitment to inclusivity and diversity.

Audiences are smart, so ensure that your contributions are meaningful and not just a form of marketing ploy without any in-depth understanding of the issues at play!

It is expected that in 2021, inclusivity will become an even bigger focus for brands that want to engage their customers evermore.

8. Emphasis on authenticity and transparency

Today’s consumers want brands to get real, and be transparent about their products and operations. If you’ve made a mistake, apologize and be honest with your customers. Set up a forum where they can tell you their complaints and make sure that each one is addressed. Openly address negative comments, and show your customers that you care. The days of sweeping mistakes under the carpet are far gone.

In 2021, by increasing transparency and engagement with your customer base, you can build on brand loyalty. Use tools that filter and tag messages, send out reply templates and simplify communications.

Need help staying on top of these trends?

By knowing what the social media trends are, you can engage with the audience and build up a strong and loyal customer base. Make your presence felt by adapting your social media strategy to align with what the world wants! If you need any support, the MWT Technologies team is always happy to help.

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