New year, new trends! 2021 will take its course – and a lot has already happened in the social media world. Time for us to take a look at the latest developments in social media marketing. This year, too, we cannot avoid the global pandemic, which affects many people’s everyday lives and social media use. In a survey in 2020, 75 percent of those questioned said they were using social networks more often. This shows: Germans are more active on social media than ever before. We will not be able to avoid these five social media marketing trends in 2021.
First Trend: It’s All About The Community
Interaction, Communication, And Bonding
Due to contact and travel restrictions, people are increasingly communicating at a distance. The digital exchange, in particular, has established itself: Communication takes place via chat providers, video platforms, and social media. The connection to friends, family, and acquaintances plays an essential role – but also the contact to companies is increasingly shifting to the social web. Shops are closed in many places; direct contact persons are not available. The community is increasingly looking for up-to-date information, quick feedback, and active involvement in the action online. This means that social networks play a decisive role in customer communication and loyalty. In these extraordinary times, community management is more valuable than ever – and it is likely to remain so after the crisis. Two essential points are essential for companies and brands:
- The proper selection of the social media channel A central element in really reaching your target group via social media. According to the ARD / ZDF online study 2020, younger target groups such as 14 to 29-year-olds are often on Instagram. The platform has overtaken Facebook in terms of official usage figures. As a platform, TikTok is also playing an increasing role in this age group. The established channels Facebook and Instagram dominate the older generation.
- The interactive relationship with your community is an essential factor for customer loyalty. Interactions with the community promote the authenticity and positive image of a company or brand that goes beyond digital boundaries. The platforms offer a wide range of options for this. The survey, quiz, or question stickers open up creative ways to interact with users in Instagram Stories. “This-or-That” surveys can even be used to filter out specific consumption preferences of customers. The optimal maintenance of relationships in social networks is crucial for the customer journey and can significantly contribute to the fulfillment of awareness goals or defined sales. The community and community management shouldn’t be underestimated in 2021.
Second Trend: Social Commerce
The New Shopping Experience
When it comes to social commerce, one channel has a particularly pioneering position: Instagram. In 2018, the platform rolled out the first shopping function for business profiles – with success! With an integrated shop, companies sell their products directly on Instagram without direct their customers to an external page. The network maps the entire customer journey from the inspiration to the postings with the linked products to the purchase—an advantage, especially in times like the ongoing corona pandemic.
The retail trade is closed; some transactions can only take place by pick-up. No wonder social commerce is on the rise. In addition to the external circumstances, the social media platforms also accelerate this development by continuously improving their functionality. This is how Facebook started itsShop function last year; TikTok is also working on new concepts. The biggest among the big players, however, remains Instagram:
- Your shops can be integrated directly into the profile there.
- The new menu design puts the shopping button in a central position.
- There are various ways of integrating product tagging: in the feed, in the stories, and on IGTV. The shoppable function in Reels and live shopping are being tested and should follow.
With all these variations, one thing is particularly evident: creating an entirely new shopping experience. Shopping can be combined with storytelling in social media – stories that attract attention, appeal to emotions, and lead to active purchases because customers can purchase a product immediately where they experience it.
Third Trend: Strong Influencer Marketing
Valuable Advertising Partners
Companies and brands can not only advertise and sell their products via social shops. Influencers have established themselves as valuable advertising partners in social networks. As individuals, they can target their community and present products or services via platforms, especially Instagram. And they enjoy a high trust factor from their followers. Around 29 percent of Germans have already bought an effect on the recommendation of an influencer. Influencer Marketing will remain an essential building block for building and maintaining brand image and growth in social media in 2021.
The variety of influencers is wide and growing continuously. Whether nano, micro, macro, or mega influencers: different ranges, orientations, and thematic focuses allow companies and brands to reach their target group accurately. The right choice is the be-all and end-all of a collaboration. It is particularly advantageous when a temporary partnership results in a long-term partnership – keyword: influencer relations. Both sides benefit from this in the long term, and influencers can become authentic brand ambassadors.
Fourth Trend: Video Is King
Creative, Interactive, And Short
Moving images have conquered social media marketing. Social networks themselves promote video content, and consumer expectations have changed. The following video formats have established themselves on well-known platforms:
- On Facebook, video postings, stories, and live sessions can appear on Facebook Watch.
- On Instagram, videos can be published as feed posts, IGTV, reel, live video, or stories.
- TikTok can even be understood as a pure video platform.
Each of these formats is characterized by a unique style. They differ in terms of their design, length, and presentation. Short videos, in particular, have prevailed in social media. Often they are no longer than a few seconds or minutes. Nevertheless, users have high expectations of the video content: They want creativity, innovation, and interactivity. Entertainment comes first. Interactive, moving elements such as GIFs or AR filters, for example, can create an original hook. These can be made to match the company or brand and playfully convey the brand image on social media.
Remixing is also a popular option. Music is linked to their video content, or users refer directly to other videos by imitating, parodying, commenting, or expanding on them. There are no limits to creativity in 2021. With innovative video content, companies and brands provide unique added value for users, allow them to look behind the scenes and convey authenticity and emotions better. Moving images attract more attention to users. In addition, they perceive the content via different sensory stimuli and internalize it. A meaningful and intensive touchpoint is created in the marketing funnel.
Fifth Trend: Social Advertising
The Perfect Match
Despite the crisis, advertising spending in the social media sector increased in 2020 compared to the previous year: to around 1.5 billion euros. By 2021, experts expect a further increase in spending. Social advertising is booming, and there are several reasons for this:
For one thing, people are currently spending even more time on social networks. As a result, you consume additional content – including sponsored content. Companies and brands are therefore well placed to generate solid impressions and reach with their advertisements.
On the other hand, the platforms’ precise targeting options enable you to address your target group precisely. The sponsored content reaches exactly the desired users – and that in almost every network. However, the content must also be correct. You need appealing, high-quality content that offers users added value. Creative and everyday topics, visuals and graphics, and convincing and emotionalizing moving image ideas are precisely the right recipe for this.
Paired with smart calls-to-action, you can achieve top performance. The ads should always follow a developed advertising strategy and pay into a set goal at all times. Should the ads serve the first funnel level and create awareness or target people again through retargeting? The target group, content, calls-to-action, and the appropriate KPIs should be selected based on these questions. The perfect match can only be achieved through a clever interplay of these factors.
Conclusion: Social Media Is The Place To Be
High Potential And Diverse Possibilities
If you want people to encounter your brand or products in 2021, it’s best to use social media! The five social media marketing trends presented for 2021 show the potential for companies and brands in social networks. Your target group spends every day on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, and usage is steadily increasing. Technical advancements and media formats offer a wide range of possibilities for creative and targeted marketing measures.
The proper community management strengthens customer loyalty, while social commerce drives sales up, and influencers become valuable brand ambassadors. Creative and short-lived videos improve brand awareness. Ads help to achieve defined marketing goals. To fully exploit this potential, developing and planning a comprehensive social media strategy is a decisive advantage. It gives social media activities a framework and an overarching goal, which leads to long-term success. In short: If you haven’t been using social media yet, it’s high time you did!