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Social Media Trends For 2021

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Social media platforms have become an excellent medium for digital interactions between companies and customers. The competitive and complex nature of social media means that organizations must constantly calibrate their digital marketing strategy to keep engagement high. For a high-impact digital marketing plan, optimising social channels and awareness of new social media trends is crucial. Social media usage has escalated since last year and it is an opportunity for businesses to navigate these channels to attract new customers and actively engage with their existing ones. The spectacular growth of social commerce over the past years signals the rising importance of social media for business prosperity. Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest allow businesses to sell their products directly to consumers on their platforms. Niche platforms like Tiktok and Reddit, which are popular with Gen Z and millennials, have rapidly grown in popularity and marketers can use these channels to reach younger audiences. 

Social media platforms are widely used for promotions and advertising, however, most companies miss the mark when it comes to using social media to create online communities of brand advocates, two-way conversations, and collaborating with influencers. To grow social media audiences organically, businesses must focus on developing relationships with their target consumers. They need to leverage influencers to create authentic, unique, and relevant content for their online followers. More people are using social media platforms as an avenue to discover new brands and products. Social media also serves as a great customer service forum wherein customers can directly converse with brand representatives to air their opinions or grievances. Nearly 3 out of 10 consumers use social media to communicate with companies rather than other official channels. Businesses must prioritise their social media strategies to stay ahead of the game. From setting up important KPIs, creating engaging content, building a social presence to establishing a social commerce plan, everything must be monitored and assessed to ensure the best possible ROI.

Here are some social media trends that digital businesses must focus on to grow their brands:

Social commerce will drive sales

Social commerce will continue to boom in 2021. Shopping on social media is a more social and interactive experience compared to typical e-commerce websites. 81% of shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook and shopping is a top priority for 48% of Pinterest users. People use the platforms to consult with friends and family before purchasing a brand.  Researchers are forecasting that e-sales will surpass $735 billion in the next three years. Digital advertisers have more opportunities for direct access to consumers through social media. By putting shopping links into social media advertising campaigns, including through live and virtual events, marketers can reach more consumers across more channels. 

User-generated content and influencer marketing will be more popular than ever before

Today’s consumers is bombarded with options in terms of brands as well as advertising materials. Hence, they prefer to get recommendations from peers and influencers to make up their mind regarding a product or service. Recommendations play a very important role in customers’ buying decisions. This behavioural trend is helping push UGC and influencer marketing as a popular social marketing tactic. Collaborating with social media influencers to create content for the audiences can help brands grow their social following as well as conversions by building trustworthiness and credibility. User-generated content fair really well on social networks. It helps spread brand awareness. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands themselves.

Social media as a listening tool

Consumers use social media platforms to communicate and share feedback with companies. Businesses must focus on creating a dialogue with these consumers and solving their issues, if any. While initial interactions may be automated with the help of a chatbot, customer service personnel must be available to actively engage with the consumer and provide quick and effective responses. When support teams are able to resolve issues quickly, it leads to greater customer satisfaction. Enabling social listening tools will further help brands to track what customers are saying about them and use that information to understand customer behaviour and preferences. Neglecting conversations on social media platforms is known to reflect badly on the brand image. It has been reported that not answering a customer complaint on social media lowers consumer loyalty by 50%. 

Purpose-driven campaigns will gain significance

For companies to wield the power of social networks as a customer acquisition tool, they have to emphasise purpose-driven marketing campaigns to gain the trust of consumers. In a Twitter survey, 74% of respondents said that they want brands to showcase acts of kindness, and 77% said that they would feel positive about brands that support social causes. Authentic messaging and engagement will play a bigger, meaningful role in how consumers perceive brands. Social media campaigns must address sensitive and pressing issues that are relevant to society. Audiences want brands to support and take action on important issues rather than exploiting them for clout. Purpose-driven campaigns will be critical for building loyalty and advocacy.

Live stream and stories content will remain popular

Stories have become popular on every social media platform including LinkedIn. Social media strategies must focus on curating content for stories for one channel and then repurpose it for all the platforms. Live streams have seen an uptick since the pandemic and it will likely continue to grow. Live streams enable instantaneous interactions which can be used by businesses to have a more intimate conversation with their audience. Followers can ask brands questions and instantly get a response. This is pivotal to improve customer engagement and conversion rates. 

Final Thoughts

Social media strategy is an integral part of every digital marketing plan. Anticipating trends can help organisations to understand how to modify their strategies to keep up with changing times. At Alkye, we help clients to adapt their social media strategy according to the changing environment and put the latest trends into practice so that they are always ahead of the competition.