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What's The Story For Social Media In 2021?


2020 has changed the way we use social media, from video content (ahem, TikTok) skyrocketing to in-platform shopping becoming more prevalent. Recent events have shaped the way social media will be used in the future, with emerging 2021 trends reflecting our digital experiences in a locked-down 2020.


So, what should be shaping your digital marketing strategy next year? From SEO to advertising, we’re sharing our top six social media predictions for 2021.


Social SEO


Say what?


2021 will be the land of the new, where we move past hashtags (or at least, move with hashtags) to copy keyword searches.


Instagram has just announced that your social copy will be searchable, meaning you no longer need to put all of your keywords into a hashtagable format. Not only is this set to revolutionise your account visibility, it also puts even more emphasis on your post copy.


While we’re getting our party hats on for social SEO, we can’t forget our good old-fashioned, reliable, website SEO. Your social media activity is incredibly important for your website SEO, with each and every backlink providing relevancy for your website. The more relevant links from social media channels you have, the more valuable your website is and the higher it’ll rank in search.


Make sure you keep an eye on your bounce rate and time-on-site for each channel in your website Google Analytics. This will tell you which content is keeping people around and which content is flatlining, so that you can adjust your content strategy accordingly to maximise your social SEO.



Video


Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Which means video will be a key part of any good social media marketing strategy in the new year.


We’re not just talking about our old favourites like IG stories and IGTV, we’re welcoming the new players with open arms that’ll engage younger audiences and skyrocket your organic reach.


We’re talking about TikTok and Instagram Reels.


These video sharing platforms have become the stars of 2020, with 800 million active users on TikTok and 1 billion active users on Reels’ parent platform, Instagram (Datareportal & Hubspot 2020). From hashtag challenges to the latest Jason Derulo dance, these social channels promote quick-to-produce, easy-to-digest video content that increases brand relatability and authenticity.


Reels are already populating Instagram feeds, achieving outstanding reach on the platform and driving more audiences to engage with brands. While the general consensus is that it can’t compete with TikTok, it works well to complement more traditional Instagram content, especially while the algorithm still favours their new video creation tool.


The lesson in all of this? If you don’t currently have a video content strategy, we suggest you hop to it!


Social Commerce


Online shopping became “a thing” in locked-down 2020, with an unprecedented increase in traffic to eCommerce platforms across the globe as they became in many cases the only way to shop (Statista 2020). As a result, 2021 will see the rise of social commerce, where brands sell products directly on social media platforms.


It’s currently a $89.4 billion market, and if that doesn’t convince you it’s worth a go, we might be able to sway you by telling you it’s projected to grow to $604.5 billion in the next seven years (Hootsuite, 2020).


Instagram and Facebook are the key platforms for social commerce, with Instagram’s latest layout hosting a dedicated space for Instagram Shop. This easily accessible space allows users to find, research and buy products all within one app, streamlining the customer journey and providing an opportunity for a substantially more user-friendly experience.


Pinterest, on the other hand, has a less defined social commerce platform, with Product Pins displayed in Pinterest Shops that link to eCommerce websites. Products aren’t available to purchase within the app, though it still simplifies the shopping process for the 89% of Pinterest users who use the site for shopping inspiration (Hootsuite, 2020).



Community Conversations


Also known as: the trend everyone saw coming.


This isn’t exactly a new trend. Social media is a social space, where brands exist to engage with their audiences. It’s called social media for a reason after all.


While online communities have been important since long before 2020, this isolating year has once again shown us just how important it continues to be. And with organic brand reach on Facebook continuing to decline, community group have become an effective way for brands to connect with their customers.


If you don’t have a community engagement strategy going into the new year, it’s time. Start engaging. Starting conversing. Start building relationships and solidifying your position as your audiences’ go-to in your industry.


It’s that simple.



The ‘Algorithm’


That enigmatic algorithm. The one that is ever evolving and elusive yet is still integral to any good digital marketing strategy.


The word on the street is that Facebook will “tweak” the algorithm in 2021 to counter ongoing issues with hate speech. The platform is predicted to change the way it flags and removes hate speech, focusing on automatically catching especially harmful content.


This comes as the platform has been called out for its previous “race-blind” strategy, which has been known to unfairly flag posts made by people of colour while remaining ignorant to actual racist attacks.


Experts (self-proclaimed experts such as, ahem, ourselves) predict this will create nicer, safer social media feeds for all users to enjoy. We also believe these news feeds will be more geared towards encouraging eCommerce, shifting the focus away from contentious interpersonal discourse and toward the often more cut-and-dry eCommerce space, further supporting the platforms social shopping endeavours.



Paid Ads


We’re all familiar with Facebook advertising by now (and their infamous Ads Manager), but 2021 will see more businesses trying to compete in the paid ads space on other platforms.


LinkedIn, Pinterest and even TikTok are all becoming more prevalent spaces to advertise, reducing the competition by diversifying the platforms used. With 93% of social media advertisers investing in Facebook Ads (Finances Online, 2020), advertising on other platforms will increase your brand’s ad visibility among a less competitive market.


You can also target your ads to more niche audiences and reduce your dependence on Facebook. This will be beneficial if the platform has (yet another) outage, as not all of your paid advertising eggs will be in Facebook’s basket.

So, there you have it: the top forecasted social media trends for the new year. While we can’t wait for Instagram keyword searches and social commerce to ramp up, we’re sure the advancement of video content, and the ongoing algorithm changes will keep us on our toes in 2021.


Want to keep up to date with all that latest social media news? Join the Brindle family on our Instagram page @brindle_marketing.

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