• Laura Templeton

7 Social Media Trends for 2021

The past year has been full of extraordinarily notable events from massive natural fires and impassioned protests for racial equality across North America to a global pandemic and US election. There's been immense tragedy and immense growth in 2020. And, with everyone spending most of their time at home with literally nowhere else to go, social media usage has skyrocketed.

1. In the wake of the pandemic, businesses needed to create innovative digital experiences to replace the in-person customer experience many companies were now missing. The need to create connections, build long-term relationships, and bring fun back to the customer experience required a major pivot for businesses of all sizes. The creation of these digital experiences played a key role in ensuring a fast return of investment (ROI) - a survival necessity for businesses facing the affects of lockdown.

2. Twitter experienced a resurgence amidst the political and social upheaval in 2020. The site remains one of the top 20 most visited sites in the world - if you're brand isn't on Twitter, it may be worth considering.

3. Pinterest added advertising tools and a "Today" tab to keep users engaged. The platform is used predominantly for retail. However, there has been an increase in education, advertising, and business and professional service industries in 2020.

4. Ephemeral content usage is increasing. This refers to content that disappears after 24 hours, such as Instagram Lives, Stories, and Facebook Stories. According to Hootsuite, videos are the second most engaging type of content on social media. Sharing this type of content with your customers can contribute to that much desired customer experience everyone is longing for. Businesses can use these features to give people behind-the-scenes insight into their lives and their company. Alternatively, the Live feature on Facebook and Instagram can create an interactive, engaging experience during launch events of new products, which could result in a very successful launch day.

5. TikTok - it's not just for kids! This short-form video platform has started experimenting with in-app purchases, allowing a popular creator to sell their goods on a pop-up page within the app. Word to the wise: in my experience, TikTok users don't like advertisements or sponsored posts unless they see their favourite content creators promoting a service or product authentically. As such, if you choose to advertise using TikTok, you may want to consider partnering with a respected content creator within the community. Your sponsored ad may go wildly unnoticed otherwise (or receive only negative attention).

6. A "less is more" posting approach has gained popularity among brands. Content strategies have become more mindful in the wake of a global pandemic and a fight for racial equality. It's important to ensure your content is valuable, thoughtful, and in-touch with what's happening in the world. Balancing between marketing your products and sharing this type of content is important.

Most importantly...

7. Authenticity will be even more vital across every single platform. Customers and clients value a human experience now more than ever after everything that's happened in 2020. The need for normalcy and connection is very real. Shopping online is a regular part of everyone's life now. It's important to remain human, approachable, and build lasting relationships with your customers.

We may not know what's waiting for us in 2021. What we do know is that we need to equip ourselves with what it takes to be prepared. Prepare to pivot as you need to, grow where required, and prioritize human experiences and authenticity along the way.