2021 Social Media Trends

What should we expect in 2021 in the world of social media? Many social platforms are upping their game to help businesses thrive in the “new normal” of contactless shopping and social distancing. We’re sharing the latest trends to help businesses best position themselves in 2021 with social media.

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2021 social media trends

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Sarah: Hey. Alrighty, welcome to Marketing Mix and today we’ve got a great subject. We’re talking about 2021, and we’re talking about social media. And if there’s one thing about digital marketing and social media, it doesn’t stay stagnant for long, right? I mean, constantly making changes. So today we’re going to kind of dive into some of the new features that we see happening, particularly the ones that will help small businesses. So, we want to share it with you and things to look out for, and ways that can help you with your business. So let’s get going.

Glyna: Good morning.

Sarah: Good morning. How are you?

Glyna: I’m doing fantastic. It is a sunny day. It’s so pretty out.

Sarah: I know, we need that.

Glyna: I know. We really do. Want to welcome everybody to Marketing Mix. Every week we are going to work on different segments, just highlighting all kinds of digital marketing topics, and we’re going to mix it up with tips, trends, Q&A, just all kinds of things. That’s why we call it Marketing Mix.

Sarah: Yeah.

Glyna: So, Sarah, can you go ahead and pull up our social media platforms, please?

Sarah: I sure will. Okay, don’t forget that every week we go live on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. And if you haven’t seen our podcast, do yourself a favor and subscribe to Marketing and a Mic. We’re real proud of it. And as always, you can follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn. And one more thing, you got to check out our YouTube channel. I’m telling you it’s so great. And we’re constantly, as we speak, we’re putting out new videos. All good stuff. All good, helpful content. We take a lot of pride in that we like to explain everything very straightforward, where it’s easy to digest so people can get good information out of it. So, let’s talk about social media. 2020 really changed the social in all aspects of social media. So with all of a sudden us being restricted to everything can’t be, we can’t be together in indoor events and together in small groups, everyone had to shift online for social interaction because that interaction wasn’t lost. We just had to find new ways to do it. So with that, the social platforms were listening and they wanted to put out a lot of new features so that users could still connect and still generate revenue and still build relationships all through social media, even though the face-to-face option was diminishing. So, let’s jump right in. I think we’ve got about six today. Six little features that we want to talk about.

Glyna: Yeah, you’re exactly right. Everybody had to change. They were competing. I felt like it was a tug of war with all the different social media channels. More platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I mean, they had to just, what was the word of the year, “pivot”? Everybody had to pivot, including all the social media channels. But they had to become more search-friendly because people were wanting information. I mean, my gosh, you’re sitting there in your house and doing nothing. So, you can look at your feed all day long, but to find information, it wasn’t quite as easy as it needed to be. So anyway, they all became a little bit more like a search engine, like Google or Bing or something like that. And what this means is you can actually search for topics and items without even using hashtags these days. Are hashtags going away? No, and that’s still a good way to search. But you don’t have to have them to find what you’re looking for. So it’s more like an SEO type thing. Search engine optimization, I guess that you could say on social media if that’s such a thing. It’s driving more organic visibility and it’s game-changing for businesses. I mean, they’re being able to reach more people with their posts, which is a good thing, and it’s just overall a good thing, I think for search engine stuff. Now, what do we have to remember with search engines? We’re still talking about social media, but it still acts the same way as SEO. So you’re going to want to use your keywords. So think about what your business does and try to mix in those keywords when you’re doing posts and keep it to posts that are relevant to your niche. Now you can mix it up with some funny stuff and whatever day it is, the national day it is. But really you want to concentrate more on your niche and your target keywords so that people can find you.

Sarah: Yes. Yeah. And I think the common theme really is that everything just needs to be a lot more intentional. Not slapping up stuff, but yeah that making things more search-friendly.

Glyna: Don’t just be slapping it up there.

Sarah: Yeah, don’t just slap it up there, throw it up there. Oh goodness, okay. Oh, so we’ve got some, as Glyna says, some early birds joining us this morning. Okay. My contacts are in, but okay, good morning to Gayle and good morning to Michelle. Thank you so much for tuning in today. All right. So the second thing that we want to talk about is short-duration videos will continue to rise. So what does this mean? Video continues to dominate and it’s the clear winner overall content type. And the social platforms have responded by giving us a lot of different elements to utilize, one of them being Instagram stories. It’s gaining a lot of popularity. Actually, they’re prioritizing, Instagram in particular is prioritizing reels and stories, excuse me, over feed content. So, what that means is that if you’re being consistent and putting stuff together on Instagram stories and Instagram reels, they’re going to take priority over that. Another good thing about those, even though they’re short-lived and your feeds have a little bit more of a shelf-life, if you build them up, it keeps people on your page. So, they’re going to be constantly scrolling through stuff, staying there. And that’s the whole magic of it. You want to keep them there on your page and then the social platforms recognize that. Then they’ll prioritize that so that your followers will see that first. So, it’s really worth it. Reels 15 to 30-second videos are the attention-grabbing moments that are done in a creative way. Now you might be thinking, as a business owner, “Well, reels, I mean, what do you want me to do, do juggle? What’s the point? What can I get out of it?” However, a lot of businesses are using it by telling a story or if you’ve got a project going on, you can guide them through the process. And so you’ll give them a little of here’s a before and after, or here’s something that’s going on. It’s really great for announcements. It’s really good for a new product or a new feature. It’s just really good for giving out information of, “Hey, stay tuned for this.” So, think about it for announcements, telling a story, introducing a product, a lot of different ways that you can use it. And again, work your business. You want to work as a teaser, a limited preview, and here’s a tip. You can shorten it. You can do it in 30 seconds, your reel, so to speak. But you can shorten it to a 15-second preview and put it in preview mode, so viewers actually have to click to view the entire video. And another thing is to add text to your video. Again, any of that text that you add helps it become more searchable as we just explained before. So those types of short, they call them short-duration videos, are really kicking up in 2021.

Glyna: Yeah. And it catches people’s attention. It’s always like “What are they up to? Wait a minute, what is that?” I know when I’m watching all of those things, it’s like, “Wait a minute!”. You can’t really tell what’s going on until you really click on it. So, people are nosy.

Sarah: Yeah, yeah. And it’s enough of a teaser that you want to go back. You’re like, “I got to go back and see what I just saw.”

Glyna: Yeah, it’s like, “What the heck was that?” I want to say good morning to you, Cindy, and Gay Chambers.

Sarah: Good morning.

Glyna: Good morning chipper people. She said we’re chipper. I love that. We’re faking it Gay. No, I’m kidding. No, we love our Marketing Mix, so thank you all for joining in. You have to get serious. Okay? People that own businesses are tired of all the hype. They’ve all had to go online. Everybody’s going online, but they’re tired of all those sales pitches. They’re tired of the hype. They’re tired of just throwing stuff out there “buy, buy, buy”. Businesses right now want to, they want you to come into their lives. They want you to understand their business. They want to understand you to understand their brand. So if you’re just pitching and selling, selling, selling, that’s not going to get you very far. So it’s shifting. The content you need to shift more towards a customer lifestyle or community lifestyle. It’s really important for a brand to fit into customer lives, versus trying to lead it. So, what are, again, it’s all about knowing your niche and your target audience. What are you selling? But who are you selling to? How much do we preach about knowing your demographics and all of that stuff? So they’re tired of all the hype and consumers are leaning more towards companies that start a conversation or fit into again, what they’re all about. So, start thinking about that, do a little bit more homework, find out exactly what these businesses need and how they’re living day to day, especially through all this COVID stuff. Be an advocate for them, be a voice for them. Let them know, “I’m listening. I’m not trying to lead you down this path. I’m listening for what you really need.

Sarah: It’s so true.

Glyna: Yeah, and it’s changed so much. We talk about 2020. Oh my gosh. I don’t know if we ever really … do we really want to talk-

Sarah: When do we stop saying it?

Glyna: Maybe, no. No more 2020!

Sarah: Give the censored word, like “bleep”.

Glyna: Block met out. Bit, it did. It changed everything. We’re still in the midst of it. Everybody’s online, so you have to find a way to be more personable, to be more helpful, to learn more about the businesses, and not just throw a bunch of, as you said, don’t just slap a bunch of crap up. And it also is really helpful for online ads. You want to be, to be successful with Google ads and Facebook ads you have to pitch it as a customer lifestyle. What are they needing, what are they wanting versus look at all my stuff, if that makes sense? To learn more about the brands and the companies that you’re trying to help.

Sarah: Yes, so true. I think that just got exhausted in 2020 and people are just like, you know what, find a way to fit into my conversation and my world.

Glyna: Yeah. Don’t just tell me what to do, help me. I need help.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. So that leads very well into number four, which is to humanize your brand. So that is, we talked about the content piece of it. This is how you represent yourself as a business. So businesses need to start connecting with people in a more authentic way. So what does that mean? Get your face out there, put your face out there. Show people what your company dynamic looks like, create more video. I mean, video, video, video.

Glyna: Yes.

Sarah: Short, little videos. You want to really bring it to a personalization level to where customers are getting a nice look at what your dynamic is, what your company culture’s like because after all, people want to connect with people. So even though we’ve got this internet screen between us, we still want to find a way to connect. So show people what your business, what your values are. What you stand for, the things that you’re doing. Don’t make it in an egotistical way, I’ll say. But just make it in a way of I want you all to see the insides of our business, and I want to share it with you. I want to be transparent. This all can be done very well through videos. And as we talked about before, Instagram reels, Instagram stories, even Instagram carousels. Now, how can you use Instagram carousels? You can use it to, again, tell stories. You could show little slides that’ll walk people through the process of something that’s going on. And in addition to that, use Instagram, use the carousels as tips, I’m going to give you five tips that are really going to help you. Again, you got to point it in the direction of the followers and just don’t post any content that’s not in line with your message. Because now more than ever, we’re real hypersensitive to that. We’ll pick up on it and it just does no good.

Glyna: Yeah. Even though we’ve all had to switch online, people still want that human connection. It’s hard to try to figure out how to make online, this stuff more personable when you can’t see people face to face and all that stuff. But that’s what this is all about, is trying to figure out ways to be more personable and try to connect with people on a deeper level.

Sarah: Absolutely.

Glyna: So, that’s just the way things are going. And Michelle’s asking us, she said, “Can you cater to business owners in your social media marketing?” Yes, you absolutely can. But do it in a way that you’re there to help. Still the expert, but switch things to don’t be out there selling, selling, selling, showing product, product, product, talking about your business all the time. Find ways to help. Be a resource.

Sarah: Be a resource.

Glyna: Like Sarah said, short videos. I mean, if you could even give like tips or whatever, just find a way to help Michelle. I think it’s switched just a little bit. So, if that helps or I hope that helps.

Sarah: Yeah. No, that’s exactly right.

Glyna: And along those lines, we are finding more, or we are leaning more toward user-generated content. They call it UGC for short. That’s just the hip thing, I guess.

Sarah: It’s what the cool kids are saying.

Glyna: Yeah, of user-generated content. You still want to plan all your content, but you want to let your customers and your followers drive the story. You want to get them more involved. You want to make things more interactive. I mean, more trusted than brand-led content, and it just instills more trust in your consumers. If they can get again, tap into that human connection, get people more involved. It’s all about being very creative and come up with ways for people to be a part of the story and be a part of your content. You were telling me earlier an example, tell everyone that-

Sarah: Yeah, a really great way to utilize user-generated content is to come up with a tag campaign. And there’s a lot of businesses in 2020 especially, that designed a campaign that was specific to their customers or to their target audience and it got a lot of momentum. So what do I mean by a tag campaign? There was one company, there’s two of them. One of them was a skincare company and they did a tag campaign called #LifeBalanceRemix. And they did another one called #MyNewNormal, and they asked their viewers to send in, what are you finding is your life balance remix right now? So send us a picture, tell us a story about what you’ve done lately to still maintain your life balance in the state of events that we’re living in. Now, the caveat to it was you have to have a really good incentive attached to it. So, you want to make people want to participate, but you want to also let the customers drive the story. Why does this work? Well, we all like things centered around us and our little world. So if there’s a way that we can put it out on social media, like, “Hey, this is what’s happening with me.” And you get a picture, you get some exposure on there. It drives it. And another way that businesses can do it, they can say, tag somebody else with  #MyNewNormal

Glyna: Yeah.

Sarah: And then if they do say, “Hey, who’s somebody that you think could use a,” and it could be something like hashtag a new skincare package or whatever it is. And then they’ll tag somebody else, they’ll get recognized. You share the story. And then the incentive attached to it is like, they’re going to win this much in skincare. And even the person that mentioned them, will get a little incentive to it as well. If it’s done well, it is unbelievable. It just broadens it. I mean, it’s relatable. It allows brands to meet customers where they’re already spending a lot of their time. And so it’s just a great way for brands to connect with customers.

Glyna: Yeah, I think so too. And getting people involved and you could even start with some of your ambassadors that already love your product. Get them involved to get the conversation started and they start tagging people and then it can take off from there. So, people may be thinking, “Well, how can I do that? I don’t have that many followers.” Start with your people. Start with … I see our people right here. Ask them, I’m sure they would like to win something really cool.

Sarah: Yes.

Glyna: So anyway, yeah. User-generated content, let your customers or your potential customers drive the story.

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So number six, and this is one of the last ones we’ll touch on, is online shopping and “shoppable” posts. And boy, let me tell you, this really took off and it’s not going anywhere. So what ignited this? Because there was already boutiques that were online and that’s the only avenue that they could sell their products was just strictly online, because they were a virtual boot boutique. However, online shopping has become the new normal. Why has it become a new normal? Well because with contactless shopping happening, and this is becoming the preference and really the state of how it has to be right now, social distancing, people are just not going out physically as much. And so the social platforms have created a way, even for brick and mortars, to tap into this option, which is huge. So., You have the ability to whatever you’ve got in store, to put it up online and make that transition so you can still ensure that, although we’ve got contactless shopping, it’s very powerful for small businesses to still get sales rolling in.

Glyna: Absolutely, yeah.

Sarah: It’s huge. So how does this work? So they’ve set up Facebook shop and Instagram shop, and there are two ways to do it. One of them, well, first off you have to make sure that you’re a business page. You have to make sure that you have some e-commerce set up. So you have to already be set up with online shopping and have that ability available on your own website. So you can set up Facebook. You have to set up first through Facebook shop and then you’ll just build your product catalog through Facebook shop, and then everything will be synced over to Instagram. And it’s so great because you can tag your products in posts and then it links them directly to your e-commerce page. So not only can you just have a catalog of stuff, but you can actually create posts where if they see an item, they’ll click on it and it takes them directly to your website.

Sarah: It’s huge. Like I said, if you’re already set up with having the ability on your website, linking it all together is huge. People are more and more expecting that. Like they want to be able to just scroll and shop.

Glyna: Yep.

Sarah: One recommendation that we make is that maybe if you are setting this up for the first time, maybe do some retargeting ads. Because if your followers aren’t used to making purchases through with your business, you want to do a little test run to see what they’re interested in and what’s going to work for them and find what your target audience interests are. And again, make sure that your website is equipped for online shopping. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Make sure it’s not slow. If it’s an inconvenience to your customers in any way they’re out of there. So, really make sure that you’ve got that backend set up really well.

Glyna: Yeah. And what we mean by set up, make sure that there’s a way to pay, really. And it’s not as hard as that sounds. I mean, you can go something as simple as PayPal or Venmo, or you can go be more elaborate and connect an invoicing system and all that stuff. So you basically, and I think we have somebody on here who could help you out with that, Michelle Blanton. You got to have a way to pay. I know that we worked with Michelle with a few of our customers as far as getting all that setup and she makes it very easy. So, you might want to reach out to Michelle if you don’t have a way to pay online. So, also want to say good morning to Lisa Shapiro. Gosh, Lisa, I haven’t talked to you forever, seen you forever. She says, “Happy Friday, ladies. I’m happy to be listening to these useful tips and great to see you both.” Ah, it’s great to see you too. And we have the one and only Harry Slagle tuning in. Good morning to you, sir. And we really appreciate all of you tuning in. I hope … so trends, talking about trends are interesting because it’s just stuff that’s on the bleeding edge and the stuff that people are starting to talk about and it could change in two weeks, it feels like, just like that.

Sarah: I know.

Glyna: But I think this is a new segment that’s going to be fun for us to do on Marketing Mix is jus bring you some things, what are people talking about? What are some of the new things that you can try? That sort of thing. I think it’s going to be an interesting segment to bring into our Marketing Mix.

Sarah: I think so too. And yeah, and again, I think it’s real. It’s nice that these social platforms are listening and then they’re responding with ways for, not only individuals but businesses to keep things going with the new directions of how businesses are operating.

Glyna: Yeah. We all have to get creative and as always, we’re here, we’re doing this every day too for our business and for our customers. So, if you would like to have a consultation, those are free and we’d love to brainstorm ideas on these things and anything for digital marketing. So, want to thank everybody for tuning in today and we will be back again next Friday, 8:00 AM for our next segment of Marketing Mix. So, until then I hope y’all have a great week.