Latest Social Media Marketing Trends 2021

By James Tredwell on March 22, 2021

If you’re after the latest social media marketing trends, look no further than this listicle.

Here, we present to you some of the hottest trends of this year, and how to use them to your advantage.

As you read, consider how your small business can capitalise on the trending social media consumer behaviour to grow your brand in 2021.

1. Video livestreaming

According to Sprout Social research, 40% of customers want more livestreaming content from brands.

This statistic is something to take notice of, and it isn’t hard to see why.

Live streaming videos have been growing in popularity due to their spontaneous and authentic qualities, a form of reality entertainment that we just can’t get enough of.

When brands use livestreaming to their benefit, it also lends credibility to that brand through legitimate engagements that aren’t “staged”.

It’s possible that the COVID-19 crisis has tipped livestreaming towards all new heights of success, as so many people need their live engagements while trapped at home.

2. Instagram Stories

Since Instagram added their stories feature, the app has not only survived, it’s thrived.

As at 2021, the app has 500 million users that interact with the stories content feature every day.

Based on the same stats, video stories perform the best, and even branded stories have a nearly perfect completion rate.

Tap into the popularity of stories in 2021, especially as a better alternative to standard Instagram posts and photos, which get less engagement.

Despite their fun, interactive, and informal qualities, IG stories can still be planned and timed as part of your social media marketing campaigns, allowing your small businesses to get on with the day to day.

3. Inclusivity and diversity

In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement put the spotlight on questions of accessibility and inclusivity towards diverse groups of people.

Social media users are looking to their favourite brands to demonstrate their inclusivity towards minority groups or people with disability.

In fact, social media users and consumers are even using their powers to boycott brands, companies or public figures who fail to show inclusive policies and marketing.    

In 2021, passivity will not be enough to fly under the radar. Your brand will need to be loud and proud in demonstrating diversity and inclusivity.

4. Niche social media platforms

While the big social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have large audiences, it might be worth focusing some of your marketing time and budget on the smaller platforms in 2021.

Increasingly, niche platforms like TikTok and Reddit are offering spaces where brands can make meaningful connections with their communities.

Reddit for instance, has been around for 15 years, but in 2019, its monthly active user base skyrocketed to 430 million.

Meanwhile, TikTok growth is also trending upward exponentially, and in 2019 it grew by 210%.

Smaller social media platforms also offer less competitive, and more economical, advertising opportunities, which are perfect for small businesses with smaller ad spend budgets.

5. Social media stores

While the uptake has been slow, social media is slowly developing better tools to allow users to shop in-app.

Many social media platforms now come with features to enable a smooth and organic shopping experience, from Instagram’s product tags to Facebook’s storefront tab.

Because social media is so key to brand and product awareness, it makes sense that the functionality is increasing for seamless shopping experiences that take users further along their buyers journeys.

Many users already use social media for their product research, so make life easier for them by adding social media storefronts and shoppable posts, allowing them to buy straight from their platforms.

6. VR

2020 was a long and isolating year, but unfortunately, social distancing will be with us for some time yet.

In 2021, users will be looking to virtual reality to replace what they used to look forward to in the big bad world. And naturally, they’ll do so on social media platforms.

But don’t take our word for it, let’s look at what Facebook has planned. 

This year, the social media mega platform will use the Oculus VR program to  create a space in which family and friends can connect over long distances and play games. It’s called Facebook Horizon.

7. Augmented reality

Augmented reality might just be the accessible little brother to VR for small businesses and users.

For example, anyone can use dynamic photo filters to enhance their looks (or make friends laugh) and readily available Snapchat filters provide users with hours of branded entertainment.

Augmented reality is trending because it is one of the most interactive technologies out there, giving users the ability to apply and personalise their entertainment.

It’s also highly memorable—who can forget McDonald’s Spice Zapper campaign?  

With this level of engagement potential, augmented reality will be hard to ignore in 2021.

8. Conscientious campaigns

From the covid-19 pandemic to climate change, our world in 2021 is rife with social and environment problems.

Social media users are becoming conscious of these issues and engaging with them. It’s no surprise that they expect the same from their favourite brands.

To demonstrate this point, let’s look at a study of Twitter users. 

3 out of 4 people on Twitter wanted brands to demonstrate acts of kindness.

And the same study showed that nearly 80% of people said they felt more positively towards brands who made efforts to support their communities during the pandemic.

If you don’t have the budget for high-profile philanthropy, small gestures like cancelation fee waivers and discounts can go a long way.

Social media marketing in 2021

While reading the above trends and their impact on users and brands, you’ve probably thought back to your personal experiences on social media over the past couple of years.

And in that time, you’ve probably enjoyed stories, live streams, augmented realities. You’ve probably appreciated environmentally conscious messages from brands, or even pledged your personal support to a social cause online.

It’s now time to capitalise on these trends in your small business by producing social media marketing that taps into the zeitgeist in 2021.  

This article is contributed by George – is the CEO and Co-Founder of digital marketing agency Social Garden.

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